Ground your feet. Relax your hands into a resting position. Center yourself. Breathe.
I was never someone who struggled with public speaking. I grew up in my local community theatre and immediately loved the stage.
Executive presence and impactful communication, however, requires more than just articulation and rehearsed lines. Delivering a compelling presentation requires a speaker to know how to reinforce her message with her body language, how to use silence to emphasize a point, and how to create a visual for the presentation that adds without ever detracting.
The orientation experience at Maryland Smith gives students the unique opportunity to compete in teams throughout their cohort in an Orientation Competition. Focusing immediately on how to present in a powerful way emphasized the role that speaking and executive presence will play in my time at Smith for the next two years. (My team was even fortunate enough to win!)
Even though my team won the Orientation Case Competition, I know that growing as a speaker is an ongoing process, and there is always room to improve. Fortunately for my cohort and me, Smith offers dedicated resources through its Smith Executive Communication Program. I left my first experience working with Tricia Homer, executive communication coach, with tangible goals for how to improve my executive presence when presenting.
Executive presence is a skill that transcends industry or function. Impactful communication is a necessity regardless of title. I look forward to the ways that the resources available at Smith, both within and beyond the Executive Communication Program, will allow me to develop as a presenter over the next two years.