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  • feedwordpress 15:30:00 on 2020/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , , free training for administrative assistants, , ODI 30th Anniversary, ,   

    The Best Assistant Learning Resources 


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    Office Dynamics International is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Since 1990, we have provided rich resources for administrative professionals around the world. As you can imagine, we have covered thousands of assistant-focused topics over the decades. Everything from improving time-management skills to refining your career portfolio to compete in a post-COVID-19 workplace.  That is…
     
  • feedwordpress 14:30:26 on 2020/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , ,   

    Working in Tandem with Your Leader 


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    Working in Tandem With Your Leader

    One of the most common struggles amongst administrative professionals and their executives is a disconnect. Over the last 30 years, we have heard every disconnect scenario assistants have experienced: the executive does not touch base; the executive and assistant have different communication styles; the executive is unorganized with his or her thoughts and doesn’t effectively relay details, etc.

    Working in tandem is hard enough when you are in the office and things are “business as usual.” Throw chaotic times such as national disasters, economic crises, and massive organizational changes into the mix and disconnects can become efficiency-killers.

    So how can you as an assistant avoid further disruption and work in tandem with your leader to achieve goals?

    In this Working in Tandem with Your Leader blog, we are going to cover the 3 steps you need to take to be on the same page as your leader, such as:

    1. Verbal communication
    a.) Daily huddles
    b.) Preparing for conversations and leading the next steps.
    2. Written communication
    a.) Word selections
    b.) Email message crafting
    3. Communication expectations
    a.) Discuss and agree on a process
    b.) Prioritization
    c.) Staying visible/demonstrating your value

    At the end of this blog, there is a helpful video that goes into detail on each of the steps above. If you are ready to better yourself and your career as an Assistant, read on. 

    1. Verbal communication with your executive 

    You must get your executive to realize the importance of dedicating time to verbally communicate ongoing details with you. You do this by sharing the many benefits he or she will gain. 

    We all know that during chaotic times, things are moving quickly. Decisions are made on the spot, and they are changed on the spot as well. Information is rapidly gathered and needs to get passed on. Emotions are high and they can impact actions and decisions. Do you see the complexity of this? 

    Texting, IM’ing, or sending emails is not good enough. When we text, usually we are in a hurry. It does not feel the same to type on our phone as it does when we sit at a keyboard. Often text messages are incomplete and can be left to interpretation.  

    However, when you can sit face to face or even video chat, it helps efficiency tremendously. Instead of wondering what your leader is asking of you, the context of their tone and if they are getting frustrated over miscommunications, you, the assistant can drive the conversation and get results (more on this below). 

    For years, Joan has talked about executives and assistants having daily huddles. They are a strategic way of maximizing your executive’s availability and allowing you to move forward with projects rather than waiting for the green light. Joan shares an example from an assistant and her advice in the article above. Before each huddle, you will want to make sure you:  

    • Prepare for your conversation. Your highest priority items should be discussed first. You do not want to waste your executive’s time as it will be minimal. 
    • Listen deeply. 
    • Repeat what you thought you heard to get clarification.   

     

    2. Written communication with your executive

    Normally we feel hurried and therefore might not take the time to think about what we need to say or re-read what we wrote. In doing so, we may misrepresent the subject, cause worry or extra work. To avoid this, below are some guidelines to follow. 

    • Carefully select the words you use. One word could change the entire meaning of something. 
    • Don’t blow something out of proportion and yet do not understate the urgency of something. 

    Our 5 Ways Better Writing Can Boost Your Credibility at Work blog gives a few examples and solutions. 

    Additionally, before writing your message, think about the goal of sending the communication. Do you need to get your executive’s immediate attention? Are you confirming something with your executive? Is it time-sensitive information?

    To effectively achieve each goal above, I recommend you use the words below to start the subject. 

      • URGENT 
      • IMPORTANT
      • TIME SENSITIVE
      • FYI

    Just make sure your executive is aware and agrees to the process so there are no unintentionally rude tones picked up. 

