Ace That Interview! Presentation Skills To Get You Promoted Or Hired

by | Feb 3, 2022 | Podcasts

SWGR 596 | Presentation Skills


How do you develop your presentation skills to be promoted or hired? There are three parts to this: strategy, script, and style. Host Elizabeth Bachman sits down with us to share valuable tips, stories, and examples to ace that interview! Rule number one is “strategic empathy.” You have to make your presentation about your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they’re looking for. What pressures might they be facing? What value can you give them? Listen to this episode and present like a pro!

Show Notes:

Kimi Avary Interview –

Kimi Avary, Navigating Gender Miscommunication –

Tina Greenbaum: How to be a Confident Negotiator –

Tina Greenbaum: Mastery Under Pressure –

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Ace That Interview! Presentation Skills To Get You Promoted Or Hired

Do you want to get a raise, a promotion, perhaps a better job? If so, then at some point, you’ll be in an interview situation. This is where the presentation skills you use to deliver a speech or make a presentation at the office can come in handy. This is the show where we talk about leadership, visibility, communication challenges and especially presentation skills.

In this episode, I want to talk to you about how you can ace that interview, be fabulous and shine in that interview so that you can be promoted or may be hired for a better job. As a trainer for high-level women in tech and law, I am using these presentation skills to help them get past the glass ceiling, but I’m surprised at how many people miss them. How many people don’t realize the connection between the skills you need to do a speech and the skills you need for an interview.

Any time you’re doing a presentation where you want to move people to take action or influence your colleagues, that is a form of a sales speech. In an interview, you’re selling yourself and the idea that they should hire you. The tricky part is you are the product. That opens the doors to so many challenges and all the voices in our heads that try to sabotage us. I think of presentation skills as three parts: strategy, script and style. The strategy now is going to be strategies for how to get that promotion, how to prepare yourself, and how to avoid the traps that so many of us fall into.

Script: What Do You Say?

The script is what do you say when you’re in the interview, and how you can prepare yourself for the questions and the challenges that they’re going to throw you. Style is who you are in the room, how you show up, and what is it that’s going to make you somebody interesting for them to hire. No woman is an island. I must say that for our topic, I’m leaning heavily on two of my very close colleagues from whom I have always learned a lot every time. Kimi Avary of Super Genius Teams is an expert on helping men and women talk to each other and hear each other. Tina Greenbaum of Mastery Under Pressure has a wonderful course called How To Be a Confident Negotiator. I worked with the two of them a great deal. Now, I’m going to be using things that the two have taught me. They have both been frequent guests on this show.

Presentation skills have three parts: strategy, script, and style. Click To Tweet

The reason why I care about this is because it took me years to learn how to be confident in an interview, to walk into an interview and not give away my power. I did that for far too long, and then I would see the jobs I wanted go to louder and flashier people who came off as sounding more confident. They may not have been but they came off that way. We were doing the same job and we were working on the same team, but they were getting paid more than I was. I knew it was happening. I was frustrated but I didn’t know then what I know now about how to change my behavior.

My passion is to help you not make the same mistakes that I made but truly learn how to shine in that interview. I’m going to start with strategy because that shapes everything that comes afterward. I’d like to talk about homework and doing your research, how to avoid the traps that we can easily fall into, how to recognize where fear is sabotaging you, and how the way you are asking might be getting in the way of getting what you want.

Use Strategic Empathy

Thinking about homework, make sure you do your research. This is pretty basic and obvious and yet, I’m surprised how many people stop with the obvious questions of, “What are they looking for? What do they want from me?” I believe that rule number one in any presentation is to make it about them. Use strategic empathy to put yourself in their shoes. Think about not only what they are looking for but what pressures they might be facing.

