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  • feedwordpress 16:30:00 on 2019/12/11 Permalink

    Assistants – Fully Utilize Your Talents—Optimization 

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    Optimization is like administrative skills and attitudes on steroids (in a good way!). Optimization means to enhance the effectiveness of something; to make something function at its best. When I read the definition of optimization, I immediately think of two things:

    1. Part of my “job” is being brought into companies by senior leaders to help make their administrative partners function at their best. I have all the tools and answers to help administrative professionals be successful. Whether or not they choose to listen to me, take my advice, trust me and are willing to adopt new behaviors is another story. I can’t make anyone change anything, as is true for me. I attend educational events, read and am exposed to a variety of talented, smart subject matter experts but it is up to me to make changes.
    2. Part of my “job” is to work with already-successful executives and their executive assistants to enhance their effectiveness. I go to the client’s facility and work with the leader and assistant one-on-one. I watch everything they do, listen to what they say, learn their processes, absorb their environment and dynamics and, basically, get inside their heads. When I do this kind of work, I can best help that team.

    What does this mean to you?

    You need to embrace the idea of ‘optimization’ to be successful in the future and to illuminate your career. I’m certain you already are a star performer. The idea is . . .

    • are you moving yourself to your very best potential?
    • are you fully engaged?
    • do you push through difficult tasks and assignments that you normally don’t like?
    • have you taken classes this year that advance your skills?

    Yes, we all need a nudge sometimes. We need an outsider to tell us, “Stop being lazy and get on with it! You know what you need to do; you are just taking the easy way out.”

    I know far too many assistants who have been in the administrative profession for 20+ years and have hardly changed. If this is you, it’s time to wake up! You are not being all you are capable of being. We are all here to become better . . . to contribute to the greater good . . . we are not designed to be stagnant, vanilla, boring or lazy.

    For those new to the profession . . . great! You are young enough or novice enough to establish ‘success’ behaviors. You are like the seed of a tree that is newly planted. How you grow . . . how tall you grow . . . how strong you grow . . . is up to you. Make sure you stay away from bad soil. Don’t be influenced by people who might be negative about the administrative profession.

    When you fully utilize all your talents and capacities, your leader will function at her best because she will be able to focus on the work she does that brings value to the company and impacts the bottom line. And one of the greatest gifts to yourself is that you will be a more joyous and fulfilled individual which will spread to other aspects of your life.


    Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. – Malcolm X

    What will the future look like for the administrative professional? How will their titles be impacted? What skills will assistants need to thrive? How will administrative roles change? How will assistants support leaders whose roles are changing every day? Should assistants enlist career coaches? How should assistants market their diverse skills? How can administrative assistants help move their profession forward in their organization?

    You will find answers to questions like these at the 2020 Conference For Administrative Excellence.

    The post Assistants – Fully Utilize Your Talents—Optimization appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 16:45:50 on 2019/12/04 Permalink

    7 Tips to Managing Holiday and Work Stress 

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    If you are like me, you are getting caught up in the holiday season plus a long list of To-Do items at work and home. I imagine you are starting to feel a little stressed and you are racing against the clock—December 25.

    Here are my tips:

    1. Breathe! Seriously. Stop whatever you are doing and take a few deep breaths. You can use this tip anytime you feel your mind or body racing.
    2. Make two lists. Entitle one of them “Personal” and the other list “Professional.” Do a mind dump. This is when you jot down everything you are thinking about that has to get done. Do not analyze or question it, just dump everything from your brain. (I love doing mind dumps.)
    3. Next, go through each list and mark every item either M (must do) or N (nice to do).
    4. Go back through the items you marked with M and categorize them as A, B, or C. Be sure to break each category down to A1, A2, A3, etc.
    5. Then start taking action on your A items. Do not do a B or C even though they might be more fun or take less time. Stay focused on the A items until they are done. As new tasks come in, sort them into M or N and prioritize.
    6. Schedule you time. This is non-negotiable in my mind. You must make time for yourself or you will crash and burn. Then you will be no good to anyone. So, if you really care about your family and leader, take care of YOU! During the holiday season, you should take at least one hour per week for yourself (if not more).
    7. Enjoy family and friends. We get so caught up in schedules, running errands, shopping, or the “must-do” at family gatherings that we don’t really enjoy them. As you gather with your family or friends, detach from your devices and be in the moment.

    I also did a Facebook Live video on this topic if you’d like to watch it.

    Wishing you a happy holiday 2019 season!

    Joan Burge

    The post 7 Tips to Managing Holiday and Work Stress appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 00:25:30 on 2019/12/03 Permalink

    Hired as C Suite EA and role description reads like an Office Assistant – Ask an Admin 

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    Heather Asks:

    Background: The majority of my career has been as an EA to a VP of Operations for a local Fortune 500 company. They “restructured” leaving my team with a job almost 2 yrs ago. I was lucky enough (or so I was lead to believe) that the role I was hired for almost 2 yrs ago was for a fast-growing local company that within the next 3-5 yrs will have a complete C Suite overhaul of new leaders due to retirements.

