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  • feedwordpress 16:15:44 on 2019/04/18 Permalink
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    Calendar Management for Executive Assistants 

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    Meetings, meeting, and more meetings! In spite of all the technology, meetings have not gone away. Whether your executive is holding a virtual meeting or attending a virtual or live meeting, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you are properly scheduling meetings and making your executive’s life easier.

    As an assistant of 20 years, I had one perspective of meeting management. But now that I am the executive involved in numerous meetings, I can tell you what really is important. You must keep these things in mind when you are managing your executive’s calendar. Calendar management is an important skill. It is more than dropping in appointments on blank dates and times.

    • COGNITIVE task! Meeting planning is a cognitive task. This is something a computer will not do. Just because a date is open, it does not mean it is available. You must think about your manager’s workload, other commitments, travel, upcoming meetings, past meetings, previous week’s schedule. You must think about the time commitment related to each meeting. Some meetings don’t take long to prepare for while other meetings take a great deal of preparation. You must also think consider whether travel was involved—whether local travel or getting on an airplane. You would consider jet lag; personal appointments; time to prepare; time to wrap up a meeting; logistics; travel time. This is not a job for a robot! This takes brains, strategy, and empathy.
    • When scheduling travel or appointments, VIEW the calendar in terms of:
    • What was my leader’s schedule like last week? Did he/she travel?
    • This week’s schedule
      • How many meetings?
      • Who are the meetings with?
      • Virtual or in person?
      • Time consumed in last-minute preparation for the meeting?
      • Travel?
    • Next two weeks’ schedule
      • Travel? If so, how many days? Arriving home late? Jet lag?
      • In office—how much free time is available? What about time for my leader to work on:
        • projects
        • return phone calls
        • respond to e-mails
        • delegate
        • work on presentation?
      • Level of meetings: high-level meeting with high-level prep; low-level meetings with minor preparation time?
    • ASSESS if the meeting is necessary/essential before booking meeting. Does your executive really need to attend this meeting? Can anyone else on his/her team attend in their place? Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the meeting planner; get details before committing your executive to a meeting. 
    • KNOW your leader’s preferences and occasionally confirm preferences. While there are certain parameters for better meeting scheduling such as:
    • Don’t schedule meetings the first thing Monday mornings
      • Don’t schedule meetings after 2:00 p.m. on Friday
      • Stay away from meeting that will run into lunch hours
      • Leave time at the end of the day for your manager or executive to wrap up unfinished business; prepare for the next day; return phone calls or respond to e-mails . . .

    Every manager and executive has their personal preferences. Some executives will run like crazy going from meeting to meeting, starting early in the day and going late into the evening. Other executives want their executive or administrative assistant to set parameters. I know one executive who has a 90 minute drive into the office and does not want any meetings scheduled before 10:00 a.m. Learn your executive’s preferences and make it work!

    Even if your executive is willing to run from meeting to meeting, he or she will appreciate you leaving them space to work on a presentation or project, allow for quiet time or preparation time, and being able to go through their e-mails.


    Do you find yourself still running in circles around your executives day? Are they ricocheting from meeting to meeting? Are you having a hard time keeping up? Access our online learning video series, Managing Your Executive’s Day and start “wowing” your executive today!

    The post Calendar Management for Executive Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 11:05:22 on 2019/04/18 Permalink
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    9 Ways to Improve Your Organization Skills for Administrative Assistants 

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    Organization skills for administrative assistants are one of the most valuable skills to have as an administrative assistant.

    Without the ability to organize your work and your resources, you could be twisting in the wind in no time. You may have been able to muddle along back in the day, but in today’s competitive environment, you need to work any advantage in your favor.

    Fortunately, there are at least 9 ways to improve your organization skills as an administrative assistant without too much effort on your part.

    Be proactive

    Most people take the work one day at a time, coming in ready to take on whatever happens. However, that means you are reacting to a situation rather than preparing for it in advance. The best way to make the most of your day is to prepare for it in advance. Know what you need to do for the next day and make preparations for them before you leave for the day. This not only takes the guesswork out of your workday, it might even give you some insights or ideas of how to do the work better.

    Make a list

    Part of being proactive is making a list of all the things you need to do for each day. The benefits of this are of course so you don’t forget anything. An added bonus to making a list is crossing it out. It gives you not only a concrete way to keep track of the tasks you need to do, but it motivates you to keep doing it because it gives you such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishing crossing each item on your list. This is putting all your ducks in a row, and you shoot them down one by one, metaphorically speaking.

    Make a schedule

    At the same time you are planning the day and making your list of tasks, you should make a schedule, giving each task a prescribed time to do each one. You can ensure you meet all your deadlines, and nothing is left by the wayside.

