Giving a great presentation can be a turning point in your career. Not everyone is born with this innate talent, but we have good news: you can learn presentation skills! Now, one of the best ways to learn is through mistakes. Luckily you don’t have to make them yourself. Here are 4 things you should avoid when presenting or speaking in public and what to do instead.

1. Just winging it

It’s normal to prepare a presentation in terms of the design, the content, the order of the presentation slides, but many people forget to practice. An essential part of presenting is not just what you show, but what you say. Do you know how you will explain each slide? Do you have good transitions? Have you prepared answers for all the possible questions? You need to avoid being at a loss for words and must ensure a smooth narration throughout. This means thoroughly preparing your script and practicing your presentation – don’t just wing it.

2. Not adapting to your audience

Pretty, young business woman giving a presentation in a conference/meeting setting (shallow DOF; color toned image)Communication is a two-way street. Not only are you telling something to your audience, you also need to respond and adjust to their expectations and perception as well as to what’s being fed back to you. Sometimes we get so obsessed with the content of the presentation that we forget about who our audience is. Is it your family? Your colleagues? Your bosses? Do some research about how much they already know about your topic and take it into account when preparing your presentation. Always understand who your audience is and adapt your content to them.

3. Not having a clear objective

Despite giving a memorable speech, you could fail at reaching your goal! So before you start preparing your presentation, ask yourself what you want to achieve: identify the main goal and plan every single aspect of your speech with that objective in mind. This will not only help you do what you’ve set out to do, it will enable you to maintain and create clarity, build-up and consistency.

4. Not analysing who you are for your audience

It is important to know your audience, but you also need to figure out how the audience knows you and how you want them to perceive you. Like number 2 above, you need to ask yourself who you are in the eyes of your audience. Are you well-known in your area, someone everybody is dying to see? Congrats! If not, be aware of your audience’s expectations and prejudices about yourself and your position, and work around them.

So now that you know the Don’ts, you are invited to learn the Do’s in our Presentation Skills for Business course, starting 9 November 2015. The course is divided into three parts: You will start with a journey into communicative style audit. Then you will take the next steps to preparing successful presentations. Finally, you will learn quick tips for the staging. Enrol now to become a master of presentation skills and public speaking!

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Images: Homuork; Bigstockphoto
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Social innovations are everywhere and largely influence our lives: they can change the rules in business, civil society and politics. With this approach we can design social practices that are more beneficial, sustainable or just. But what exactly are social innovations? To find out more about this fascinating topic, we spoke with MOOC instructor Nicholas Wenzel. His “Social Innovation” course is starting November 2nd. Mr. Wenzel has worked at the World Vision Center for Social Innovation at the European Business School (EBS). He is also co-founder of InternsGoPro, a social enterprise certifying the quality of internships in Europe.

Nicholas Wenzel - iversityMr. Wenzel, what is the most exciting thing about your field of study?

The concept of “Social Innovation” demonstrates a simple thing: the way we live, consume, work, or do business is something that we can change to the better. Everything could actually be quite different!

Why did you create this MOOC?

I hope that we, my co-instructors Christine Rimke, Dr. Susan Müller and I, can reach a lot of people and make them familiar with the different forms, aspects, and opportunities of social innovation. And of course I hope that some participants will eventually become social innovators themselves.

How can students apply their learnings?

In our MOOC we ask the students to think about challenges and problems they are interested in. They can then test first ideas that could eventually mitigate a given problem. Very often, you can test an idea with a small pilot and then see what works and what doesn’t work. If some students used our MOOC to run these tests and shared their experiences, that would be great! Then our course would have an actual impact on the world.

Can you sum up what students can expect from this course?􏰀

The “Social Innovation” MOOC is a combination of theory, expert interviews, examples, and tasks that encourage students to think differently and start acting.

Would you share one fun fact about you that your students wouldn’t expect?

I am in love with my hometown Rome and passionate about improv theatre.

Are you curious to learn more about social innovation? Enrol in our “Social Innovation” MOOC now! Explore the theory and practice behind this topic and start realising your own real-life projects.

