Assessment centre: delivering the presentation

Perhaps the most daunting element of an assessment centre is the presentation which many employers want you to give as part of the exercises. Whether it’s a solo or group presentation, there’s some basic rules that you should follow in order to make sure that your presentation is a success.

If you’re a maverick and you love giving presentations off the cuff, and you revel in the madness and chaos you can create, then stick to what you know best. For the rest of us mere mortals, however, this list will help give a well-structured and well-thought-through display.


Find out as much as you can before you start work on the exercise. Most companies will give you a brief which will tell you your subject, the length of the presentation, and the visual aids which you will be able to use to assist you.

However, if this is not given, you should check any of the above, as well as asking for the level of expertise of the people that you’re going to be pitching to; if they are experts in the field, you will give a different presentation than if they are first-timers with very little understanding of the basics.


It’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts, so erase this as an option by giving your presentation a structure from which you can expand. Make sure there is a clear arc of progression over the course of the presentation and that your beginnings and conclusions are constructive and easy to spot for the audience.

By giving a brief introduction to greet your audience and let them know what you plan to cover and in what order, you can allay any fears that you might miss anything and make them feel comfortable with how you’re setting out your point.


You need to make sure that you’re not waffling and that all your content is relevant to the topic and interesting to the listener. This means being strict with yourself on what you put in and what you don’t—regardless of whether something interests you, make sure it’s relevant before you put it into your spiel.

Remember that sometimes less is more, and that once you’ve made a point once or twice, you should not keep repeating it—no matter how good a point it is! If you overload your audience with information, they won’t remember it all, so keep it valid and concise and you’ll be laughing.

Body language

The best verbal presentations can be let down by poor posture and body language; there’s more than one way to tell if someone is engaged and enthused with what they are presenting. So make sure you have your best smile plastered on while you welcome your audience, make sure that your speech is calm and slow (when you’re nervous it will automatically speed up, so keep this in check), and don’t spend all your time fidgeting or moving about.

Finally, make sure you make eye contact with the whole panel or group of assessors so they feel a direct connection to you and to the presentation. This will help them stay engaged and make the presentation feel much more personal.