Five Big Mistakes to Avoid in Ten-Minute Presentations

Friday 11th August 2017

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Over the past 15 years, I have coached thousands of job candidates before interviews.

I have a higher-than-average success rate in helping those interviewees win a promotion. Most promotion processes-- especially those in policing-- now include a range of activities designed to find the talent best-suited to the job. The process is fiercely competitive. Promotion processes now include situational judgment tests, media exercises, and partnership exercises. There is also the dreaded ten-minute presentation conducted at the start of the interview.  I see interviewees consistently making the same mistakes.

Here are five of the most common mistakes made in ten-minute presentations for police promotion processes:

Mistake 1: The presentation has no structure and isn’t memorable.

Remedy: Get a structure. A simple one to use is Context/Challenges/Solutions/Summary. A four-part structure is enough for a ten-minute presentation.

Mistake 2: The timing is unbalanced.

Remedy: If using Context/Challenge/Solutions/Summary as a structure, the timing should be as follows: Context: 1 minute, Challenges: 2 minutes, Solutions: 6 minutes, and Summary: 1 minute. It is a huge mistake to give the history of the organization and use up 7 minutes in context and challenges, squeezing your solutions into the last 3 minutes.


Mistake 3: The use of the royal “we” throughout, without a hint of ownership.

Remedy: Organizations want accountability and responsibility. You must stand behind your example, own it, and show that you step up. Broad brush strokes with the generic use of “we” will not show ownership.

Mistake 4: There are no transition links.

Remedy: Transition links are the phrases you use to show the interviewer where you are in the presentation. On leaving the context portion of the presentation, you might say, “Moving onto the challenges ahead for the organization, I have identified four.” Too often, I see candidates run through their presentation and the interviewer struggles to follow or identify which part of the presentation is being delivered.

Mistake 5: The presentation lacks focus on the topic.

Remedy: Make sure every piece of content in the presentation relates back to the presentation title. Too often, candidates get content-seduced and give irrelevant information. In these cases, both interviewee and interviewer get lost in details.

If you are being interviewed as a part of Inspector or Chief Inspector promotion processes in the near future and want to work smart at preparing, sign up for our Police Success at Interview course online and significantly increase your chance of success.

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