    The c suite leader who hired me and I report to, I don’t do ANY work for. They hired a new VP to take the current CEO’s job in about 2 yrs. I do very minimal tasks for him as well and my role description consists of miscellaneous things from issuing credit cards for anyone to issuing cell phones to anyone to ordering catering for anyone in the building to filling the frig in the boardroom when it gets low. You get the point.

    I’ve tried to talk to my leader but he isn’t interested at all and pushed it off as “it should I just remain with you since it always has been part of that role for the 60 yrs we’ve been in business”. The only c suite leader who understands the value an EA can bring is the new VP who is taking over for the CEO but he runs SO thin right now all he’s doing is putting out issues left and right and traveling constantly so I’m told by my leader that he “doesn’t have compacity for another associate” but yet I see him mentoring other front -line associates since I do sit right outside his office.

    I don’t trust any of the leaders here, including the VP of HR since she “drinks the Kool-aid too” since she’s been here so long.

    I don’t know where to turn to influence them to revamp my role to more closely align with my skills, talents, and experience while also convincing them that most of my current tasks belong with an office assistant or office manager type role.


    Please comment below.

    Ask an Admin was created by Office Dynamics to help administrative professionals with their problems through the help of their peers. We don’t always have an answer to each individual’s problem but we know some of you might.

    If you’d like to learn more about Ask an Admin or submit a question, you may do so here.

    The post Hired as C Suite EA and role description reads like an Office Assistant – Ask an Admin appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 17:00:00 on 2019/11/25 Permalink

    Your Personal and Professional Brand Matters 

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    Successful businesses around the world spend enormous amounts of time and money developing a brand that sets them apart and tells their story. Their marketing departments consider every little detail, from logos to font style, from signature colors to tone of communication. Employees forget that developing a personal brand is just as vital for them and requires just as much thought and consideration. So, what exactly is a personal brand? Your personal brand consists of how you present yourself, how you behave, how you treat others, and how you communicate.

    Don’t let the industry buzz distract you from what really matters. This likely isn’t the first blog you’ve read about developing a personal brand. In our brand-new eBook, Reputation Matters: Creating and Promoting Your Brand, we cover every nuance of developing a stellar personal brand. We start with the outside and work our way in. We believe your personal brand is about so much more than your look. While your outward presentation is, of course, part of the puzzle, the way you act is just as important.

    In fact, did you know what you do and the way you behave can speak more about you than any words you say? Every day with your actions and body language, you say something about yourself. It’s all part of your professional image. Make sure you remain cohesive in your personal brand. Don’t miss the mark and be well-dressed and well-spoken but lack all the elements you need to have a top-notch brand. Make sure you:

    1. Are always punctual for work and work events. Being on time shows you are reliable.
    2. Are organized. Having a desk and drawers overflowing with loose papers and envelopes sends the wrong message to everyone around you. Keep your workspace neat!
    3. Pay attention to detail. The little things really do matter. Leaders notice when you consistently forget to ensure the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed.
    4. Are an engaged listener. Give people the time and respect they deserve both in one-on-one conversations and meetings. Put your phone down. Look them in the eye and take in what they are saying.
    5. Turn in top quality work products. Take pride in what you do. Make sure the work you turn in represents who you are and the passion you have.

    Ready to start building your personal brand? Click here to start investing in yourself and creating a brand that will make an impact!


    Building a successful personal brand that attracts and impresses requires more than you’d think. Don’t worry! Joan has you covered.

    The post Your Personal and Professional Brand Matters appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 21:14:43 on 2019/11/19 Permalink

    SURROUND yourself with a team of experts to make you and your organization SHINE! 

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     A meeting planner by MY definition is the go-to person within an organization – be it corporate, association or otherwise – charged with the responsibility of planning and executing a meeting or special event. 

    Not all people who plan meetings are “meeting planners,” nor do all meeting planners start out their careers as meeting planners. I for one started out on a clerical/administrative career path with absolutely no knowledge at the time that a career in meeting planning even existed (and at the time it probably didn’t). Truth be told, I had no intention when I first returned to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom of working for the rest of my life or until heaven forbid, retirement. But as it turns out, that’s exactly what I did. 

    The first time I became involved in planning meetings was in my role as an office manager/prospect donor researcher in the Grants and Development Office of a state university. Our office reported to a Board of Trustees and was responsible for planning and executing quarterly board meetings and eventually group informational meetings with corporate CEOs to educate them on a major development campaign the university was embarking on. Not only did I set the meetings up, but I also took notes (in shorthand no less), transcribed the notes and prepared final reports for dissemination. Did I think of this as meeting planning? I did not. Did I know the difference between a board room or conference room set and a classroom set? I did not. BUT, I learned and I learned quickly by making some mistakes early on. 

