12 Aug Grow as a professional…present at a conference!
I finally did it. This past March, I presented at a national conference. Never have I been so stressed. Never have I felt this nervous but never have I felt more proud than after this experience. If you want to grow your abilities, you must go through this rite of passage. Whether it be at the campus level, state level, regional level or national level, if you challenge yourself and take a step outside of your comfort zone, it will be one the most rewarding experiences in your career. Start slow and dip your toe in the water. Offer to present in front of your co-workers at a staff meeting. Then expand your horizons and present to other areas on campus, whether that be Bursars, Student Accounts, Registrars, Admissions, etc. Now that you feel comfortable on campus, it is time to submit a proposal to CAFAA to present at the annual conference.
We are a smaller state in membership so maybe twenty-five people are anxiously waiting to hear what you have to offer during the 50 minutes. “Do I have enough slides to last this long? What if I become parched?” If you still are quite nervous, recruit a colleague from another institution to co-present. You then only have to speak for half the time.J
Now that you have acquainted yourself with becoming a PowerPoint master or a Prezi guru you are ready to take it to the next level. RMASFAA hears of your prowess and seeks your talents or you take the initiative and submit yet another proposal to present at a regional conference. Now the conference attendees have grown from around 150 to over 300, 40 of which are sitting in front of you as the session is about to begin. You approach your director before the conference and ask for the cool wireless USB dongle “thingy” (technical term) to step you through your slides because you now like to roam around the room as if you are a lawyer in a courtroom.
Your presentation is found not guilty of any objections but you are found guilty…of being a good presenter. You now are in an elite circle; a network of other presenters across the state and region with whom you have become more than just mere acquaintances, but now trusted colleagues. You will grow and you will benefit from presenting in more ways than one.
2015 CAFAA Past-Treasurer
Assistant Director Operations
Office of Financial Aid
University of Colorado Boulder