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  • feedwordpress 20:30:15 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
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    My First Experience at The Conference for Administrative Excellence 


    As Told By Your Office Dynamics Marketing Specialist


    Hello from your Office Dynamics Marketing Specialist! Recently we held our 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence and WOW, it did not disappoint! So much so that I asked Brian and Joan if I could write a blog post about my experience and share some photos from the event.


    Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I am the guy you get all the emails from 😉


    So many of you came up and introduced yourselves and said, “Hey you’re the guy I get all the emails from” I had to slip it into this blog. It was so fun and so awesome to finally get to meet all of you.


    Before I go on, I do need to mention that this was my first conference with Joan and the Office Dynamics team as well as my first time working a conference so I didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you, “Wow” just doesn’t describe the event with justice.



    Tuesday, October 23 – Welcome Reception


    The Conference began with Joan’s traditional Welcome Reception. People from all over the country and all over the world gathered for cocktails, food, networking, and the enjoyment of a Frank Sinatra actor singing to go along with our Star theme.


    I didn’t know what to expect or how many people would show up but when I rounded the corner with my phone on Facebook Live, I was impressed with the HUGE turnout. It seemed everybody had shown up and no one was without conversation. It really was awesome to see.


    I watched friends reunite, assistants from different companies getting to know each other, and a line of people waiting to meet Joan Burge. Well the line for Joan wasn’t that much of a surprise but the atmosphere was electric, and I loved it!


    A great way to start the week and kick off the 25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence.



    Wednesday, October 24 – Speakers, Classes, and Panels


    Wednesday began with Joan’s opening remarks that would eventually lead into the recognition of two Platinum VIPs, Joni Hogue for her 10th conference attendance and Sue Velarde for her 12th.


    After the awards were given out, the attendees were then told about their special “space” theme cards that they received in their welcome packet. Lisa Olsen explained that there were others in the room with the same card and that when she said “go”, everyone would have to get up out of their chair and find their other team members. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next when 327 people got up at once to find their teams. You can find the video of this on our Facebook and YouTube pages. Please enjoy watching it!


    There were several breaks throughout the day that allowed me to meet a lot of you and hear your stories about why you came to the conference. Whether it was your second or third time, or even first.


    It was awesome to hear the reasons why you all chose to come.

    • Googled “Administrative Conferences”
    • Co-workers or colleagues recommend the conference
    • Some attendees told their stories to their managers and were able to get several more team members approval for the conference (so cool)
    • You previously attended
    • Our agenda looked the best when compared to other administrative conferences


    I could go on but there were too many to list them all.


    Later in the day Shasta Nelson would take the stage and cover the topic of, “How to Connect in Meaningful Ways.” Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the entire session as duties called. However, the attendees raved about her.


    When Shasta concluded, we broke for lunch and enjoyed prepped meals provided by Office Dynamics and most took the time to stop into the Success Store to purchase some items. After lunch, the attendees then broke out to different hands-on labs that were taught by Joan Burge, Julie Reed, Brandi Britton, and Johna Little.


    Wednesday ended with Jennifer Lier, accomplished singer, Las Vegas performer, former Miss Nevada winner, and former Miss America contestant. Jennifer told the story of her journey and with each instance, she would sing a song that related to that particular moment in her life. Let me just say this…JENNIFER CAN SING! I was able to attend her entire session and I’m so glad I did, it was very moving and motivating.



    Thursday, October 25 – Speakers, Classes, Panels, and Awards


    Thursday was awesome! By this time, the Office Dynamics team had individually put in 13 – 16 miles of walking each day, making sure that the conference was running smoothly.


    Lisa Olsen, the conference MC, had opened and introduced the panel that would discuss the State of the Profession. Joan Burge, joined by Lisa Olsen, Julie Reed, and Debbie Gross provided amazing insight into the profession, where it is going, and where you, as an assistant, need to be. Amazing questions were asked by a few attendees that were answered by the panel including one heated, yet passionate answer given by Joan.


    Click Here, to watch the State of the Profession.


    This session was followed by the Best Practices Sharing session conducted by Julie Reed, an Office Dynamics Elite Trainer.


    After a break, the attendees once again broke out into concurrent sessions and lunch soon followed.


    The day would end with a wonderful session by Judi Moreo that caused laughter, tears, and a sense of togetherness. You truly had to be there to experience it. Beautifully done.



