Engage HR Forum with Mike Dutton of Inchmery Associates


Last week we were delighted to welcome Mike Dutton of Inchmery Associates who took to the stand as our first speaker for the first Engage HR Forum.


The HR Forum was held at The Cliff, Canford Cliffs, and was well attended by HR leaders, executives, and decision makers across a wide range of companies and industries in Dorset and Hampshire. A light breakfast of fresh fruit, pastries, and bacon rolls was on offer with copious amounts of tea, coffee and fruit juices.


After welcoming everyone to the Forum, Engage Executive Recruitment Director, Sally Bennett, handed over to Mike who started his talk on change management.


The informal forum involved discussing scenarios one had dealt with regarding change management and the steps taken to overcome problems which arose.  Mike also covered topics including; appreciative inquiry; Kotter’s 8 steps, Action learning, and the Sarah curve.


Feedback was hugely positive with comments congratulating Engage on the speaker, topics covered, the refreshingly informal yet energising feel to the Forum, with many attendees commenting on how fantastic it was to have such a ‘meeting of minds’ where they were able to discuss both the challenging aspects of HR as well as the strategies they had implemented which had been especially successful for them.


The next Engage Executive HR Forum will be held in May where Joanna Kane of Trailblazers will be our speaker.  Joanna is also author of The Suited Hippy & The Stress Junkie.



Dee Clayton’s 7 top tips on preparing for a job interview.

Dee recently presented to the Poole business women’s lunch club, as well as running a presentation skills workshop for  Engage Executive Jobs.

Below, dee highlights her tips on how to prepare for interview presentations.

Summary of the 7 Top Tips

1.    Make it easy for them to know, like and trust you.

2.    Engage the audience and demonstrate excellent presentation skills.

3.    Let your personality shine through (appropriately!).

4.    Consider your content carefully.

5.    Consider your presentation style relative to the role and company.

6.    Research the company and market thoroughly.

7.    Know how you are going to structure any presentation before you do it.


One of the things I asked participants to consider was the purpose of the presentation in an interview but from the interviewers perspective.   The interviewer isn’t just looking for the content of a presentation – they are also observing your personality and likability. They want to know that you are the kind of person that will fit into the company.  They also want to see that you are trustworthy and they can build rapport with you easily: But this can only be done if you are natural and yourself. If you avoid eye contact, and appear nervous (or suffer from the Public Speaking Monkeys, as I call them) it is less easy for the interviewers to get that trust and likability factor.

An Interviewer is also looking to see that you have an ability to engage an audience and can communicate a clear message – not always easy under pressure perhaps.   They want to see how you manage on your feet, that you have a variety of communication skills available; its not just about creating a PowerPoint deck.  You need to show that you can be engaging with stories, use relevant props, overhead projectors or flipcharts if those tools are appropriate to the role and company.

Obviously, the interviewer or panel are looking to see that you have skills in your specialist area but also it may be important to experience what your presentation skills are like – especially in leadership roles.  Of course your body language will be important, you need to convey that you are calm and confident and be relaxed enough to let your personality shine through.

The other thing people sometimes forget is that they are looking at your presentation style to see that it is appropriate to your individual personality and to the company, brand or role.

·      If you are a thinker use your pauses and thoughtfulness – allow your strengths to shine through in the presentation. But of course you’ll want a role that suits your style anyway – so just be yourself. (Unless that’s scared & nervous of presenting!)

·      Different companies will want different things; Lush Cosmetics might be looking for a very different style of presentation than Liverpool Victoria insurance company.

·      You also need to consider your style of presentation and the role you are applying for – a Finance Director role will have hugely different requirements from a creative or innovation type position.

·      I remember an interview presentation I was on the panel for – a Marketing Director’s interview and I remember “Jeff” had visited several of the companies’ sites and done a “mystery shopper” style video presentation. It was great and he stood out from the crowd. (He also got in a bit of trouble for not asking permission to film – but he got the job!)

Finally, an Interviewer will be looking to see that you have done your research on the company.  They may be interested to see how much time you spent researching them, as your research demonstrates your commitment.  They might want to see the depth of your research; have you only done website research or have you spoken to people and formulated views?  It is worth checking what the Press has to say about them, they may be looking for solutions to problems that they are experiencing, and they may be looking to you to identify any gaps in the company strategy, following the research that you’ve done.