If you’re talking to your boss about a promotion or a raise, what are the pressures that your boss is facing and how could promoting you can ease some of those pressures? Think about the larger picture. In doing your research, you want to learn everything you can about what the position entails. You don’t have to be 150% ready. One of the ways that I see so many women sabotage themselves is when a man looks at the qualifications and the job listing, if he’s got 30%, he’ll apply. Often, a woman will look at the list and she may have 98%, but she won’t apply because she’s missing that last 2%. That needs to be perfect. That need to have it all is something that society has cursed us with and it gets in our way.

Think of it this way, the list of qualifications in a job posting is a wish list. Nobody ever fits all the qualifications that they look for. That don’t exist. It’s all the things they would like to have but any halfway decent employer is going to be ready to adapt. They are going to assume that they are going to adapt to the human beings who apply so go for it. Make the ask, apply and give it a try.

Next, when you’re doing your research, don’t stop at what they are going to expect about you. That’s what lazy people do. Too often, you’ll see someone who gets the job and they sit back and wait to be told what’s expected of them. What’s your vision? Think as a strategic thinker. What could you do with this promotion? What could you do if you had this raise or you got this job? How could that benefit the division, the department, the company and the organization as a whole? Think strategically about the larger picture because certainly, that’s what the upper levels of the company are doing. If you show yourself to be a strategic thinker, it’s going to be easy to promote you because people want strategic thinkers in the upper levels.

The other thing about research is don’t forget to research the money. This is a scary topic for men and women. Asking for money is scary for a lot of us. You can look online these days for what comparable salaries would be. There are lots of information out there. Certainly, this is someone that took something that took me a long time to learn. If you find this challenging, work with your coach or ask a trusted friend. Work with a partner who will make sure that you are asking for enough or asking for more than you expect to get, then holds you accountable.

Here’s where I turned to Tina Greenbaum of Mastery Under Pressure and especially her excellent course on How To Be A Confident Negotiator. She said many useful things. The one that I tend to focus on is knowing when you are ready to walk away. What is the salary level below which you will not go? If they say they can’t pay you that cash, what kind of benefits can you get instead? Be ready to negotiate. Assume you’re going to negotiate. Too many people, women especially, will settle for the first offer. Remember, any promotion or any job is only one in a continuum. It’s never going to be the last opportunity. Somehow from childhood, many of us have this feeling that we have to say yes because it’s the only offer we’re going to get. You have options. If it’s not the right fit, walk away.

SWGR 596 | Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills: Think as a strategic thinker. What’s your vision?


The second part of the strategy is recognizing where fear might be getting in the way. I’ll be speaking later about the fear that comes up when you’re in the interview. What about the fear that stops you from asking in the first place? Many women resist asking for a promotion because they are afraid of a negative answer. They are afraid of being thought pushy, greedy or whatever. There are so many things. It comes from childhood. There are lots of reasons that this comes from. Recognize when that’s happening to you. That takes me to the way you ask.

The third and most important part of the strategy is how the way you ask can sabotage whether you get promoted or hired. Let’s talk about this in terms of promotions because that’s the one where it shows up the most. There are two pieces. When a woman asks for a meeting to discuss a promotion, if the timing is wrong, she won’t be heard. Secondly, women tend to drop hints instead of asking outright. If you do that when a man is focused on something else, he won’t realize it and won’t hear you. I need to pause here for a minute and also say that one of the things I use a great deal in my work is how men and women communicate.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for many years. When I started working with Kimi Avary, she clarified it for me in a way that I’m going to use this information forever. Women had to sabotage themselves through language. The principles I’ve learned from Kimi have informed the way I communicate ever since. Teaching these principles to my clients has worked over and over again to help them get the promotions or raises that they wanted or even better jobs.

One of the traps people fall into all the time is to assume that the person you’re talking to, communicates and listens the same way that you do, but it’s not the same. Men and women speak different languages. I first learned about this in the ‘80s when I was studying Japanese. I learned that Japanese has men’s language and women’s language. There are words and phrases in Japanese that only men use, and words and phrases that only women use.

