Preparing for the final

Ahead of time

 

Invite your client(s).

Make sure to give them plenty of notice, and make sure they understand the significance of the occasion.

 

Choreograph the presentation.

Work out who will say what, in what order. Make sure everyone gets roughly equal time. Work out transitions that lead smoothly from one section/person to the next.

 

Prepare your materials.

Make sure whatever diagrams/web displays/handouts/performances you plan are rehearsed, online, printed out, or generally ready to go. Make sure you know how to use the computer and projection facilities.

 

Dress well.

Show you are professional. Show you respect the occasion and the client.

 

 

On the day

 

Speak to your audience.

Start and finish by addressing your client, but maintain good eye contact with the audience/group one by one. At the beginning, thank the client(s) for coming, and for giving you the opportunity to learn by working with them; at the end thank them for their attention and ask if they have questions.

 

Never apologize.

You waste valuable time and sound unprofessional if you do so; you also diminish the skills you have, and the accomplishments you might claim. Instead, focus on what you have achieved.

 

Never blame.

A blamer refuses to accept responsibility for his or her own actions, and as such is a terrible colleague or employee. Don’t blame your group, don’t blame the client, don’t blame the printer, don’t blame the sun in your eyes. Whatever goes wrong—and stuff always goes wrong—is a chance to show you can think on your feet and resolve unexpected difficulties, and those are vital skills in any future employment.

 

Start by outlining your challenge, and how you went about addressing it.

This shows you understand the problem and the landscape of publishing. Explain your publishing strategy, as this sets the stage for why you did what you did.

 

Explain what you achieved.

Don’t make this a narrative of everything you did. Tell and show the highlights, explain why you did these actions and how they fit into the overall publishing strategy.

 

Explain what you learned.

This is perhaps more for the teacher than the client, but it is as important to understand why you did something than to be able to say you did it. It shows you understand publishing, and could take on other, different challenges. (It often helps to discuss this one as a group ahead of time to articulate exactly what you have learned.)

 

Create takeaways.

As you part company with your client(s), hand them a nicely-made-up handout that suggests what steps they may want to take in the immediate future of their project(s). No need for more than 4-6 items, but make sure they are detailed and useful, including resources, or links to resources, if possible. Arrange them either chronologically or by priority. This is a wonderful way to reshape the steps you wanted to take but couldn’t for reasons of time or circumstance, and instead make them into a parting gift that leaves the client satisfied and impressed.

 

And if the client is satisfied and impressed….

…ask if they will write a brief recommendation on your LinkedIn profile page. If they agree, send them the link. This kind of professional recommendation is of extraordinary value in the job hunt.

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