Alumni give tips on giving presentations

The Dean’s Advisory Council co-sponsored an event on Wednesday, Nov. 20 with the Career Center and Alpha Kappa Psi. Debra Klokis, employer relations specialist at the College’s career center, helped welcome two College graduates to a question and answer panel to share their professional tips on giving presentations and acting your best during interviews.

These panelists were Rich Minevich, an ’08 graduate who works for Johnson & Johnson and is active within the co-op recruiting program at the College, and Susan Villanova, a 1994 graduate and the Human Resources manager at Bloomberg’s Global Data Business Unit.

The presentation began with a YouTube clip from the 2013 Georgia Tech Convocation Speech, which featured a student giving one of the most memorable welcome speeches, complete with the famous score from “2001: Space Odyssey” playing in the background. The panelists used the student’s confidence and presentation skills to segway into their own experiences and tips.

Klokis proposed a number of topics to the panel, including what they believe key elements are to remember when presenting to clients, what common mistakes people make, how to handle individual presentations versus group presentations, ways to incorporate technology into your presentation, what to wear to interviews, the difference between aggressive and assertive, how conversational to be and how much is “too much.”

“Know your audience, whether in a business or classroom setting and find out who’s going to be there so you can tailor your objectives to the audience,” Villanova said. “Have key bullet points. Keep them simple so the audience can say, ‘Got it. I know exactly what’s going on here.’ In a business setting, work in some acceptable jargon. And keep in mind the time factor.”

“Also use the academic setting to hone your skills for the business setting,” Minevich added. “It’s more lax where they probably won’t cut you off. Use this to learn about time management skills and going off on tangents. That way in a business setting, you can be more concise and avoid putting yourself in a situation where you’ll become nervous.”

One of the overall points that the panelists made was that you’re going to experience nerves no matter what, and one of the best ways to handle them are by practicing out loud to friends and to a video camera to make sure you prepare yourself. Villanova quoted author Mark Twain in saying that there are two types of people: those who are nervous and those who are liars.

“One thing I’m going to take away from this is that repetition is really important in practicing,” junior management major Dave Plishka said. “The more you do it, the better you’ll get.”

Minevich added that he is on campus often recruiting students who can exemplify the kinds of tools that were discussed.

“I encourage all the students to take advantage of all these events, you know?” he said. “I didn’t as a student and it took me a lot longer to build a lot of the skills.”