As it happened, my career took me to Europe instead of Asia. I have forgotten most of the Japanese that I’ve learned but that thought or that idea has stuck with me ever since. The more that I work with people in English, especially business English if English is not your first language, the more I see that men and women have different languages in English and in many other cultures. Let me stick to English to keep it simple. There’s a lot of talk about masculine speaking and feminine speaking. I like to think of it as single-focused versus multi-focused.

Single-focused people do one project at a time. They do it until it’s done and they are focused exclusively on that project. They can’t think about anything else. This is wonderful. Western businesses are built on single-focused principles. This is how things get done. The disadvantage is that a single-focused person or team can be so excited about this wonderful project that they’re working on that they don’t notice the side issues or the traps that they are about to walk into. It’s as if they’re wearing blinkers.

If the opportunity is not the right fit, walk away. Click To Tweet

Multi-focused people, mostly women, think about many things at once. They talk about lots of things. They can talk about what they saw out the window and news about a friend, “By the way, I need to talk to you about this project. When could we do that?” Women tend to notice the side issues that men won’t notice. This is an actual thing that happened to one of my clients. She said to a group of men, “Before we invest all this time and money on this project, did you realize that our competitors already have this? They’re already offering it. They’ve done the development. It’s already out on the market.”

That was one where she was shut down. They didn’t want to hear and the money was wasted, or “Even before we created this new procedure or this new program, has anybody even asked the clients if they want it?” These are the things that multi-focused people will notice. The problem comes when each person thinks the other person has heard them, and they haven’t.

The two things I want to focus on are timing and dropping hints. Multi-focused women get in the habit of talking about many things at once. They are likely to hear and take in many things. They may not focus on them exclusively but they will hear them. However, when you’ve got a man single-focused on a project and a woman comes in and starts to talk to him, it’s an interruption. It’s annoying and he’s likely not to hear or not to pay attention. Where the solution is to make an appointment.

When Kimi Avary taught me this one, it changed my life. It made such a difference when I’m working with single-focused people because I can be multi-focused. In times when I’m multi-focused, I can tell the people around me, “Don’t talk to me now. I can think about this after 3:00.” Make an appointment. For instance, you can go to your manager and say, “I need 30 minutes with you to talk about a possible promotion. When would be a good time?” He’ll say, “I can’t think about it now. How about 4:00 this afternoon?”

At 4:00 in the afternoon, you show up. You’ve got the points that you want to talk about. Be concise. Don’t tell all the background. Single-focused people don’t care about context. They don’t care about all the details. They want you to get to the point. Talk about it at 4:00 when you have his full single-focused attention. The great thing is when you do have the single-focused person or the man’s attention, you have all their attention. That’s wonderful and it honors you.

The other part of this is when you make the appointment, shut up. The other way that women sabotage themselves all the time is they make the appointment and they keep on talking. Don’t give them the background when they can’t listen to you. Don’t give them all the things that you want to talk about at 4:00, just make the appointment. If you keep on talking, the single-focused person is going to be annoyed and irritated. That irritation will show up at the 4:00 appointment. Make the appointment, let him get back to whatever he was working on, and wait for your turn. Wait until you can take care of this.

The other important part is about women dropping hints. When Kimi told me about this, I thought, “No, really?” The more I noticed how much I was dropping hints instead of asking, it blew my mind. Now I can’t unsee it. I notice it all the time that I do it and the women around me do it. If you’re dropping hints, the man doesn’t know if this is a question. Is this a request? Is this something he’s supposed to pay attention to? I don’t know where it came from that women were trained to not be direct, but it gets us in trouble.

Where this matters as far as promotions is you may think that you’ve asked for a promotion, but if you’ve done it in an indirect way, they won’t have heard you. That happens a lot. Too many women will think that their boss doesn’t care about them. They say, “My boss doesn’t take me seriously. He knows I want this promotion and he doesn’t ever talk about it. He doesn’t listen to me when I’m talking about this,” but have you asked or have you just dropped hints?

SWGR 596 | Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills: Instead of dropping hints, ask for what you want directly.