When it comes to considering the content and structure of your interview presentation I have shared many presentation tips on those topics already so please read these blogs too to help you prepare:

Check out Dee’s blog here.

7 Common Mistakes When Delivering a Presentation and How to Avoid Them by Dee Clayton


Dee recently presented at the Poole Business Women’s Lunch Club as well as taking an Engage Executive workshop for some of our clients.  Here she has written a post exclusively for our blog.

The 7 Most Common Mistakes To Avoid When Delivering A Business Presentation. 

Do you know anyone making these 7 mistakes in business presentations? Are you or those around you guilty of maybe a few of these? To learn more about these mistakes and how to avoid them next time you stand up to give a presentation read on:

The mnemonic “M.I.S.T.A.K.E” will help you remember the 7 most common mistakes to avoid.

Monkeys – Do you ever hear quiet whispers or loud yelling of negative voices in your head saying things like “You’re Rubbish and Boring!” or “You’re gonna forget what to say”, well those are the Public Speaking Monkeys. The problem with the monkeys is that they cause a presenter to be on a downward spiral before they even start their talk. These negative and destructive thoughts or monkey voices must be tamed before giving a presentation or the presenter will suffer from nerves and just won’t find it easy to be themselves, let alone impress the audience.

Individual – As a presenter it is important to know your own style, it is important for you to be natural, so if you are funny, bring in appropriate humour; if you are knowledgeable, bring in applicable facts.  You’ll want to express your “natural” body language so that it matches what you are saying, rather than displaying unnatural nervous body language. If your message is complicated,  identify ways in which to explain any complex issues.  For seasoned presenters it’s always a good idea to find your individual style and stick to it – don’t try to be someone else!

Story – As individuals we all like to hear a good story.  So a good approach when making a presentation is to tell people a true story.  A much used presentation tip is to deliver case studies, testimonials and customer feedback stories in business presentations, ensuring confidentiality is never breached.

Timing – The most common mistake in business presentations is to underestimate the time required, inevitably presenters go over their allocated time, which is very unprofessional.  Practice out loud and allow time for questions, breaks etc.  I recommend structuring your presentation using the 4MAT, which means that should you need to adapt the presentation (even last minute) for time reasons, you can easily do so.

Action – At the end of business presentations there should always be an action that needs to be completed, unfortunately, lots of presenters forget this. It is imperative to tell the audience what action you want them to take and how they should do it.  In a sales type presentation you might be asking them to make a decision over a purchase, but in a less formal presentation the action might be to sign up to the newsletter or free quote etc.

Keep sake – People tend to buy a product or service when they need it and not before – this style of purchase can be described as a distress purchase. As an example, a presentation training course may be as bought as a result of a staff appraisal or in the lead up to a specific presentation. If the company only identifies that they need presentation training just before delivering that all important business presentation it is critical to be remembered at that crucial moment. By giving someone a unique message, theme or promotional product they are more likely to have your name available, when they need to find you to book that presentation course.  In the past, I have used monkey mints, key rings, magnets, pencil cases but I would suggest you choose something that is relevant to you and your business; think about what items you have been given in the past and are still using today. I often leave a potential client with a copy of my book Taming Your Public Speaking Monkeys.

Engage – For effective engagement, you need to know your audience; who are they, what are they looking for, what are they trying to achieve by listening to you.   Encourage audience engagement through interaction and participation; make them feel a part of what you are telling them.  Additional information on generating audience interaction is available from How to…presentation skills – Audience Interaction Blog.

Without recognizing these 7 most common mistakes you may be wasting both your time and that of your audience but if avoided you will be delivering hugely improved business presentations. The following is an extract from the full report so if you’d like to then please click here to read that in more detail

Dee Clayton is a multi award winning presentation skills trainer, speaker and author and heads up Dee Clayton Ltd which focuses on the needs of individuals who want to overcome their fear of public speaking or take their skills to the next level. Dee is also founder of  Simply Amazing Training Ltd who specialize in bespoke communication skills training requirements for teams and senior executives – call 01202 798128 for more information.



Dee Clayton takes an Engage Executive workshop

We invited Dee Clayton to hold a workshop for Engage clients whereby she could work her magic and cover all those difficult presentation situations faced by professionals: what to do when you forget what to say in a presentation; when you are asked a difficult question; when you are not sure of the answer, and when you find yourself speaking too quickly.


You can join the LinkedIn Engage Executive Workshop group here to find out about workshops that are planned in the future.