“Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do. Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too. Big people, small people, matter of fact: all people. Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do.” ~Big Bird
Not only does everyone make mistakes – when those mistakes happen during a presentation, they also become incredibly memorable. Everyone makes mistakes, but what can you learn from them?
Behavioral Interview Question: Talk us through a time when you felt your presentation skills let you down and what did you learn from that experience?
Any time you are asked to say something negative about yourself in response to a behavioral interview question, it is not the negative statement that is important. It is how you followed up on it. Think back to a presentation mistake (we have all had them), and then talk about what you did after that to make sure that mistake did not happen again.
“I completed a presentation on a national sales promotion for one key account and it went very well, leading to a huge increase in future product orders. I was asked to do the exact same presentation a week later for another key account in a nearby city.
The first presentation went so well, that I didn’t think I needed to prepare anything extra for the next one. I arrived feeling confident that I had everything covered but then I was asked some additional questions that I was not prepared for. If I had spent more time thinking about that particular account and preparing the presentation just for them rather than approaching it generically, I would not have faltered.
That experience was a reminder how important it is to treat each presentation like it’s the only one, preparing specific notes, having an idea of what questions may arise and so on. Since that day, I approach every presentation as if it is the only one even when the presentation is essentially the same, I learned that it has to be something that you treat like it is the first time you have ever presented on the topic.”
There was a mistake, and you learned something. That’s all you really need to show with this type of answer. As long as you are clear with your response, you’ll make sure the interviewer understands that you’re someone that learns and tries to do better.
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