Mastering public speaking as an Assistant

As an Assistant, you are often in meetings where you play a crucial role in supporting your team and keeping things running smoothly. You are also often the first point of contact for those that interact with your organisation – making public speaking a skill necessary to aid in project management, client relations and representing yourself and your organisation well.

Executive Assistants, Personal Assistants and Administrative Professionals need to be confident when speaking publicly, as it allows them to communicate better during meetings or conferences. This article will explore one technique you can master in public speaking while getting comfortable in front of colleagues or on video conferencing calls.

Mastering public speaking as an Assistant with OPRAHS

In a recent interview with Antoinette Dale Henderson, Nicky Christmas asked Antoinette how Assistants can feel more confident when speaking in public. One helpful tool Antoinette shared to help Assistants prepare for meetings is OPRAHS, an acronym that stands for

  • Objective
  • People
  • Role
  • Attitude
  • What am I going to hear?
  • What am I going to say?

Let’s break it down.

Meeting Agenda for Assistants and Executives

1:1 Meeting Template

The template you need to maximise the time spent with your Executive.

100 words to help with minute-taking

100 words for minute-taking

100 descriptive words to incorporate into your minute-taking.


Before the meeting, take a few minutes to clarify your objective. What do you want to achieve in this meeting? What are your personal goals? Having a clear objective will help you stay focused and confident during the meeting.


Consider the people in the meeting and their objectives. What do they need from you? Understanding their perspective will enable you to tailor your communication to their needs and increase your impact.


Think about the role you will play in the meeting. Are you a facilitator, a motivator, a strategist, or a coach? Challenge yourself to bring the most valuable role you can to the table and avoid just being a passive participant.


Check your attitude before the meeting. If you’re feeling nervous or intimidated, consciously shift your mindset to one of competence, positivity, or can-do energy. Your attitude will influence how you come across in the meeting.

What am I going to hear?

Plan ahead what questions you will ask, what you will listen out for, and what you will be curious about during the meeting. Active listening and thoughtful questions will show your engagement and contribute to the discussion.

What am I going to say?

Lastly, think about what you want to say in the meeting. Don’t wait until the meeting starts to plan your responses. Having prepared thoughts and ideas in advance will make you more confident and impactful when you speak.

In addition to the OPRAHS preparation, how you communicate during the meeting is equally important. Pay attention to your posture, sit straight, and open up your chest to project confidence. When you speak, enunciate your words clearly, and avoid using filler phrases like “Does that make sense?” as it can undermine your credibility.

Remember, public speaking is a skill that can be developed with practice. The more you prepare, plan, and practice, the more confident and effective you will become in speaking up in meetings. So, next time you have a meeting, don’t shy away from owning your voice and confidently expressing your opinions.