    Glitz and Glam Gala




    I’ve spent 8 years in the Marine Corps and have been to 7 Marine Corps Balls (the celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday) and I must say I have never been to anything like this!


    Every year Joan makes it a point to put on the best show, experience, and evening she can to allow her attendees to “let their hair down.” This being her 25th, she went all out. Her goal was to make each person feel as if they were the star of the show.


    In the hall outside the Gala was a step and repeat where paparazzi was taking pictures and interviewing attendees. You would also find a famous Mouse walking around greeting people.



    Above the entrance to the Gala, there was a beautiful arch that mimicked the entrance to the Oscars. Tall pillars and a light up sign that said, “25th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence.” A beautiful red carpet led you under the arch and into the Gala.



    “Be Our Guest” was playing as I entered the ballroom where I literally stopped in my tracks. Just inside of the main entrance stood Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and that famous Mouse.


    I walked to my left and was greeted by Princess Leia, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. To the right of the room was Pocahontas, Han Solo, and Peter Pan. In the corner was a real movie set make up studio where attendees could get the star treatment of getting glitzed and glammed! Next to that was a photo booth area with our paparazzi photographer.



    Each table was beautifully covered with black and gold with a gorgeous centerpiece. The main stage was occupied by DJ Rodney and his amazing crew. The stage was decorated with two large pillars and the Oscar standing nearly 10ft tall.


    This night was truly for the Stars!


    During the 3 course dinner, the actors would put on different performances that tied to their characters but what was truly magnificent was when the characters would involve the attendees in the dance skits…and yes, I participated in two. Thanks Melia and Brian! Haha!


    The final skit before the dance floor was open was something out of a James Bond or Mission Impossible scene that involved espionage, dancing, acrobatics, and a performance to remember.


    After dinner, there was dancing, music, and so many memories made.



    I, along with many others, will not forget the night we were all Stars!



    Friday, October 26 – Final Day


    The day began with more prizes given out and a general session by Joan Burge. Followed by the, “What’s Next” session, the final set of concurrent classes, and Joan’s “Closing Thoughts.”


    A somewhat emotional yet invigorating moment for those who attended. Life-altering lessons, stories, and events took place during this amazing week followed by an inspirational message from Joan.


    The perfect way to end a fulfilling week.


    As Brian and I stood outside the doors along with Beth and Melia, I realized in our goodbyes just how amazing this week was for our attendees and for me too.


    In Conclusion


    How do I end a re-cap of one of the coolest events that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of? How about with a quick story that should explain the passion, care, and love the Office Dynamics team has.


    When I met many of you, you asked me how long I’ve been with the company, if I like it, and what brought me to Office Dynamics.


    I’d like to share with those that haven’t heard why I decided Office Dynamics was the perfect home for an aspiring marketer and at the end, I hope it will make sense to you.


    When I had interviewed with Brian and Joan in January, I had two other companies that had made offers to me, but before I would make my decision I wanted to do my due diligence by researching each company.


    The first company, a company that makes computer chips and motherboards, would’ve wanted me to blog about such things and Tweet about them. I’ll be very honest…there is no way I, as a marketer could do that; just not something I could be passionate about.


    The second company, in the service industry, was ok but didn’t excite me either.


    The last company, Office Dynamics International, specializes in the training and education of Administrative and Executive Assistants. Led by Joan Burge, a pioneer and trail-blazing woman that has a commanding presence and passion like no other.


    After I found Joan on YouTube, I started to watch a video from a previous conference and about 45 seconds into the video Joan got fired up and had this amazing intensity you only see in a few speakers. Joan was speaking so direct, so powerful, that I watched in awe and had goosebumps. After watching for about two minutes I sat back in my chair, smiled, and said, “I’m going to work for her.”


    It was approximately three weeks later when I started on February 12.


    Why did I choose Office Dynamics and Joan? Because someone with so much passion for the industry, so much care about the lessons, so much love for the administrative profession along with the people involved in it, is someone I can truly get behind and work with.


    After seeing the dedication from the Office Dynamics team, I can say that everyone has that same passion, care, and love for their work and those involved. Joan, Brian, Melia, and the speakers believe in what they are doing and only want to provide the best for all fans, followers, clients, and companies.


    So, I’m concluding with this…The Conference for Administrative Excellence is the culmination of the efforts of this team and I’m so very proud to be a part of it. The amount of work that this team has put into it has shown me how important that your experience is to them and at our final lunch together as a team on Friday, it showed.