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Building Strong Digital BrandsAs companies today increasingly use digital and social media marketing to reach consumers, brand management is becoming more and more essential. If companies don’t want to be left behind, they need to start exploring digital branding opportunities right now. But what is the best way to do that? Getting instructions from an expert in our online course “Building Strong Digital Brands” is the perfect start.

1. Learn The Digital Brand Management Basics

Last year, the Economist asked, “What are brands for?”. Digital branding remains an underrepresented and unexplored field one year later. Not for Prof. Dr. Dieter Georg Herbst, though. In addition to his international academic career, the German brand and communication expert has 15 years of experience in the field. Currently, Prof. Herbst teaches at the Berlin University of the Arts, which will be offering his MOOC “Building Strong Digital Brands” on iversity starting 19 October 2015. In this online course, Prof. Herbst will first give an introduction to brand management and digital media and technologies. Course participants will then dive deep into digital brand storytelling as well as advanced methods and techniques used to generate strong emotions around a brand.

2. Get Valuable Tips From A Branding Expert

Prof. Herbst has worked in the Corporate Communications Department of Schering, a global pharmaceutical company, has been an executive partner in Source 1 Networks GmbH since 1999, and advises companies all over the world. Now he looks forward to sharing his professional insights gained from over 15 years of work experience to the public. “I want to show how brands establish deep connections with digital media and maintain the relationship over the long term,” says Prof. Herbst in an interview with iversity. “I am passionate about branding. I created the course to share that passion.” Prof. Herbst will offer participants the rare opportunity to explore real case studies and listen to personal anecdotes from his years of experience in digital brand management. On top of that, participants can look forward to getting valuable tips you can’t find in the books.

3. Build Your Own Digital Brand

Although the internet provides a vast net of opportunities, many companies haven’t yet taken advantage of the unique aspects of digital branding. According to Prof. Herbst, “There is still a huge unused potential in digital brand management for stories, pictures and strong emotions which come with digital brands.” In his MOOC, he will enable participants to discover and explore this potential to build their own unique brand strategy. These learnings can be applied to businesses as well as anyone’s own personal brand. No matter if you are studying, working for a company or trying to make a name for yourself as a freelancer, everyone can benefit from learning about corporate and personal branding.

4. Become A Digital Branding Whiz

“Building Strong Digital Brands” is strongly recommended for participants interested management, marketing and related other fields. In addition, anyone who is curious is more than welcome to join in. Prof. Herbst puts it this way: “If you think about the fact that we all are surrounded by digital media and digital technology 24/7, that we are automatically consumers and constantly, consciously or unconsciously, in contact with brands, it is obvious that this MOOC is very interesting for those who are passionate about digital media and digital technologies in general.” Are you? Then be sure to join this new MOOC to set the foundations for becoming a digital branding whiz.

Don’t Miss Our Digital Marketing Toolkit you want to get the most out of “Building Strong Digital Brands”? Then you should consider enrolling in our “Digital Marketing Toolkit”. iversity is currently offering two courses by digital marketing professionals, who will each share their expertise and guide you to understand the most essential aspects of the field. Show your current and potential employers that you are motivated to stay ahead of the curve and have grasped the complex world of digital marketing. With the Toolkit, you will not only get certified in “Building Strong Digital Brands”, but also “Digital and Social Media Marketing” at a 20% discount. Learn more about the Digital Marketing Toolkit here.

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Learn the ins and outs of the German job market and work culture in our new “Employability Skills” MOOC. As the course start date is nearing, we spoke with course instructor Antti Kapanen and asked him to give a little preview into what to expect in the course. Mr. Kapanen has taught students from all over the world in his Master of Business Administration and Engineering programme at the HTW Berlin. Over the years, international graduate employability has become the centrepoint of his research work. In our “Employability Skills” MOOC he will share his expertise in the field and teach internationals key skills for landing a job in a German company.

20150717-iversity_AnttiKapanen-employabilityMr. Kapanen, what is the most exciting thing about your field of study?

This MOOC links to two great demographic trends of our time in Europe. One is the internationalisation of society. In Germany, already every fifth person has a migrant background. Of university students, currently about 12 percent are international but this figure is growing. The second trend is the transformation of employment toward what we call a “protean” career.

Can you explain what you mean by “protean” career?

