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Making a presentation

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Presentations are a good way for interviewers to test a wide range of skills including your communication skills (e.g. ability to explain complex ideas in a succinct manner, ability to deal with the unexpected by having to answer difficult questions on the subject). They also offer you the opportunity of showing your personality and in some instances can allow you to control the agenda and dictate questioning.

Remember that you have time to prepare. This is a double-edged sword as having time to prepare means that you are more equipped to shine, but on the other hand you have no excuse if it all goes wrong!

Typical subjects might include:

  • How would you recruit good doctors to your department?
  • What are the issues affecting urology at the moment?
  • How would you set up a new clinic for pelvic floor problems?
  • How do you see this specialty evolving over the next 10 years?
  • Modernising colorectal surgery?
  • How might you set up a laparoscopic service?
  • How might you improve audit?

Important tips include

Prepare well in advance.  Preparation does not mean sitting down for hours trying to write slides.  Start the process by simply thinking about the issues raised.  Clarify the messages in your own mind. This can take a few days of simply general brainstorming.  Remember to think laterally.  What would they like to here.  Remeber that the managers think about reducing costs, increasing efficiency, achieving targets.  Once you have gathered your ideas and only then start structuring your presentation.

Keep it simple. The most effective presentations are not the most complicated ones. Concentrate on a few key messages and present them well.  If you are given a title that is broad, it is sometimes better to select a specific aspect to talk about, rather than trying to cover too much in a short space of time.  If you do take on too much, you may be thorough, but  you will end up with too much detail, which may present a confusing picture.

Do not overdo the visual aids. These should be used to summarise the main points and not as a prompt for you.  Do not write too much down.  PowerPoint is not you aide-memoire.  It is designed to make your audience's job easier, not yours!  If everything is written down, it will look compact and confusing, you will end up reading the slides which will be boring from everyone and you will fail to make any impact. If you can use diagrams and pictures as well as words to make it look more lively.

Once you have a first draft, give it a run.  If you are stumbling on your own words rework the content so that there is a more logical progression.

Get advice from someone who hasn't heard it before.

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