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  • feedwordpress 18:00:52 on 2019/11/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , Telephone   

    Telephone Screening and Etiquette Skills for Administrative Assistants 

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    Top-notch telephone screening and etiquette skills are paramount regardless of industry, company size, or geographic location. Their importance hasn’t diminished in our modern world of text messages, e-mails, and online chats. What exactly am I talking about? Necessary telephone skills for assistants include how to answer the phone, take accurate messages, carefully screen calls, protect corporate and personal information, seamlessly transfer callers, use a polite and proper tone of voice, and know-how to tactfully handle difficult callers.


    Every time you answer the phone, you are accepting responsibility for the relevant interests of others. You are entrusted by them to use good judgment when responding to the caller’s requests for information. As a telephone gatekeeper, you are a keeper of information. It is a role of extremely high importance and one that absolutely cannot be taken lightly. As you grow and your role evolves over time, the telephone skills you develop will become increasingly vital. A gatekeeper has an incredibly high level of responsibility to ensure that they:


    1. Gather accurate information from the caller
    2. Clearly understand the nature of the call
    3. Recognize when a call is truly urgent
    4. Build a rapport and goodwill with the caller
    5. Use good judgment in determining what and how much information should be divulged to the caller
    6. Use tact and professionalism in all dealings


    At Office Dynamics, we believe this is one area where you should never stop improving. Your telephone skills have the power to either create and build or diminish and destroy valuable relationships. They can show you represent your leader with intelligence, professionalism, and courtesy. You must protect the personal privacy, security, and safety of others. There is a fine line between building rapport with the caller and guarding employee and company information.


    Every stellar assistant must learn to be an excellent gatekeeper for their executive and company. Accurate and efficient screening will benefit your managers, co-workers, and their families. Joan’s revolutionary new eBook, The Gatekeeper’s Guide: How to Effectively Screen Calls, will get you where you need to be. Click here to get your copy!

    The post Telephone Screening and Etiquette Skills for Administrative Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 16:39:13 on 2019/11/07 Permalink

    Does Word Order Matter? Think “Short to Long” 

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    grammar_tipsWhen polishing your sentences, pay attention to the nuances of word order. To my eye (and ear), placing “short” before “long” works best. This applies to both sentences and lists.

    Here’s a simple example: “He was well respected and loved in the academic community.” I changed it to: “He was loved and well respected in the academic community.”

    Because “loved” is 5 letters and “well respected” is 13, it makes for a smoother read if the longer phrase follows the shorter word. See if you agree.

    Another example: “Good leaders don’t waste time, effort, financial resources, or opportunities.” This becomes: “Good leaders don’t waste time, effort, opportunities, or financial resources.” The shift creates a tidy parade of words from short to long. Easier to follow!

    Pay Attention to Lists, Too

    In addition, a list is visually easier to follow when the line length goes from short to long. This example comes from a leadership newsletter:

    It would be counterproductive if you:

    • Take the time to plan your day, but you don’t follow the plan.
    • Hire people to do a job but don’t take the time training them to do that job.
    • Have slow-moving products in your inventory that generate low margins.
    • Conduct an employee engagement survey and do nothing with the results.
    • Attend a trade show to network with customers but spend your time on the phone.

    Key message: Better writing means paying attention to the best use of word order!

    For even more tips, go to http://barbaramcnichol.com/2016/03/06/5-writing-tips-to-improve-your-readability/

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent resources in your inbox, including a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    You can also pick up a copy of my Word Trippers eBook or my 18 Days to Become a Better Writer eBook

    The post Does Word Order Matter? Think “Short to Long” appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 17:30:40 on 2019/11/04 Permalink
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    Administrative Assistants Broaden Your Skillset 

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    administrative_skill_setsAt our recent Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, I surveyed 350 attendees about the topics they would like me to address at future conferences or training events. I wanted to know the areas the assistants were interested in growing and learning about.


    We had each attendee write their idea or ideas on an index card; we collected the cards; and I read every single card, some of which had more than one topic listed. From the index cards, I created a chart.


    What surprised me after looking at the list was that many of the requests had to do with the typical administrative skills or tasks such as: managing multiple managers, dealing with difficult people, managing stress, calendar management, and troubleshooting. I hardly saw requests for advanced competencies or areas of interest.


    As we get to the end of this year and are on the cusp of a new decade, I want you to seriously give thought to your career. Make some time for you! Assistants are great at taking care of everyone else and not making time for themselves. While this is admirable, it’s not cool! If you want to be viewed as a strategic partner and considered an extension of the management team, you need to make time to look at your own development.


    Here is my advice in step order.


    1. Over the next few months, make time to consider where you need to grow in 2020. Break it into two main areas:
      1. Soft skills
      2. Hard skills (be specific)


    When it comes to figuring out your soft skills, enlarge your vision; don’t just look at the tasks such as meeting planning or calendaring. For example, what are the skills you need to be excellent at meeting planning?

    • Excellent communication skills
    • See the big picture
    • Attention to detail
    • Analytical skills
    • Critical thinking
    • Persuasion
    • Problem solving
    • The ability to execute

    These will give you a clue as to the skills you need to develop.


    1. What is your learning preference? Do you prefer live classes or online? Think about how you learn BEST not necessarily what is easy and convenient. I surveyed our administrative conference attendees about their preference, and I was pleasantly surprised to see live classroom training still far outweighed live webinar, online courses, and blogs/articles. Personally, I prefer live classes or conferences over online.


    1. Take into consideration your budget. However, there are exceptions. Your organization may not have a budget for your training but that does not mean you can’t take training. Learn to invest in yourself. It is the best investment you will ever make.


    1. Research learning opportunities. When I started Office Dynamics 30 years ago, there was not one training company solely devoted to administrative and secretarial training. Today, there are hundreds of options for assistants to learn and grow.