    Be an early bird

    You are more likely to get more things done, and in time, if you start early. Of course, this should reflect on the work schedule you make, but getting started early also means there are other things you can do to keep you on your toes, such as daily exercise and a good breakfast. Starting early also means you avoid stress by having plenty of time to get to work and do anything else you need to do.

    Establish a filing system

    Most of your files are probably going to be digital, but you still need to know where everything you need is stored. Looking for lost files will take up as much of your time as looking for misplaced items. You need to make sure all your files are in its proper place. You should also have a master document of all your files, and the location of those files.

    Make the most of your prime time

    Everybody has a certain time of the day when they are most productive. Some work better early in the morning, while others work best in the evening. You should schedule all your most demanding or challenging work during this time. Of course, if your business involves meeting with other people, you need to coordinate your prime time with theirs.

    Minimize interruptions

    You may think it is obvious, but you waste a lot of time dealing with interruptions to your work. This is why it is important to make a schedule. Follow the schedule and avoid distractions as much as possible. Turn off your mobile phone, close the door to your office, and avoid useless meetings. If you travel frequently, you should travel in as comfortable surroundings as you can so you can do work.

    Learn to delegate

    You might think you are saving money by doing everything yourself. The fact is, you can save a considerable amount of time and effort by delegating tasks to the right people and focusing on core activities that will make you money.

    Organize your workplace

    Whether you work alone, or you have employees, you want to arrange your work area so you can be more efficient. You can minimize the time and effort it takes to get things done. Even putting the photocopier next to where you keep your paper supplies can help save a few steps and trips that ultimately increase your productivity, and that of your employees.

    Organizational skills for administrative assistants are crucial to the success of any business. Some people are naturally organized, but even if you aren’t, you can develop them. These 9 ways can help you improve your organization skills in practical and workable ways.

    We want to hear from you, what are your favorite tips for better organization? Share some of your organization skills, tips, and tricks in the comments below.


    Learn more administrative professional skills that will launch you further into career success by attending our World Class Assistant™ course and obtaining the Certified World Class Assistant designation.

    The post 9 Ways to Improve Your Organization Skills for Administrative Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 18:45:45 on 2019/04/16 Permalink

    Celebrate Admin Professionals Month by Resolving to Write “Right” 

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    You want to be successful in your job as an administrative professional, but you feel your writing may not be as good as it should. Take to heart the following five steps and I guarantee a steady improvement!

    1. Find out your organization’s standard style of communication:
      • Is a formal or informal style used—e.g., are contractions such as “it’s” and “can’t” acceptable?
      • In reports and email messages, are bullet points or paragraphs more common?
      • Do you typically communicate with customers in writing, in person, or by phone?
    2. Does your organization have an official style guide? It will tell you:
      • How to use the organization’s name correctly (e.g., Ltd, vs. Limited).
      • How letters and memos should be formatted, including salutations.
      • Which rules of punctuation, as well as graphics (e.g., logos), have been set as standard.
    3. Determine your supervisor’s preferences and expectations in these areas:
      • Prefers detailed explanations or “just the facts” in letters and memos?
      • Wants to be copied on everything or only on certain things?
      • Needs to approve every document or only specific kinds before you send them?
    4. Ask around: Who are the excellent writers in your area? Request examples of their work and ask them for feedback on yours. Be specific—e.g., did the benefits and call to action in your message come across clearly? Was anything important left out?
    5. Refresh your writing skills by consulting reference and business writing books. (Strunk & White’s Elements of Style is a perennial favorite.) Subscribe to an online program such as Word Trippers Tips that features 52 weeks of reminders to select the right word every time, plus easy-to-use reference tools.

    With renewed awareness, regular reminders, and supportive mentors, your writing can become clearer, more concise, more accurate, and more compelling. Celebrate Administrative Professionals Month with a fresh resolve to boost your writing skills in the next 52 weeks.


    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 weekly 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.

    The post Celebrate Admin Professionals Month by Resolving to Write “Right” appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 16:15:34 on 2019/04/10 Permalink
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    Dana’s Administrative Professional Advice – Ask an Admin 

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    From Ernan:

    When we created Ask an Admin we had hopes that we’d get questions from administrative professionals having trouble finding answers to their problems. We also hoped that we’d get answers from administrative assistants and executive assistants that wanted to help. Needless to say, it has gone better than we anticipated! (NICE JOB ALL OF YOU) That is why we decided that we are going to have one of our Guest Bloggers, Dana Buchanan, give her administrative professional advice. Dana is a 20+ year veteran of the administrative field and a good friend to Office Dynamics so we thought this would be a great fit! Enjoy Ask an Admin – Dana’s Thoughts.

    The January 10th Ask an Admin was from Barb about setting goals at work. There were so many great responses and this is always such a hot topic of discussion we wanted to discuss it a bit further!