    Sometimes in silence, sometimes in conversation, but always happy with the efforts put into it. Happy with the responses given by the attendees. Happy for our 25th conference.


    I hope those who attended this year’s conference enjoyed it as much as I did, and I truly cannot wait to see you all again next year.



    Your Friendly Neighborhood Marketing Guy (that sends you all those emails),




    Ernan A. Paredes



    The post My First Experience at The Conference for Administrative Excellence appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 17:15:20 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
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    Snuff Out the Burnout 

    If you feel you are on the verge of stressing too much because of your job or even home life, take a step back. You might be burning out. Before it becomes full-blown, take these steps:

    1. Find time to play. Even if it means forcing yourself. People on the verge of burnout usually are spending less time with family and friends. They have trouble getting away from the workplace. If you can’t take a few days off, even just one day, in a relaxing environment with no computers, faxes, e-mails, phone calls or any thoughts of work, can help renew you. Try a technology fast on this day off to get the full benefit of rejuvenation.
    2. Set realistic objectives. If you are feeling snowed under at work, sit down with a boss and prioritize your projects. Categorize them and then attack!
    3. Use your support network. Everyone needs people inside and outside of work to turn to for support, encouragement, and candid feedback. Most important are those folks who laugh with you and are true friends.
    4. Keep your options open within the Company. People who burn out usually feel they do not have a way out of a situation. Update your resume and be prepared to talk about your accomplishments in the past five years and what you can contribute to the organization. Determine areas within the company that you may contribute to.

    Other tidbits:
    * Plan a vacation or quick getaway

    • Sign up for regular, non-work activity during the weeks that makes you leave the office early.
    • Subscribe to publications that have no relationship to your profession.



    The post Snuff Out the Burnout appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:04 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Negativity, ,   

    How to Get Along with Negative People 

    Negative people show up in our professional and personal lives on a regular basis. There never seems to be a shortage of negativity.

    We all know people who are hard to deal with because of their negativity. Some are too demanding or abrasive. Others may be arrogant or emotionally abusive.

    Whatever form their negativity takes, it makes communication stressful, and a wrong approach can make matters even worse.

    Most of the time, we can’t choose whom we do business with. But we can choose how to interact with them. Over my three decades of experience as an executive leadership coach, I have been helping my clients learn how to get along with everyone they encounter, even those who are so negative they’re downright toxic.

    Some of the best ideas to come out of those discussions are listed here. They can help you improve your relationships with the negative people in your life—or at least co-exist with them with less stress and conflict.

    Treat people the way you want to be treated. Regardless of how negative they go, always be kind. Sometimes a relationship with a negative person can be improved with a little bit of kindness. Smile at them or saying hello when you see them. Being friendly isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength and confidence.

    Don’t take it personally. When you encounter negative people, remember not to take their negativity personally. The issue isn’t you; it’s their attitude. If you can stay connected to that truth it will make their negativity easier to handle.

    Don’t get defensive. When dealing with a negative person it’s important to stay calm. Keep your body language and the tone of your voice under control. Think about what you’re going to say and what your goal for the conversation is, and don’t react impulsively if other person offends you.

    Avoid arguments. If possible, don’t disagree with negative people. Find ways to be agreeable or to ignore them. Arguing will only get you emotionally invested in the situation and trigger your fight-or-flight responses, making it harder for you to think clearly and respond appropriately.

    Keep your cool. Stay calm and rational, avoid the temptation to score rhetorical points, and refuse to be drawn into a battle you don’t want to fight. You’re much more likely to reach a satisfactory outcome if you can stay calm, cool and collected.

    Draw attention to the positive. Most people have at least a few redeeming traits, so try to find something good. If there’s something the person does well, concentrate on that. Choose to go positive no matter how negative they are.

    Focus on the issue, not the person. Focus on the problem, the task, the project, the issue that you have to solve or discuss rather than the person you are dealing with. This helps prevent the conversation from escalating into personal attacks and may lead to more positive attitudes all around.

    Lead from within: You always have control. You always have a choice. You can choose to allow negativity to run over you or to learn the best way to handle it.



