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  • feedwordpress 16:45:43 on 2018/02/23 Permalink
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    When Is The Last Time You Thanked Your Assistant? 

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    When is the last time you thanked your assistant? Expressing your gratitude could increase your productivity.

    I was in California speaking to a group of administrative assistants at a large corporation when one of the assistants told me how much a compliment from her executive means to her. She said, “When my executive tells me I’m doing a great job, I want to do even more for him.” “I want to go the extra mile; produce quality work; take things off my executive’s plate.”

    It may seem like a small thing to you, but it carries a great deal of weight to your assistant. Try to remember to let your administrative or executive assistant know when she or he has done something that is to your liking or meets your expectations. It will go a long way.

    When was the last time you thanked your assistant? We’d like to know in the comments below. 

    What’s stopping you from taking the time to thank your assistant?

    We’ve shared some insights into some of the biggest draw-back in these related articles.

    Are you too busy for the most important partner in your office?

    Executives and Assistants are Struggling Today.

    Not sure how to express your gratitude? 5 Ways to say thank you to your assistant.

    Why do we care if you thank your assistant?

    Fun suggestions on where you can find your assistants strengths to compliment.

    121 Creative Ways To Reward Employees 

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    The post When Is The Last Time You Thanked Your Assistant? appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:33:08 on 2018/02/22 Permalink
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    Lessons from Chance Encounters 

    I had just touched down in Tampa when I glanced at my nails. Peeling, fading polish glared back at me. With back-to-back speaking engagements in the next few days, I knew I needed a manicure.

    A quick check at my hotel revealed the normally ten to fifteen-dollar cosmetic luxury would cost thirty dollars at the pricey hotel beauty shop. Not feeling that extravagant, I walked to the closest mall in search of a nail salon. That’s when I found De-Ja-Vu. They offered basic manicures for twelve dollars. Sold!

    Waiting for a manicurist to free up, I sat next to a woman about thirty years my junior. As women of all ages do, we struck up a conversation. She was from Baltimore; here visiting her boyfriend and interviewing for a job so she could move closer to him. Sensing she had the ear of someone slightly more experienced, she picked my brain for some interviewing and communication tips and said she felt fortunate we ran into each other. Like a good book you fail to finish reading, I sometimes wonder what happened to her. Did she get the job? Did she move in with the boyfriend? How did her life turn out?

    For those of us who talk to just about anyone, we are prone to chance encounters almost everywhere. I sometimes think about people I’ve met on airplanes, in train stations, on vacation, at the supermarket or waiting in line to see a ticketed event. Most of these people, we never remember or see again. Others, even if we don’t know it at the time, may have crossed our paths for a reason.

    Earlier this year as I was taking a walk, I had one of those encounters with people who had also accidentally encountered each other. It was a cold, blustery day so there weren’t many people out and about. As I turned a corner, there was a couple trying to take a selfie. I offered to help. That’s when I learned they had met fifty years ago at that very hour on that exact street corner in Longport, New Jersey. They had come back to celebrate at the exact time and exact spot where they began their life together.

    When they met, they were teenagers who lived in different states and had come to visit family who lived on neighboring streets. Unlike today, where texts and social media make it easy to stay in touch, they exchanged phone numbers, but long distance calls were expensive back then so they wrote letters. After college, they got together.

    Some experts believe if you prepare yourself to make the most of chance encounters, good things will happen to you. They even say you can significantly increase the chances of finding a great job, meeting your soul mate and creating your own luck. If this sounds like a bunch of malarkey, there is science to prove there could be something to it.

    Psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman wrote a book called The Luck Factor which concludes that not only is luck is a way of thinking and behaving, but it’s also something that can be learned.

    In a post at Oprah.com, writer Ben Sherwood details one of Wiseman’s early experiments where he taped a £5 note to a sidewalk outside a coffee shop. Then he planted actors at tables inside. One actor was a ‘millionaire’; the others were not. Each person was instructed to behave the same way. Next, he recruited two subjects he calls Martin and Brenda. Martin described himself as lucky; Brenda said she was not a lucky person. When Martin walked up to the store, he immediately spotted the money, picked it up, entered the coffee shop and sat down next to the millionaire. They engaged in conversation and even started exploring opportunities to do business together.

    Brenda, however, never noticed the money when she walked past it. She also sat down next to the millionaire, but they never spoke. According to Sherwood’s post, when asked to describe his day, Martin said he had a lucky day. Brenda described her day as uneventful.

