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  • feedwordpress 17:30:48 on 2019/05/16 Permalink
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    How does an Administrative Professional Set Up an Official Process? Ask an Admin 

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    Welcome back to Ask an Admin! The blog series that allows administrative professionals to ask any questions they may have and have their peers give the best advice they can provide.

    This week Stacey asks:

    I am the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, and the only assistant (the only admin, really) at this location. Coworkers leave documents on my desk; the expectation is that I secure the signature of the President and CEO, and then return it to the requestor (who’s assistant am I, anyway?). I would like to know how does an administrative professional set up an official process to obtain signatures and return the documents, but I could use some advice. How do other assistants deal with this? Or am I just being a jerk for not wanting to run other people’s signed documents all over the building to return them?

    Thanks a lot for your time!

    Stacey does ask a great question. This administrative professional has documents that need to be signed by the President and CEO then has to run the signed papers back to her co-workers. So, how does an administrative professional set up an official process?

    Want to learn more about Ask an Admin and how to submit your own question? Click here

    The post How does an Administrative Professional Set Up an Official Process? Ask an Admin appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 18:00:41 on 2019/05/14 Permalink
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    Choosing the Best Administrative Assistant or Executive Assistant Conference 

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    An administrative conference should feed your brain and soul!

    You have finally gotten the approval to attend an administrative conference, maybe you have decided to invest in yourself by attending an administrative conference but choosing the best administrative assistant or executive assistant conference is no easy task.

    Attending an administrative conference is a big investment of your time and money. You should choose wisely. There are numerous factors to take into consideration when deciding which administrative conference to attend.

    1. Start with the end in mind. What is your goal or goals for going to an administrative conference?
      • Education wise: What skills do you need to grow? What new skills do you need to learn/develop?
        • The problem with this is sometimes we don’t know what we need to develop. It’s called our blind spot. To understand this further, Google Johari Window.
        • For the last several years of hosting our administrative conference, we have had themes that most assistants would not even consider. That is because our intent is to develop assistants for what is to come! To be ahead of the curve. Some of our administrative conference themes have been: collaboration; resiliency; revolutionary; and empowerment.
      • To network and meet new people
      • Learn best practices from administrative peers
      • Learn best practices from subject matter experts
    2. Do your research. Make a comparison spreadsheet, if necessary
      • Topics to be covered – do they align with your goals?
      • Speakers – are they polished professionals? Do they walk their talk?  Do they understand the administrative profession? Or are they a thought leader in a particular area of focus?
      • The flow of the agenda – is there time for networking? Hallway conversations?
      • Location/Dates
      • The number of conference attendees is important. Do you want to be with thousands of assistants or just a few hundred? Both have their benefits, however, at smaller group administrative conference, you get to know more of the attendees and it is less chaotic allowing for enhanced networking. (You may not always see this number listed on the conference web site but you can call to ask how many people usually attend the conference.)
        • The pros and cons of large vs. intimate conferences.
      • WHO is hosting the conference? This is really important. Today there are several people who don’t understand the administrative profession but are hosting conferences for them. Normally for these individuals or organizations, they are hosting an administrative conference just to make money. It is better to choose an administrative conference where the host or hosting organization is on a real mission to help assistants.
      • What is the value of the program? What are you getting for your money? Any extra events such as a welcome dinner?  What meals are included? Of course, the content should always be the most important but when you are comparing one seminar to another and can only attend one, you need to consider these other aspects.
      • Inquire about the quality of the workshop materials? Some administrative conferences are cutting back on hard-copy participant materials to save money. Many speakers will not even create a handout for attendees. So attendees have to take a bunch of photos of the PowerPoint slides as the speaker presents. This is a pain as you can’t concentrate on what the speaker is saying. I view this as a speaker being lazy. Easy for them, more work for the conference participant. Will you be able to use the conference as a reference guide after the conference? Do they provide robust information? What about post-class follow-up activities for ongoing learning?
    3. Identify your learning style to help you choose the administrative conference that is best for you.
      • High energy or slower pace?
      • Hands-on; experiential or sit and listen?
      • Talked to or involved and be able to do activities with other attendees when a speaker is presenting
    4. When you attend a conference you are going to be surrounded by people for two or more days. What kinds of people do you relate to?
      • Low key vs. high energy. I personally love being around high-energy individuals.
      • Passionate about the profession or it’s just a job.
      • Committed to making personal change through developmental opportunities or someone who just wants to get out of the office and learn some basic stuff.
      • Do you want to be surrounded by people who will make you better? Or agree with you all the time?
      • Do you want to be around sharp, professional speakers and attendees or ho-hum people?

