Tough Interview Question - Have you done any public speaking?

Have you done any public speaking?

Similar interview questions:
Tell me about your group presentation skills.
Have you ever given a speech in front of an audience? How many people?
Do you have a fear of public speaking?
Have you ever frozen up while speaking to an audience?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
Depending on the type of job, the ability to present in front of others can be one of the key competencies for the role. In general, the higher the level of the role, the greater the need for public speaking skills. However, this need is also typically inversely related to the size of the organization. The smaller the organization, the more likely you will be called upon to speak in front of others, even in more junior roles, although the presentations will tend to be more casual and less formal.

The best approach to answering this question:
Select your best example of public speaking, even if it is only in front of a small meeting at work or a classroom of your peers. The key is to talk about your preparation, the presentation itself and any post-presentation feedback you may have received. If you do not have work-related examples, you can talk about classroom presentations or association meeting presentations.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"In my current role, I was called on to speak in a department-wide meeting of about 100 people about our pending new project launch. I worked with two other members of my team to create an original approach by developing a two-minute video clip we put together that was formatted like coming attractions for an upcoming movie. That was the intro, then we used both PowerPoint and hands-on examples to show what was coming in the launch. It was so well received that we got a standing ovation at that meeting. I was then asked to present at the all-hands meeting later that month. We got great feedback from the audience and even the CEO told us how much he was looking forward to the product launch…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I’ve had quite a few opportunities to speak before audiences. One of my most recent was at the end of my internship, where I presented the deliverables of my internship in a department-wide meeting. I prepared about 15 minutes of presentation materials and then had to field questions from the team. I took the time in advance to draw up a list of potential questions and had almost all of them successfully covered in advance. The only questions I hadn’t anticipated ended up having answers which flowed from some material that we were prepping for the next phase, so it went extremely well. At the end of the presentation, my mentor told me that mine was definitely the best presentation of all the interns that day…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I guess death and public speaking are the two things people fear most. For me, I would probably rank public speaking #1 and death #2. You do not want to put me up there in front of a crowd, I would just freeze…"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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