    Both people had the same opportunity, but acted differently. Wiseman says lucky people create, notice, and act upon chance opportunities in their lives. He believes that being in the right place at the right time is more than fate; it’s about being in the right state of mind.

    Clearly, every chance encounter isn’t life changing. While you might recognize when someone has made a difference for you, you don’t always know when you’ve made a difference for them unless they tell you. I recall sitting next to a young man on a coast-to-coast flight. He was struggling with personal issues which we talked about for much of the flight. He had saved my business card and nearly a year later, e-mailed me to thank me, saying my advice prompted him to move in a different direction and he was happier than he had ever been.

    Psychologist and theorist Albert Bandura studied how seemingly random encounters change lives. He writes that former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy met when she began to receive mail meant for someone else. She complained to the Screen Actors Guild, of which Reagan was president at the time. They met and were engaged shortly after.

    In a commencement speech at Stanford University, late Apple founder Steve Jobs says if he had not dropped in on a calligraphy course, the Mac may have never evolved the way it has today.

    Thinking back to nearly three decades ago, a chance encounter changed my life. My friend and I entered the same café where we noticed a man enjoying a bite to eat. I made eye contact. She didn’t. At a party later that evening, I spoke to him. She didn’t. She had a negative attitude, commenting he was too old for me (we’re two years apart), was probably married (he was single) and rattled off a host of other assumptions. I was more positive, perhaps more open to luck and chance encounters. That man is now my husband of almost thirty years.

    Bandura says chance encounters are important because they have branching power. That means, they could not have been planned, yet they frequently inspire a chain of events that can shift someone’s life course and open unexpected opportunities.To take advantage of chance encounters, Bandura recommends looking outward to grab the branches within reach. To me, this means the following:

    BE PRESENT
    Instead of burying your nose in your cell phone when sitting alone, look up and out so you make eye contact with others. If I had not made eye contact with my husband, my life would be very different.

    CHANGE ROUTINES
    Like a good workout routine, you need to change things up, so you work different muscle groups. The same can be said for daily life. If you walk to work, take a different route. Perhaps you’ll stop into a different coffee shop, talk to someone new, see a sign announcing an interesting program you might attend. You never know who you’ll meet along the way.

    IMAGINE POSITIVE OUTCOMES
    In the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers demonstrated that people who imagined a “best possible self” for one minute and wrote down their thoughts, generated a significant increase in positive effect. Simply put, if we are optimistic, we are likely to turn chance encounters into positive experiences.

    Last week, I was seated next to a ninety-year-old woman on a plane. I had work to do and a movie I wanted to watch. Making idle conversation with a stranger was not part of my plan. Only to be polite, as I sat down, I said hello, how are you She burst into tears and said, “I’m scared”.

    Her husband had died. Her children and grandchildren live all over the country. She had never traveled by herself before. She was sad and felt very alone. We talked. I helped her to the bathroom and off the plane, then stayed with her until she was safely seated in a wheelchair with an airline attendant to help her retrieve her bags. She asked for my card.

    When I sat down to write this column today, it was not supposed to be about chance encounters. Then I received her email which read: “Just a note to thank you again for being so friendly and helpful to me on our flight!”

    To me, it was nothing more than being kind. To her, it meant much more. We never know how a chance encounter will influence or change lives. We do know that these seemingly simple moments happen to all of us and if we’re paying attention, they can have a positive life-long lasting effect.

     
  • feedwordpress 06:10:30 on 2018/02/22 Permalink
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    Quick Tip #75: Staying Relevant During Changing Times 

    Staying relevant during changing times is easier said than done. But if we don’t work at it, we may be perceived as out of touch and not as valuable to clients, colleagues and other important audiences. This video provides simple tips to stay competitive in business today.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 17:07:03 on 2018/02/20 Permalink
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    Your Administrative Assistant Is Your Greatest Asset 

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    Your assistant is your greatest asset, or will be after you read this.

    In today’s fast-paced corporate world, many managers rely on the newest technology to help their company grow. Between e-mail, virtual assistants, smartphones, high-speed Internet connections and a host of other technological marvels, they mistakenly believe they are more independent than ever—making their own travel plans, managing their own Inbox, sending their own letters and scheduling their own meetings. In reality, however, these so-called independent managers have lost sight of the one asset that can truly impact the company’s bottom line: an empowered administrative assistant.