    What I also learned was that I liked what I was doing and that I was good at it – or had the potential to be. I believe meeting planners and administrative professionals possess similar skills/traits that enable them to be good at what they do. They typically are leaders (even though they may not realize this at first). They also tend to be strategic, analytical, solution-oriented and disciplined. They have a logical way of looking at a project and understanding what needs to be done to ensure success, They have an innate ability to see the big picture — to take a look at a project and break it down action item by action item, and create a systematic/timely order for meeting goals. Most importantly, their attention to detail is second to none

    However, planning meetings also requires one to know and understand the hospitality industry and how it works, how to determine which venue and what destinations will work best for the types of meetings you’re asked to plan, the ins and outs of contracts and contract negotiations, budget prep and oh so much more. It’s a full-time job and then some and for the administrative professional who is asked to plan a meeting over and above (or even as part of) their normal day-to-day responsibilities. Maintaining balance and keeping priorities straight can be quite challenging. They need to make sure the administrative needs of the person they support are met, while still making sure the meetings they are charged with, go off without a hitch. This is where the word “team” comes into play. 

    I learned long ago that I could not do it all by myself, that I couldn’t possibly know it all or have enough time or talent to do everything that was requested of me – BUT I did know what I needed to accomplish and who the experts were that could help me get it done and those people became my unofficial “team” of sorts. Here are some of the areas of expertise to consider when putting together your team. 

    Program Content/Agenda 

    Most of the program content for our meetings was developed within the confines of individual business units that had communications, marketing and HR staff responsible for this component of the planning process. These business units had many different reasons for conducting meetings. They conveyed their needs to me; I found them the venues/destination that would best help them accomplish their goals and objectives. Oftentimes, I found myself working in tandem with a business unit’s admin to pull a project together. If/when there was resistance to my assistance, I worked hard to let them know that I was there to partner with them to ensure success and not to take anything away from them and/or diminish their role – and it seemed to work just fine. 


    Online Registration 

    I was not tech-savvy but knew I needed an on-line registration system that would provide meeting participants with a means of registering for a meeting while also giving them all the details they needed to make their trip plans. So I found a company that had a registration system already in place that could handle all back-of-the-house technical details which freed me up to create the fields required on the registration form that would allow me to capture the information that was needed to track sleeping room and travel requirements, recreational activity requests, food allergies, etc. I wrote copy for the communication that went along with the registration form so people would know where they needed to be and when, appropriate attire, the type of weather to expect, safety and security issues they needed to be aware of and so forth. 

    Graphic Design

    I needed a graphics design expert to design logos, save-the-date cards, invitations, menu cards, signage, etc. I knew how I wanted something to look: colors; font styles; formal or informal, the layout; but, I needed someone with graphic design expertise to make it come alive. 

    Audio-Visual and IT Support 

    I knew enough about AV equipment and computers to know that I needed both an AV and computer tech on MY team. The last thing you want during a meeting is equipment malfunction. Ugh! And, when you and your team are on-site at a meeting, you want someone that can set up the computers, printers and copy machines to make sure they are running correctly; to troubleshoot when they’re not. If your meeting requires full-scale production, you may also need to add a production company representative to your team. 

    Procurement and Legal

    I looked to our Procurement and Legal staff to review all contracts to make sure I wasn’t missing something that could cause us financial harm. 

    Site Selection

    One of the tasks that I liked best as a meeting planner was the site selection/research process. However, it’s a very timely process and when you’re handling multiple meetings, it’s nearly impossible to keep everything moving if you suddenly have to stop what you’re doing and start looking for space for yet another meeting. This is when what I call a “sourcing” or “third party” comes into play and can become a very important member of your team. I found that if I could give these people the basics of what I was looking for and let them do the initial legwork, I could continue finalizing details on whatever project I was working on while they were putting out requests for proposals with hoteliers and/or other vendors on my behalf. 

    Other good resources to help you with your site selection process that shouldn’t be overlooked would be national hotel sales reps and/or CVBs (convention & visitors bureaus). CVBs know their cities very well and have many contacts within the cities and counties they represent. 

    Safety and Security

    Much too important to be overlooked, it is imperative you include someone on your team with expertise in safety and security and that you have a Medical Risk Management and a Crisis Management Plan in place. 

    DMC (Destination Management Company)

    I looked to DMCs to assist with coordination of airport and other ground transportation needs, off-site event venues, team activities to name a few. I found them to be valuable assets not only because of their knowledge and well-established relationships with suppliers but their buying power as well. I would maybe work with suppliers in any given city once or twice, while a DMC worked with these same suppliers many times over. 

    I think you get the idea. Planning meetings is very involved. Becoming proficient at it takes time. It takes patience, and it takes practice. It also takes making mistakes along the way which ultimately you will learn from and become better and quicker at resolving. There are numerous components/moving parts to the process and a proper sequence for completing tasks to ensure that a meeting or event is executed successfully. Everyone on your team, whether they are employees of the company you work for or external vendors and consultants has an important role to play utilizing their special areas of expertise to ensure the success of your meetings to make you and your organization SHINE. With your leadership and the partnerships you create, you can make this happen. 

    Prepared by Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author, The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings| November 2019 

    Get Your Copy Today!

    The post SURROUND yourself with a team of experts to make you and your organization SHINE! appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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