The term “protean” originates from the Greek water god Proteus, who would adapt to situations by changing his form. Indeed, when surveyed, close to all German employers emphasise the ability to adapt to new situations as an important graduate skill. Another “protean” skill is that of lifelong learning: Finishing a degree, it seems, is becoming nothing but a good start!

What was your motivation for making a MOOC?

Many international students wish to work in Germany after graduation. However, their success depends not only on their courses and grades, but also on their understanding of how the world of work in Germany functions. At the university, we teach this in seminars, but the fundamentals are quite universal and relevant for most students and graduates – and therefore a great topic for a MOOC.

What do you expect your students to get out of the course?

The students will gain a range of skills and knowledge that they can immediately put into practice – but the most important thing I wish the students to get out of the course is a habit of self-reflection.

Let’s say I am not currently studying this subject. Why would this course be interesting for me?

This course will give you a balanced skills package for starting and developing a career in Germany. If this is your aim, you should not miss this course.

What will help students do well in the course?

Putting into practice, as soon as possible, what you have learned in the course will help you gain the most out of it. Communicating and reflecting with the other learners will broaden your view on your career and help you gain and evaluate new ideas.

I want to get a head start before the course begins. What would you suggest I do to prepare?

Take a couple of hours to analytically write down what your career is all about. What are your key competences? How can you make the best use of them? What values, interests and future objectives drive and define your career? We will be asking such questions in the MOOC, but answering them thoroughly may take a while, so better start early.


Are you fit for the German job market? Take our “Employability Skills” MOOC and turn your next job opportunity into a career success! In this course you will learn to develop individual career identities and strategies as well as job application skills and workplace competencies. Enrol today and find out how to get your foot in the door!

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Are you nearing the end of your studies? Then now is the time to start preparing for the job application process. Thorough research and preparation are key elements for your way to career success. Lay the groundwork now so you can send out compelling job applications that will convince any company that you are the right candidate for the job.


1. Do Your Research

Starting early and conducting regular research is the best way to figure out what kind of jobs you may want to apply for. A job that excites your classmate might not interest you at all. What field do you want to work in? What companies do you know in this field? What other companies exist? And do they offer a job you could see yourself in? Unfortunately, there is no easy solution. It takes time and effort to find the right kind of job and a bit of luck to find it at the right time. So remember: You cannot start researching job opportunities too early!

2. Update Your CV

You finally found a job you like and now you are starting to prepare your job application. Right? Wrong! In the time it takes you to prepare your documents, all applicants who previously prepared theirs will already have an advantage over you. Do you really want to get in line behind them? Regularly update your CV and make sure you have a finished version before you even start looking for a job. This way, once you see a job you like, you only need to add some finishing touches before sending out your CV – and you will be one of the first applicants.

3. Prepare Your Cover Letter

The same holds true for cover letters. While sending out a generic cover letter for all kinds of jobs is not a good idea, you can definitely prepare a general structure. This cover letter can then be individualised by changing it slightly and stressing the skills that are important for each job. If you apply in different fields, you can even prepare different versions that emphasize your qualities in each field. Once you see a job you like, adjustments will be fast and simple.

4. Update Your Social Media Profiles

Your party pictures may be a hit among your friends, but do you think your future employer will think the same? Clean up your social media profiles and fast. That doesn’t mean you have to delete everything. Many platforms offer different privacy settings that still allow you to share certain content only with your friends. In general, you may want to think about who you represent on social media. Companies increasingly use social media in the hiring process and go through applicant profiles. This can be a chance for your to shine. Make sure to restrict the access to your personal profiles and that your LinkedIn or Xing profile is up-to-date. And don’t forget to add your iversity certificates! Additional qualifications like this can help you stand out.

5. Prepare A Work Sample

During the application process, some companies may ask you for a sample of your work. For example, companies may ask for a short text to test your writing skills or other work samples related to the job. Research your field and find out what kind of material companies may ask for. It’s best to already prepare a general work sample or two that you can send in immediately, should companies request it. This way you can make sure you have enough time to prepare an excellent work sample that will prove to the company that you are the best person for the job.

Do you want more tips about the job application process? Then enrol now in our “Employability Skills” MOOC. In this course, which focuses on the German job market, you will learn in detail about all the right steps to take before graduating.

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