    At Office Dynamics, we offer A – Z when it comes to programs, courses, materials, and events. We have learning tools that accommodate every budget. Find what is right for you.


    Word of Caution: While there are hundreds of choices for administrative assistants today, do your homework. Everyone out there does not know what to teach assistants. Some have never even been an assistant. Be a good researcher and get accurate information. Also, ask for referrals.


    1. Write a plan. This is the hard part and most people (of all walks of life) don’t want to take the time to write a plan. Yes, this is the most difficult part. However, once your plan is in place, it is easy. You can break down your plan to quarterly or monthly if that makes it easier.


    1. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will tell you what you need to hear and nudge you when you get complacent.


    1. Execute! Don’t make excuses. We all are busy and can easily say, “I’m too busy. I don’t have time for this.” Or a popular one for assistants is, “I can’t leave my desk. My executive just won’t function without me.” Believe me, they will be fine, and, in fact, they will appreciate you even more.


    Make a commitment now to yourself. You deserve it!


    Joan Burge


    P.S. Some of the requests I saw from the survey that I liked were career pathing, diversity/inclusion, garnering respect, A. I., leading admin groups, and marketing yourself.

    The post Administrative Assistants Broaden Your Skillset appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 15:43:22 on 2019/10/31 Permalink

    2019 Joan Burge Innovation Award for Assistants 

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    I know assistants are always coming up with great ideas, creating new systems or templates, or taking the lead. Oftentimes assistants do not have the opportunity to showcase their talents or what they have created, nor do they always get recognized for their work. As trailblazers in the administrative training industry, Office Dynamics wanted to celebrate outstanding ideas birthed by administrative and executive assistants.

    Therefore, I created the Joan Burge Innovation Award in 2019. This Award was presented to the winner at the Office Dynamics 26th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence. It was very exciting for me to present the first award to Kristie Webber for software designed exclusively for executives and their executive assistants. It is called Emmre. Here is Kristie’s story.


    “My executive, Don Harms, tried multiple different task management tools but found that none were designed for the unique relationship between an executive and executive assistant. So he decided to create his own tool. Together, we’ve been refining the software and using it in our daily work as CEO and EA.

    I’ve provided significant input that has greatly shaped the product—many of the changes we’ve implemented have been based on my feedback. It’s the most valuable tool in our working relationship and has enabled us to be significantly more effective and productive.”

    You might want to participate in their Beta version at www.emmre.com.

    Other ideas presented included:


    An executive’s travel binder. Sandra Fette showed us the value of assembling a very detailed travel binder that included all types of important information such as when deposits were given for hotels, a place to hold business cards that the traveler receives, a pocket holder for expenses receipts, important information about meetings and much more.

    Completely transforming a cumbersome administrative procedures binder that was hundreds of pages. Paula Thibodeau did a fabulous job with streamlining this information, adding visuals to go with the procedure, and screenshots. This increased the speed and efficiency of transferring knowledge and ensures a successful transition as well as getting new assistants up to speed quickly.


    Creation of an assistant outlook account. Tina Bradley decided to have assistant accounts set up for 15 administrative assistants on her team, who support 40 administrators. Assistants have full access to each other’s assistant account. Because of this, any assistant can help with meeting changes requested by their administrators.

    Heather Dovholuk had been put in charge of their organization’s Innovation Fair. Heather came up with an idea on how attendees could enter a raffle electronically and also vote on booths at the fair to award-trophy prizes. Heather’s idea eliminated the use of paper tickets and manual counting. With the reporting function of the survey platform, Heather could easily determine the booth winners.

    I am always impressed with the creativity of assistants. I’d like to challenge you to bring your ideas forward to your organization! And if you attend our 2020 Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, please submit your innovative idea. You just might be the recipient of the 2020 Joan Burge Innovation Award!

    The post 2019 Joan Burge Innovation Award for Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 16:30:03 on 2019/10/02 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    Business Travel Planning for Executive and Administrative Assistants 

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    With more and more companies expanding the reach of their market across the country and even the globe, the role of the business travel planner has become increasingly important. Assistants who need to plan fast-paced and “not a moment to spare” meeting agendas and travel itineraries for their traveling executives know that getting it right is a difficult feat. Novice and senior assistants alike struggle with the task of travel planning for busy leaders. It’s a universal hurdle to star achievement!

    The first thing you need to do as an assistant is to become educated about what business travel really is so that you can develop empathy for your executive. For many business owners and team leaders, business travel is stressful, draining, and dreaded. Jet lag, back-to-back meetings, and little recovery time reveal the reality of the weary business traveler. Traveling for work demands that your leader be sharp when it counts. Sometimes that’s a very tall order. Constant business travel is, quite often, very taxing on a person. Business trips are typically high-pressure, high-stakes events. If they weren’t, your leader probably wouldn’t need to fly across the country. Developing a keen understanding of what life on the road is really like, even if you don’t travel much yourself, is an incredibly important skill to master in order to effectively plan your leader’s business trips.

    Once you understand their plight, how do master business travel planning? As usual, the answer lies within you. You must understand that travel planning is a cognitive task. Travel websites may be able to produce refined lists from an immense amount of data, but they simply cannot consider every single vital element that you, a human being, can. You know your leader. You understand what they need. You can appreciate what they’re up against. Use that know-how when you plan their travel and allow that understanding to work for you.

    Because I know exceptional travel planning for business leaders is an incredibly important task, I’ve created an in-depth guide to help you master the skill. Mastering Business Travel Planning: A Vital Resource for Assistants eBook represents the culmination of my decades of experience in both planning business trips and traveling extensively myself. Ready to become a travel planning pro? Click here learn more!


    The post Business Travel Planning for Executive and Administrative Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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