    3. Defining executive expectations

    As an assistant, what do you expect from your executive to be able to function at your optimum during unique situations? Give this area a lot of thought as it will lay the foundation for the following step: communicating your expectations to your executive.

    When you communicate your expectations, it opens the discussion for processes and efficiencies. This is the time to:

    • Evaluate which processes you need to keep in place, such as your daily huddle.
    • Determine which processes or habits can be dropped (for now). 
    • Create new processes to meet current needs.
    • Streamline existing processes. 

    After you have discussed the above it is time to prioritize. There are many moving pieces and they may be coming at you faster than you can tolerate. You might feel like you want to give up; you might feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and fearful. This is natural. By asking your executive which projects are most urgent to him or her, you can begin to number them accordingly and your days will feel more manageable. 

    That leads us to our next area – staying visible to your executive and demonstrating your value. During one of our past webinars, an assistant mentioned a concern she has is “staying in the mind of her executive” so they don’t forget her. 

    When you have reached a point of self-sufficiency, this is understandable. Here are 3 ways to stay in sight, so to speak, and in the mind of your executive:

    • Send your executive a daily update or even just a hello.
    • Add value by forwarding any pertinent information you read or see that impacts your industry.
    • Look for areas of your work where you can streamline processes.

    Unpredictable situations that dramatically impact the workplace, affect productivity, and communication will occur. However, with the right skills, you will be able to continuously work in tandem with your leader.

    Our Survival Tactics Series for Chaotic Times assistant webinar series provides actionable information on this and more.

     

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  • feedwordpress 15:30:00 on 2020/03/31 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , ,   

    Administrative Professional’s Day: Best Gift for Your Assistant 


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    Administrative_Professionals_Day_Gifts

    When I worked as an executive assistant, I was always flattered on Administrative Professional’s Day when my leader would generously give me a gift in recognition for my service and hard work. It made me feel special and truly meant a lot to me. Now as an executive myself, I’ve had the opportunity to experience both sides, and I have a much different suggestion for recognizing your stellar assistant today.

    That’s right. I would like to address the leaders and executives out there and give you a word of advice. This year for Administrative Professional’s Day, reconsider the bouquet of flowers and rethink the gift cards. Yes, they are appreciated, but to put it bluntly, your assistants are hungry for more. More enrichment. More skills. More preparation. And quite honestly, you’re going to be asking more of your assistants in the coming years, so it behooves you to ensure your administrative team is prepared and well-equipped for the future.

    What is my suggestion instead of traditional gifts? Provide them with continuing education and professional development opportunities. Consider sending your assistant to a workshop, conference, or designation course. A stellar event can be transformative for an administrative assistant. If you pick the right event, you’ll see your assistant come back more confident, capable, and eager. As an executive myself, I believe this is a wise investment because:

    1. You’ll become more efficient without needing to lift a finger. A top-tier assistant can make your life easier. When a team member begins to work more effectively, everyone around them will reap the rewards.

    2. You’ll have the chance to watch someone grow. You likely hired your assistant because you saw potential in them. Next, you need to supply the water to someone you felt was a good seed. Now watch what happens.

    3. It allows you to invest in the business as a whole. As leaders, we’re always looking for the most bang for our buck. If you consider the perspective that an investment in your administrative assistant equates to an investment in the growth of your business, the dollars and cents add up.

    Take a look at the Office Dynamics website to see all of the events and conferences we host throughout the year. This is our industry, and we know it inside and out. I can assure you that sending your assistant to one of my events will yield many more dividends than any bouquet of flowers ever could.

    The post Administrative Professional’s Day: Best Gift for Your Assistant appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:27:26 on 2020/03/18 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Survival Tactics for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times 


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    Disasters and chaotic times dramatically impact our personal and professional lives. And while, with time most situations improve, reoccurrence in the future is inevitable.

    How do you manage external responsibilities, such as children and family, keep up with workload demands and safeguard yourself from difficult times in the world? Adaptability.

    At Office Dynamics International, Secretaries, Executive Assistants, and Administrative Assistants alike have approached us on skills, tactics, and traits to implement in order to achieve agility and survive the pressures of today’s society.