    Sometimes it is difficult to set specific time-bound goals for administrative professional roles. When setting goals, a typical guideline method is S.M.A.R.T.E.R (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate, Readjust), but this does not always make the process easier. One suggestion is making a spreadsheet with the SMARTER method keywords as tab headers to help set focused goals and prepare for your next evaluation.

    In a previous post about performance evaluations, I shared a few of my ideas for setting goals, general tips and some specific goals. In addition to great webinars, articles, and blog posts one of the best resources is always communicating with one another.

    I want to highlight some of the great answers from our peers that were given as responses to Barb. There were several great tips and suggestions, I wish we had time to dive into them all, but please take a moment and re-read the post to see all of the great responses! I greatly appreciate all those who responded and helped answer Barb’s question.

    Pauline’s response included examples of how she put some of her goals into action and what the outcomes of those forward-thinking goals were. In summary, she aligned her goals to the company’s strategy; setting goals that support and add value to the business and future thinking about how to support the growth of the company. Pauline’s goals directly support the values and goals of the company. She obviously researched the company’s desired future growth and asked management what their goals were, she then proactively created objectives to develop ways to support her team and company. This works because it focuses on facts and outcomes, requires communication, and encourages action outside the typical day-to-day routine.

    Mindy’s response included a great question to ask ourselves. She stated – “I always try to ask myself these proactive questions: What do I want to learn or be included in? What tasks have been on other’s back burner forever; it would be great if we did or had ___ in place? It’s an opportunity for me to take the reins to implement.” We all hear discussion about ‘one day we should…’ or ideas being thrown around in meetings, but never followed up on. With this suggestion from Mindy, these back burner items are now opportunities and even catalysts for goals. I suggest keeping a journal, electronic spreadsheet, worksheet, etc. and write down these suggestions as they pop up, create a SMART goal if possible, and discuss this new opportunity with your manager during your evaluation or take action and turn the ‘one day we should’ into ‘let’s do this now’.

    Maggie, SK, and Jean discussed administrative support team meetings. The meeting topics include: best practices, interacting with other departments, networking, a mentor program for new hires, training, speaker presentations, cross department discussion opportunities, and much more! If your company does not currently have a monthly or quarterly administrative professional meeting opportunity this project is a great goal to set. If you do have meetings set up already, some of the topics Maggie, SK, and Jean discussed could be great additions to add.

    Top response takeaways –

    • Be in tune with your company’s goals and future direction
    • Find opportunity in ‘back burner’ items
    • Don’t be afraid to set action steps and start something new
    • Track opportunity throughout the year and set goals as opportunities arise
    • Ask questions and talk to other administrative professionals
    • Communicate with your manager and/or team about their goal focus
    • Create an opportunity for your team or other professionals to meet or add to the typical agenda. This not only a goal in itself, but also a way to discuss ideas for future goals

    Thank you all for making Ask an Admin so popular and a great platform for discussion! If you have any other specific goal ideas please share them below.

    Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager.

    The post Dana’s Administrative Professional Advice – Ask an Admin appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 18:45:49 on 2019/04/09 Permalink
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    Managing Multiple Managers 

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    Managing multiple managers can be daunting. But that is the norm today. 90% of administrative and executive assistants support more than 1 person. It is a luxury if you only support one executive or manager. I know some administrative assistants who support an entire department of 60. However, they are not providing support every day to each person. Obviously, that is impossible. The tips below are for supporting a group of managers on a regular basis. Being an excellent communicator and being organized are vital skills to managing multiple managers or executives. I hope these tips help you.

    1.   Encourage managers to use uniform procedures. It really helps keep things simpler when everyone uses similar procedures.

    2.   Limit personal tasks for managers. Learn to say “no.”

    3.   Treat each manager fairly and with respect, despite your personal preference. You may not like everyone you support, but you do need to treat each person equally.

    4.   Understand each leader’s unique work style. While you may encourage uniform procedures, do pay attention to the work style that best suits each manager.

    5.   Establish a priority list for all your principal supports to see; update it frequently. Either post this in a common area or distribute it weekly. This allows all the leaders you support to be aware of what and how many project you are involved in, and it helps them understand why their work isn’t turned around in one day.

    6.   Communicate regularly with all your managers. Be sure to inform them of any delays.

    7.   Except for time-critical projects, do the senior manager’s work first.

    8.   If your managers are on the same level, complete the task with the earliest due date first.

    9.   Find out what projects are coming your way so you can plan accordingly.

    10. Ask your managers to give you project materials as sections are ready. This will help avoid any last-minute rush.

    What do you think? Do you have some great tips to share on how to manage multiple managers? 

    The post Managing Multiple Managers appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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