    The above list are things I personally consider when I am choosing the best administrative assistant or executive assistant conference. Be really selective when searching and choosing an administrative conference.


    The post Choosing the Best Administrative Assistant or Executive Assistant Conference appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 01:48:06 on 2019/05/12 Permalink

    Driving value for your customers 

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    A new drive through self-service car wash called Auto Spa opened up in my neighborhood, so I decided to try it. As I entered and saw it cost seven dollars, I thought that was a bit pricey just to wash the outside of the car, even though unlike other self serves, this one dries the vehicle for you. However, they market themselves as a car spa, so maybe there were some spa like amenities.

    At the full-service car wash I normally frequent, they clean the inside and outside of the vehicle for ten dollars. Even when they’re crowded, they go the extra mile as well, sometimes rinsing off the mats or using compound to erase a scratch. They don’t charge for it either. Instead they smile and say, “our pleasure”.

    As my car and I exited the auto spa washroom, four men yielding drying cloths began wiping down the vehicle. I opened the driver’s door and pointed to the dirty water that had pooled on the ledge where you step into the car and asked one of the men if he would wipe that too.

    He replied, “we don’t do that”.

    I was surprised so I repeated what he said and inquired why not?

    He answered, “we just don’t do that”.

    Not wanting to get into an argument, I pointed out that he was already drying the car and the dirty water at the bottom of the door was caused by the wash.

    He shrugged and walked away.

    So, as he and his three colleagues stood just feet away, I opened the trunk, pulled out some towels and wiped the dirty water caused by the car wash as they watched.

    I was about to leave when a cloud of irritation swept over me. That’s when I got out of the car and found the manager. I told him as one business owner to another, I wanted to give him some friendly advice. After explaining what happened, he said he was sorry, and they would dry it next time. I said there wouldn’t be a next time because I was never coming back. I told him I would return to the car wash down the road because they provided better service and you got more for your money.

    He nodded. I continued and explained that the bigger problem is business thrives by word of mouth. If I tell someone I had a bad experience, they’ll tell someone else who will tell someone else who will post on social media and then people stop coming. However, if you go the extra mile and provide great service, your customers can become your best public relations agents.

    Something seemed to resonate as he asked who of the four employees refused to wipe the dirty water from my car. Not wanting to get anyone in trouble, I said I wasn’t sure. He walked over and reprimanded all of them. I drove away.

    Regardless of industry, going the extra mile is about providing value for others. When you help someone out, do something without being asked or provide an additional service at the same cost, that’s value. Not only do you score a few extra points, but you make others feel good in the process.

    I recall a situation that coincidentally, also involved cars. A car dealer we worked with wanted to provide customer service training for its service representatives after someone failed to go that extra mile. A woman who had been without her car for several days came to pick it up. It was a dreary drizzly day with salt and melting snow assaulting cars on the roads. As she drove out and put her windshield wipers on, there was no windshield wiper fluid. Furious, she drove back to the dealership and asked why. The service manager told her it wasn’t on the work order.

    A few extra minutes providing checking fluid levels could have increased customer value and led to years of additional business. Instead, the woman never came back again.

    So, what exactly is value? To customers, it’s often when a person feels they received good service at a good price, or they received extra services at no extra cost. Companies often claim they provide extra value at no additional cost, but the only person who can determine value is the customer. To me, value is about the experience.

    Let’s say you hire a company to provide certain services. They do a good job and you feel the cost was reasonable. Next year, you hire a different company to deliver the same services. They also do a good job, but the people are friendlier, warmer and they spend more time with you than expected. Additionally, they throw in a few extras and give you helpful hints for the future. Then they check in with you a few days later to make sure all is well. You had a better experience with the second company. That experience equals value. Value often leads to loyalty.

    As I am writing this article, I’m in the process of getting some insurance quotes. I reached out to three companies. The first company emailed me a form and said when I complete it, they’ll provide a quote. The second company which I already do business with told me to call my agent. The agent told me to call someone else. The third company had someone return my phone call almost instantly. She asked questions, seemed to take an interest in my needs and promised to provide a quote as quickly as possible.

    Unless the quote is outrageous, I will choose her. She provided a better experience and gave me a glimpse of what it might be like to work with her company in the future.

    Do an on-line search for customer value and you will find over a million articles on the subject. From creating value steps, implementing strategies to improving customer experience, many of these articles provide solid advice. The best ones offer common sense.