    The Administrative Professional Adapting to Working From Home

    Working from home has become a new reality for many US workers. Some of the biggest challenges experienced are isolation, time-management, and communication barriers among staff members. What’s more, as schools shut down across the US, working parents must juggle company and family priorities simultaneously.

    Working from home for an unknown period of time is uncharted territory for many. How do you adjust your routine for maximum productivity and efficiency? What should you do to deal with isolation and your sanity after being home all day with children, spouses, and pets?

    Working from the office is just as complex. Earlier this month you may have been scheduling business trips, events and negotiating with vendors. Fast forward to now; you’re vigorously putting out fires, redoing your Executive’s calendar, receiving cancellations and making them too. Business priorities have shifted, tensions are flaring and expectations are doubling each day. 

    Additionally, financial uncertainties caused by company closures and layoffs impact more than the economy, your livelihood as you know it is at stake. It takes the right mental attitude to navigate through these personal and professional complexities.

    Survival Tactics Series for Administrative Professionals

    Joan Burge has created a micro-learning series called Survival Tactics for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times. Receive pertinent, palpable information in 30 minutes, 2 times a week for 3 weeks.

    • Embrace a Warrior Mindset
    • Working in Tandem with Your Leader
    • Timely and Effective Communications
    • Being Resilient During Turbulent Times
    • Riding the Wave of Change
    • Self-Management and Personal Care

    While professional, financial and familial stressors will present themselves through and through, you’ll be equipped with in-demand tools to address them, and at times people, whilst maintaining your patience and decorum.

    The post Survival Tactics for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:45:00 on 2020/03/10 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, ,   

    How Assistants Can Have Staying Power 


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    With all the buzz technology and workplace trends generate, it’s easy to forget that the foundation of every administrative professional should be built on timeless skills. Failing to develop these critical cornerstones for administrative assistants often means failure to thrive and succeed. There’s a reason some skills are needed decade after decade. Skills like:

    • Resilience. Shining through the chaos is a skill that will serve you well. Offices can be hectic, deadlines can be tight, and stress can be sky-high. If we accept that and take responsibility for how we respond to the inevitable, we can achieve more. Remaining tough and tenacious regardless of what happens around you will show your peers and leaders that you’re unflappable and reliable. In a crazy world, that’s invaluable.

    • Risk-taking. Being willing to gamble in business is essential. Don’t be afraid to try something new or take a few chances. Go out on a limb. Pitch a new idea. Speak up even when you’re worried no one will listen. Understand this: Some of those risks will pay off huge dividends and some will fall flat. That’s okay. The risks are still worth taking.

    • Collaboration. We can, quite simply, accomplish more together. Work with someone whose background is different. Pick the brain of a peer who has twice as much experience (or half as much!) Seek out a leader who brings new insights and different perspectives to the table. Working well with others will introduce the magic of teamwork. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish and what kind of change you can make happen you work together as a group.

    • Creativity. Leaders look for assistants who are willing to think outside the box. The status quo should always be given a good, hard look. Big problems can often be conquered with weird, “who would have thought” solutions. Seek them out! Offices can sometimes seem like the last place you’d expect to find bursts of creativity, but sometimes the most innovative, visionary, and fun ideas come out of boring, beige cubicles. Let your creative juices flow!

    • Accountability. Don’t ever forget to make sure you’re staying focused and meeting the objectives you and your leader layout. Set up safety nets for yourself to ensure that no task, no assignment, no e-mail falls through the cracks. It’s about staying on-task, transitioning seamlessly, and keeping tabs on everything you’re working on.

    Work hard to cultivate these skills, and your successful career will span decades!

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    Joan Burge has staying power. She’s been a lion of the administrative assistant profession for fifty years. That’s no easy feat. Staying on top for that long takes timeless skills, hard work, and passion. Come join her for her 30Year Anniversary Tour focused on Timeless Skills for Assistants to learn how to follow in her footsteps!
    Click here to learn more and register today!

    The post How Assistants Can Have Staying Power appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
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