Skill Level Intermediate
- Have you ever heard of glossophobia? Although you may not know what this term means, you have probably experienced it before. Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Countless numbers of people have felt the symptoms associated with this common fear. As administrative support professionals, we can be called upon at any given time to present information and/or speak on behalf of the executive that we support. We have to be able to present a topic with confidence, clarity, and enthusiasm.
If this is not something you do in your current assignment, it may be an area that would be required in a higher level position. If you have any aspirations of serving in a role with additional leadership responsibility, this will be a likely requirement of your new position. As someone who needs to present and speak before audiences on a regular basis, I use a number of techniques to make my presentations flow seamlessly and project myself in a positive light.
Here are a few of my top tips. First, you should take advantage of opportunities to present on a regular basis. The more you speak before others, the more comfortable you become. When I think back to how I presented years ago and where I am today, I have come a long way. I suffered from extreme nervousness, dry mouth, and trembling hands. Today, I find myself seeking out assignments for public speaking and looking forward to the opportunities to do it.
I'm excited to share information before audiences and I don't suffer physically as I used to. Next, I ensure that I am comfortable and knowledgeable about the information I am presenting. I am usually speaking on topics that I am passionate about and have firsthand experience with. This makes it much easier, because I can project my enthusiasm and knowledge simultaneously. If I were to make a mistake or forget something, I could quickly get back on track, because the information is second nature to me.
In the event when I am called to present on a topic that I'm not familiar with, I spend a great deal of time before I speak preparing so that I am comfortable and well-versed in the material. Those instances require practice, practice, and more practice. Another way to ensure a strong presentation is to take a presentation techniques class or training workshop, preferably one that records you and allows for analysis of your skills.
You can do so either in the classroom with organizations such as Dale Carnegie Training or virtually on platforms such as this one. I did this very early on in my career and it was extremely helpful. I received invaluable feedback in the class. This training also helped me to begin to get comfortable in front of the camera, which has been very helpful, even up to today. Lastly, I have made it a point to study some of the great speakers of our time.
I have watched countless videos and recordings of famous and everyday people who speak publicly. I watch how they make eye contact, interact with the audience, the organization of their material, and use of their body language. More than likely, as you move throughout your career as an administrative support professional, you will be called upon to present information before an audience. This is a proposition that may make you anxious, but can also be something extremely helpful to you personally and professionally.
Why not be ready when the opportunity presents itself? Or, better yet, why not create the opportunity for yourself? You will grow and excel in ways you hadn't anticipated.