    Unfortunately many assistants (also known as administrative professionals) are not taken seriously. In order to make the most of your administrative professional and advance your company’s mission, you need to treat your assistant like a partner and develop their skills on a daily basis. Only then will they have the know-how and confidence to make decisions and take charge of challenges that arise during the day.

    Related: Assistants Speak Out, Their Biggest Struggles In Partnering With Their Executive

    Following are the top 4 ways to foster growth in your partnership with your assistant.

    1. Have regular meetings. Conducting daily or weekly meetings allows your assistant to gain a broader perspective of your company’s goals and what is currently going on in the organization. Attending these meetings also keeps your assistant abreast of upcoming projects and the status of existing ones. Armed with this knowledge he or she can intelligently answer questions for clients, follow-up on action items, monitor the progress of upcoming projects and also remind you of important tasks.
    2. Provide continual and constructive feedback. Many managers and executives neglect to give their assistant any kind of feedback—positive or negative. While they may be able to critique a specific project the person worked on, they’re hesitant to give an individual the praise or correction needed. If you want your assistant to grow professionally, you need to let her or him know how their performance rates with you.
    3. Be a mentor. While you may have an abundance of company information, such as brochures, web site content and catalogs, your assistant ultimately looks to you to teach her or him about the organization and business in general. You can help by mentoring on a regular basis. For example, when you make a decision, explain to your assistant why and how you came to your decision.
    4. Establish goals and state your expectations. Your administrative professional truly wants to help you look good. It’s difficult for this person to meet your expectations when you don’t clearly communicate them. To make your administrative assistant a greater asset to your business, clearly state what needs to be accomplished and why.

    No matter how advanced your office becomes, your administrative assistant will always prove to be your greatest asset. When you encourage your assistant to become a true work partner, you will become more productive.

    Joan Burge

    Underneath_It_All_assistantThis article is an excerpt from the book, Underneath It All: Postgraduate Level Revelations Lift Administrative Assistants to New Heights. Authored by Joan Burge, Founder & CEO, Office Dynamics International

    Related: Executives and Assistants Are Struggling Today

     

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    The post Your Administrative Assistant Is Your Greatest Asset appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:44:09 on 2018/02/19 Permalink
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    Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings 

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    I bet that like many people you thought meetings would go by the wayside because of technology or at least there would be fewer meetings. Not true! The reasons meetings
    have increased are due in part to the rise in teams and requisite team meetings and technology such as video-conferencing accommodating slashed travel budgets.

    Approximately 11 million meetings occur in the U.S. each day! Meetings are essential to an organization’s success yet all experts agree that the main reason meetings are such a waste is because no one really prepares for them and that some may be unnecessary.

    I would like to give you some tips as you prepare for meetings this week. Feel free to share these with people in your department or peers.

    • Identify the objective for your meeting. If you do not have a clear objective, then there is no sense holding a meeting.
    • Distribute an agenda to participants before the meeting. Participants should come prepared for their meeting. Without enough notice, participants cannot adequately prepare to be a contributor.
    • Participants should know what is expected of them prior to a meeting. Be as clear as possible with expectations.
    • Often, I hear people are invited to meetings and they do not even need to attend. Limit attendance to only those individuals who truly need to be involved.
    • Set time limits for the meeting and each topic to be covered. When attending meetings, it is easy for people to get off track. This is not necessarily a bad thing and can generate great discussion. On the other hand, the meeting leader wants to ensure everything that is important gets covered in the meeting.
    • Distribute materials in advance. Again, you want participants to be prepared as best they can. Springing something on attendees during the meeting is not good use of time. Give attendees as much of a heads up as possible.

    One phase of meetings that often gets forgotten is the post-meeting stage. So here are some ideas for you.

    • Confirm tasks assigned to attendees and deadline dates.
    • Send thank you notes.
    • Transfer action items to follow-up lists, calendars, and “to-do” folder.
    • Send recap of meeting or minutes.
    • Update your calendar with future meeting dates.
    • Send necessary information to non-attendees or tell alternate’s team leader.
    • Get feedback from attendees.
    • Make note of “personal lessons learned.”

    I hope these ideas are helpful as you go through your week and weeks ahead. If you want to dig deep into meeting planning and execution, I’m hosting a live e-course Tuesday, February 20 at 10:00 am PT.

    Wishing you an amazing week.

    Joan Burge

    The post Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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