Professional Skills for Secretaries and Office Administrators

The busy Office Professional has many balls to juggle and this demands that s/he develops a multiple skills set.

Trust and confidence of not only the manager but also colleagues and when providing quality customer service in order to gain and maintain clients. Establishing and maintaining effective business relationships, projecting a positive image and attitude, understanding your role in the organisation, being pro-active, accountable, reliable, accurate, consistent, dependable, being a professional communicator and keeping information confidential. The list is daunting!


Building rapport is a great starting point. Use the following suggestions to start you off on a positive path to success and build professional skills for secretaries and office administrators. People will want to work with and will enjoy working with someone with these characteristics:

  • Find common ground – Find something you have in common. Use open-ended questions to discover personal information about the person. It is important to be sincere.
  • Focus on your appearance – Your appearance should help you connect with people. Don’t let your appearance become a barrier to creating rapport with others.
  • Be empathetic – Understand other people by seeing things from their perspective. Develop your emotional intelligence so that you are in a position to understand others better.
  • Use mirroring – This is adjusting your spoken language and body language to reflect that of the person you are talking to. Be subtle (understated) as being too obvious will work against building rapport. Don’t match every word and gesture. Mirroring is a difficult skill to perfect.
  • Don’t forget about the basics
    It is hard to build rapport without these basics of good communication:
    – Maintain a good posture
    – Make and keep eye contact
    – Shake hands firmly
    – Smile
    – Be sincere
    – Face the other person instead of looking at your computer or any other device.
  • Apply effective communication – Use clear, concise communication to create understanding. Pass on information as it was received – do not distort it. Be a mature communicator – check for understanding, be polite, never use foul or abusive language, resolve conflict (do not argue), do not participate in gossip, be honest and sincere.
  • Use the correct channel of communication – Written communication is more reliable than verbal communication. Ensure correct tone, style and font is used in written communication.

“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.” – Tony Robbins

  • Have a professional approach – Follow organisational policies and procedures. Be disciplined in your approach to all work. Be more concerned with your work than with the work of others. Don’t interfere in other people’s work. Be accountable. Have a positive attitude. Remember your attitude:
    – Influences your behaviour
    – Determines your level of job satisfaction
    – Affects everyone you come into contact with
    – Is reflected in your body language
    – Is controlled only by YOU!
  • Be prepared for meetings – People appreciate people who are prepared. Work through the agenda prior to a meeting. Read the minutes of the previous meeting before going to a meeting. Use a laptop and notepad for minute taking in the meeting.
  • Appreciate, support and co-operate with others – People need to be valued within a relationship. Greet the people you work with. Ensure that you compliment or thank people when they have assisted you – show your appreciation. Give assistance and extend yourself to others when it is needed. Demonstrate that you can be relied on.
  • Share knowledge – Don’t keep information that will be helpful to others to yourself. Share what you learn. Keep colleagues and customers abreast of changes.

Kwelanga Training has offices based in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth presenting public training courses at corporate venues in:

  • Johannesburg – Southern Sun Hotel, Katherine Street, Sandton
  • Pretoria – Southern Sun Hotel, Arcadia, Pretoria
  • Cape Town: Southern Sun Hotel, Newlands
  • Durban: Hilton Hotel, North Beach
  • Port Elizabeth: Cherry Place, Walmer

On-site training can be presented at any location in Southern Africa, our facilitators will train at your premises

For further information contact:
Julie Shoobridge
Tel: +27 11 704 0720


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