This is what happened to my client, Martha. Before she was a client of mine, she had a great vision for the company. She knew the promotion that she wanted. She wrote an article or a proposal about how she saw how she could truly help the organization and where this would make a difference. She sent it to her boss, Jason. She said, “Here’s an article I think you’ll enjoy.” Jason didn’t realize that it was a request. Martha thought that she had asked for the promotion. Jason thought, “This is something that I can be able to read someday. I’ll get to it whenever I have time.” It got buried in the next 50 to 500 emails.

When Martha went back to Jason and said, “What did you think of the article?” Jason had completely forgotten about it. Martha was furious but she did the typical thing. She smiled. She said, “It’s okay. Get to it when you get a chance,” and disconnected. She was so angry and resentful. She called her female friends to say, “He didn’t listen. Here’s the article I wrote. It’s my baby. I slaved over it. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t take me seriously. I think I’m going to quit.” Because they had only heard her side of the story, her female friends were saying, “Walk away. He doesn’t take you seriously.”

Fortunately, one of the friends said, “Call Elizabeth and talk about this before you quit.” Indeed, when we analyzed the situation, we realized that it was a case of miscommunication. Jason didn’t know that she was asking for the promotion because she hadn’t asked. She was reading into his reaction and emotion that wasn’t there. We were able to develop a strategy for her where she could ask for the promotion. She could show her value to the company and indeed, she got the promotion and she’s very happy about it. Have you ever been there? I’ve certainly done that. You dropped a hint and you think someone has heard you. The more you notice these things and the more you can recognize where you are sabotaging yourself, the easier it is to then not make that mistake but to move ahead.

Let’s talk about the script. Once you’re in the interview, what do you say? You can prepare for it. This goes back to rule number one, make it about them. Use strategic empathy to put yourself in their shoes. The two key things are remember to listen and prepare your stories, both the good ones and the bad ones. This is important because one of the traps we fall into is we’re nervous in the interview that they ask us a question and we blather on and on, telling a story with way more detail but maybe not getting to the point. This has happened to me way back at the beginning of my opera career. I lost a job I should have gotten because I babbled on and on. I forgot to say the most important thing. They hired somebody else. I’ve learned from that to prepare and to remind myself not to do that again.

You’ve done your research. You’ve imagined and put yourself in their shoes with strategic empathy. You’ve imagined the pressures that they’re facing. When you’re in the interview, remember to listen. They are interviewing you but you’re interviewing them as well. Listen to what they’re saying and what you can find out from their body language, their words, the things they’re not saying that take you below the surface. You want to talk about your vision. Go below the surface.

Ask some of the questions that are not obvious questions. For example, if this is a job interview, if you’ve done your research, you can say something like, “Congratulations. I saw that your company got an award. How much of that were you? How much were you involved in that? How does that affect you and your department?” Digging below the surface a little bit instead of an empty bravo and move on. Maybe you could say, “I’ve seen that there was an initiative this company had that didn’t go so well. How did that affect you? How are you dealing with it? I only know what I can read online. What’s your side of the story?” Go below the surface. Ask intelligent questions and listen.

The second part on the script is to prepare your stories. For instance, if you’re asking for a promotion or a raise, hopefully, every week, you have tracked what your successes are. This is something that my clients and I do together, where we keep an ongoing record of the achievements once a week or once every two weeks at least. Keep an ongoing record and then tell your manager about what has gone well or if something has gone not gone well, what are you doing about it? This is hard to do on your own because most of us are trained not to brag about our own successes.

Keep and polish your success stories because you’ll use them forever. Click To Tweet

What is helpful here is to have a partner. Do this with your coach or do this with your accountability partner. Get together at least every two weeks to track your successes. Talk about the things that have gone wrong and things that you’re still working on. Every six weeks or so, go through that ongoing list and pick a couple of accomplishments that you’re going to write stories about. The great thing about doing this with a partner is your partner will say, “Don’t gloss over that one. That’s a real accomplishment,” and you can do this for your partner. It’s always easier to see how someone else is doing that. Keep the appointment and keep it sacred. Don’t blow it off. It’s something that you have to do. You will be so glad later.