    That means standing in your customer’s shoes. How would you feel if your car was being serviced for days and they didn’t check the windshield wiper fluid? Or you pay good money to have your car dried and they miss part of it? Typically, it’s the little things that ruin experiences for customers. Little things add up and detract from value. When customers feel they aren’t receiving what’s valuable to them, they go elsewhere, and your business dries up.

  • feedwordpress 14:45:50 on 2019/05/09 Permalink
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    If I Were (Was?) Rich… 

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    The play Fiddler on the Roof recently came through my city, and my friend kept singing her dad’s favorite song from that hit: “If I Were a Rich Man.”

    My comment? “I’m glad the lyricist got the grammar right!”

    Why is the use of “were” (not “was”) correct in this song title and similar phrases? Consider the conditional meaning associated with using an “if” clause. In this case, the lyrics “if I were a rich man” reflect a wishful condition, not a true statement.

    You may recall how Tevye, the character who sang this song, lamented his lowly position as a milkman and wondered what wealth would bring to his life. If at one time he had been rich, he could factually say, “When I was a rich man.” But in this context, he could only hope to be rich.

    What about the song “If I Were a Carpenter”? Here, the lyricist correctly uses “were” to depict a hope or dream, not a current fact.  

    When “Was” is Correct

    So when would you use “was” (not “were”) in an “if” clause? When it introduces an indirect question or statement of fact. Examples:

    • The boss asked if I was (not “were”) finished with the report. This factual statement is based on what’s true or possible, not something hypothetical.
    • If he was (not “were”) guilty, he would have remained silent. This states a fact that’s likely true, not something conditional.

    In the statements you make, remember to use “were” when the situation calls for being conditional, hypothetical, or wishful. And like Tevye, it’s how you can make a plea for the wealth you wish for!

    Want more tips like this to hone your writing skills and advance your career? You’ll find 18 Days to Become a Better Writer an easy-to-use e-guide. Start today by clicking here.


    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 If I Were (Was?) Rich… appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 17:45:30 on 2019/05/07 Permalink
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    What is the Difference Between an Administrative Conference and Administrative Training? 

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    With the plethora of offerings for administrative training and development, there is also a lot of confusion. People are throwing around terminology that can be confusing to the purchaser. I’d like to help you understand better so you can stop asking yourself “what is the difference between an administrative conference and administrative training?”

    Something to remember is that typically if you want to dig deep into administrative training content and practice the skills you are learning, you usually get that in a training course or workshop. The smaller the class, the more attention you get from the trainer thus leading to longer-term behavior change. When choosing an administrative conference or training, choose wisely. I will write about this in another blog.

    Administrative ConferenceAdministrative Training
    Delivered live with audience in the same room (may be streamed or recordedDelivered live with an audience in the room (could be virtual)
    All types of interaction with audience is possibleAll types of interaction with the audience are possible
    Can have direct contact with presenters BUT not all of them because of too many participants or speakers don’t stay for entire eventDefinitely, have direct contact with facilitators because often the class size is small compared to a conference
    Mid-level facilitationHigh-level facilitation by the presenter (Important the presenter is highly experienced to create behavior change)
    Networking with 100 – 2,000Networking with a small intimate group
    Teambuilding – depends on the conference host if they conduct any activities for this (Office Dynamics always conducts an educational, fun team building activity the first day of our event)Team building – the extent of opportunity to do this is up to the facilitator
    Speakers – several speakers presentUsually, 1 or 2 facilitators present and facilitate
    # of Attendees 100 – 2,000+True training classes are usually limited to 25 so the facilitator can give adequate attention to students.
    Skill practice – someSkill practice – ample time to practice newly-learned skills. (With Office Dynamics administrative training classes, participants have lots of time to practice in the classroom. Our training is roll up your sleeves and drill down!)
    Social – most conferences purposely set time for social and extracurricular activitiesMight include a welcome reception or dinner
    General Sessions and Concurrent SessionsUsually, everyone is in one place/room. Might have some small break out groups or rooms
    Usually higher end cost, but not alwaysCould be a higher end; normally affordable
    Held in various cities and countriesHeld in various cities and countries
    Usually comprehensive materialsParticipants SHOULD receive comprehensive materials
    Exhibitors – usually, not allUsually no exhibitors

    I hope this information helps you pursue your goals!

    The post What is the Difference Between an Administrative Conference and Administrative Training? appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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