What Has Your Experience Been Like With Public Speaking?

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: January 23, 2023

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Some positions require you to regularly speak in front of a group of people. When you are in an interview for such a job- some interview questions are bound to come up such as- “What has been your experience in giving presentations? What has been your most successful experience in speech making?” Similar forms of this question include- “What experience do you have with giving presentations?” and “What was your most successful experience with giving a speech?”

It is fairly straightforward what the interviewer is hoping to learn. He or she wants to know that you have some experience with speaking in front of others. However- instead of merely asking- “Are you good at public speaking?” which could be answered with a “yes” or “no-” the hiring managers wants to hear about an actual time you had to give a speech. Depending on your career history- it might be easy to think back to a time when you had to speak to several individuals. For other people- interview questions regarding public speaking can be a little more difficult to respond to. For this question- preparation is key.

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How to Answer the ‘What Has Been Your Experience in Giving Presentations? What Has Been Your Most Successful Experience in Speech Making?’ Interview Question

Explain every aspect of your speech-making process

The interviewer is going to want to hear more than simply the fact that you gave a speech. You should also talk about what you did to prepare for the moment. Hopefully you did not scrap together a presentation 15 minutes before you had to go in. Did you outline first? Did you use presentation software? Did you give your presentation in front of your spouse or a friend before the big day? Perhaps you get a little nervous any time you have to make a presentation- so you have a system for calming your nerves beforehand. All these little details help make you stand out from everyone else being asked these types of interview questions.

Talk about what resulted from the speech

When deciding which speech to discuss- you should try to pick one that had real stakes in place. If you gave a speech at a wedding- that is great. However- it is not going to impress a potential employer when answering- “What has your experience been like with public speaking?” Talk about a time where something was truly on the line for a presentation. If there was a time when you had to give a presentation in front of a prospective client in order to make a sale and you ended up making a lot of money for your company- that would be a good example. The interviewer wants to know how you will be able to benefit him or her- so make your response relevant.

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Feel free to show a moment of growth

Some people are much better public speakers than others. You might be excellent with giving presentations- or maybe this skill did not come so naturally to you. If you fall into the latter category- then it is okay to mention that and talk about how you overcame this obstacle. Hiring managers love to see that you are capable of growth. You can mention that you used to get nervous when giving presentations- but you took classes in public speaking and grew as an individual. Do not feel like you have to come across as a perfect candidate who has always been proficient in every skill.

Sample ‘What Has Been Your Experience in Giving Presentations? What Has Been Your Most Successful Experience in Speech Making?’ Interview Answers

1. My most successful presentation was when I had to speak with a potential client to hire our company to handle their marketing. Over $200-000 was on the line- so I was understandably a little nervous. I spent three weeks writing and rewriting my speech- always feeling like there was something I could add or do differently. I gave my presentation in front of my wife- and even though I still felt like there was more that could be done- she loved it and said I was going to do great. I gave the speech- and we ended up winning the client over and making a large profit for the company.

2. I was tasked by my last employer to give a presentation in front of an elementary school to explain the dangers of smoking. The first time I did this- I was understandably nervous at first and felt like I could do a lot better. I took a public speaking class at the local community college in order to get better. Getting more practice and encouragement from my professor made me feel a lot better in my abilities- and I grew a lot as a proficient public speaker. I learned how to outline more efficiently- and it really started to show in future presentations when the kids became visibly more engaged in what I had to say.

With a little preparation- you will have no problem responding to- “What has your experience been like with public speaking?”

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