When it’s time to ask for a raise or a promotion, you’ve got a list of your accomplishments. Not only do you have the list but you can tell the story, maybe 1 to 3 minutes long, about what the problem was, how you solved it, and what’s the benefit to the company. Keep and polish these stories. Once you have them, you’ll use them forever. If you go to another company, you can still say, “Back at my old company, here’s how I learned this.” One of the other things that’s important here is to practice. Polish these stories, write them out first and say them out loud.

When you hear the words come out of your mouth, you will hear where perhaps you missed something or where a phrase that made sense on the page doesn’t make sense when you speak it. Practice it so it rolls easily off your tongue because if you’re nervous, if you’re inclined to babble on and on, the practice will help you a lot. Another piece of this is in a job interview, they are going to ask you about the times you’ve done badly. Where did you make a mistake? Most people I know hate this question. I like to think of framing it as, “Way back at the beginning of my career, I made this mistake. That’s how I know never to do it again.”

The story I told earlier about losing a job because I babbled on and on, and I forgot to say the most important part. That’s that kind of story or, “Here’s something that I’m good at and here’s what I’m not so great at.” They could say, “Where are you not strong? What are your strengths or weaknesses? Where are you not so great?” You might say something like, “For me, I am good with words and language. Graphics, not so much. I can put together a PowerPoint but I’m slow. I don’t do it well. However, if you put me together with someone who thinks in pictures, we are unbeatable.” That’s a way that you can say, “Here’s what I’m good at. Here’s where I’m not so great. I would rather not be doing the graphics but if you put me together with someone who’s great at graphics but not so great at words, you’ll have a good team.” That is important information. That is useful for an employer to know.

SWGR 596 | Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills: Go below the surface, ask intelligent questions, and listen.


Delivery Style Delivery Style

The third part is your delivery style. How do you show up in the interview? I promised I’d talk more about fear. This is where fear can make us nervous and make us forget things. One of my favorite techniques for dealing with stage fright, because that’s what it is, is to go back to rule number one, make it about them. Use strategic empathy to put yourself in their shoes.

I invite you to close your eyes for a minute. Imagine a dinner party at your home or wherever it is that you serve food. The people that you’re going to interview are guests at your party. Imagine your table surrounded by happy and excited people who are hungry for what you have to offer. Once you’ve pictured it, reach out as if to embrace them and say, “Welcome to my party. I have a gift for you.”

Where we can get ourselves in trouble is when we walk into an interview or tune into an interview, thinking they have the power or, “I’m taking something from them.” This is one that I used to feel at the beginning of my career, and was helped out of it by a coach. I used to think that by asking for money to be paid for my worth, I was taking something from them. I’ve certainly heard many of my clients say this.

In reality, you are giving them the gift of your expertise. If you can get out of your head and stop the voices that are telling you, “You’re hurting them by asking them for money.” That was an old one I used to have. Think about how you can benefit them. Your skill and expertise are like the dinner you’re going to serve the guests. They are hungry. They need somebody in that position, so they are hungry for what you have to offer. You are the gift. What you bring them is a gift. Don’t forget, you’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If it’s not a good fit, walk away. You have the power. You don’t have to give it away.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Let me review. There are three parts, strategy, script and style. The strategy is to do your homework, notice how fear could be getting in the way, and pay attention to the way you are asking. Make sure they have a chance and that you’re speaking to them in a way that they can hear you. The script are the stories that you tell. Take your time, do your research and listen. The delivery style is to make it about them. You have the power. You are offering them the opportunity to invest in the success of their organization by hiring you or giving you a promotion so that you are a gift.

There’s so much more about this, but I love applying these techniques. With these techniques, three of my clients have landed wonderful new positions that they are very happy with. I promise that it works. If this has been helpful, please like us on YouTube, subscribe, tell your friends, and leave us a review on whatever app you listen to podcasts on. I’ll see you at the next one.


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