    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
    The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:


    Photo Credit: iStock Photos

    The post How to Get Along with Negative People appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 17:15:02 on 2018/11/06 Permalink
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    Training For Adults Can Be Fun 


    “Laughter has been shown to increase our pain threshold, reduce blood-sugar levels, boost glucose tolerance and increase blood flow to vital organs.” If that is not enough reason to laugh and play, then how about because it’s fun and relieves stress? I was excited when I came across an article on the internet called Power Play: Getting Into Goofing Off. I loved it and it reminded that as we become adults, we forget or put aside this very important part of life. Sometimes we are so bogged down by work and personal circumstances that we stop laughing.

    Something I see often in my workshops is assistants that are “afraid” to be involved in creative learning exercises and have fun in class. Some attendees think it is “silly” when I instruct them to do certain activities or they have to depict a concept visually. What happens, though, when they get to the other side of that activity, is the participant is more creative; they contribute better ideas and dig deeper for answers. They feel relaxed by the end of the day instead of feeling information overload.

    When I was an executive assistant working at Coppertone in Memphis, TN, my executive was the Vice President of Marketing. He had some very intense presentations that he had to give twice a year to the big guys! My executive, Steve, was in his early 30’s and I was older than him and already 17 years into my executive assistant career. He was a very social person and loved walking around and managing by interacting with his product managers. On the other hand, I was more serious and stayed focused at my desk. He used to drive me crazy when a few weeks before these major presentations, when staff was stressed to the max, he would make us go to lunch! I thought, “Is he crazy? We can’t afford to take 90 minutes out of our day!”

    I now get it. I actually just took my staff for an off-site day of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. The next day we came back to the office refreshed and excited. We buckled down to work and accomplished 50+ little details in 2 days in preparation for our big annual conference which is in September. Plus, we were so relaxed (even me), we spontaneously videotaped my new video series for executive and administrative assistants – 8 short videos! Wow! We were going to do that in late August.

    This week, look for every opportunity to have some play time. What do you enjoy? What makes you laugh? Who do you like to spend free time with? Who makes you laugh? Can you spend time with a child – even if it is a neighbor?

    I hope you enjoy this week!


    The post Training For Adults Can Be Fun appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:40 on 2018/11/06 Permalink
    Tags: , Decision Making, , , , , , ,   

    The Surprising Truth About Leadership 

    There’s a common thread in top leadership that surprises most people—and in some cases makes them rethink what they know about leadership.

    When you think of successful leaders you probably think of people who are decisive. The ability to make a decision quickly and without waffling is one of the keystones of leadership.

    But leaders change their minds every day, even at the risk of being branded indecisive or a waffler. Here’s the difference: They don’t back off a decision just because they have second thoughts. They understand when a change of plan is warranted. And sometimes they take decisive action by reversing their earlier decision.

    Here are some of the top circumstances when the best practice is to reconsider a decision:

    New information emerges. Sometimes new information shows up that changes the context of a decision entirely. It may be something that was impossible to foresee, or it may be something you or your team failed to pick up on. When that happens, don’t think in terms of blame but take the new information and integrate it into the decision-making process. Later you can revisit ways to make sure your research is thorough.

    The situation becomes unpredictable or unstable. In today’s uncertain marketplace and political climate, situations can go from stable to chaotic in the blink of an eye. When that happens, it’s wise to reassess decisions that are influenced by the instability and change position if need be. There’s no virtue in steadfastly sticking to a position when everything around you has changed.

    Feedback suggests it. A bold decision may be theoretically sound, but sometimes in the light of day it turns out to be unworkable in practice. If early feedback suggests that a plan isn’t working—for whatever reason—it’s wise to listen and make changes where necessary. Always listen to those who know best: those who are out in the field every day, whether team members or clients.

    It’s time to wait. Once you’re into the thick of something, the clear choice may be to do nothing at all for now. It’s not a matter of reversing a decision in this case, but of delaying its implementation until conditions improve or the surrounding issues become clearer. Despite the pressure leaders feel to be bold and act decisively, doing nothing is preferable to making a disastrous choice. If waiting can give you an edge, wait.

    Let’s honor those leaders who are forward-thinking enough to correct their course, pivot or wait even though they risk their reputations by having people think they are indecisive. Sometimes you need to change your mind, and that’s OK.

    Lead from within: Successful leaders are able to make shifts in their thinking because they never stop looking for ways to improve the end result.


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
    The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:


    Photo Credit: iStockPhotos

    The post The Surprising Truth About Leadership appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

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