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  • feedwordpress 18:00:36 on 2017/12/06 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training,   

    4 Ways to Ensure Readability in Your Writing 

    writing_tips

    by Barbara McNichol

    “Writings are useless unless they are read, and they cannot be read unless they are readable.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    If Roosevelt lived in today’s world, he might have known that 6% of the time wasted in corporations is due to poorly written communications. Of course, your goal is readability. At the same time, you desire to be fast and efficient. What techniques can help ensure your message is clear?

    Consider these:

    • One Thought, One Sentence
    • Rewrite Negative into Positive
    • Build Bridges to Guide Your Reader
    • End Sentences with Your Strongest Point

    One Thought, One Sentence

    As you might have learned in high school composition class, strive to express one thought in one sentence. You’d craft another sentence for the next thought, and so on. Also, medium-length or long sentences are fine on occasion, but you propel your prose forward with short, succinct sentences.

    Rewrite Negative into Positive

    It’s hard for readers to track what’s being written when it’s stated in a negative way. Often, negative statements require a lot more words to make a point. Avoid using “no” and “not” except when you want to emphasize or contrast something.

    Negative: We can’t incorporate all the design features without increasing the unit size.

    Better: To incorporate all the design features, we have to increase the unit size.

    Build Bridges to Guide Your Reader

    As you craft your message, use bridge words and phrases to keep your train of thought moving forward. Logical links build your case—the smoother the better.

    Here are examples of bridge words that . . .

    • connect two ideas of the same kind: and, plus, as well as
    • add another thought: besides, also, what’s more, besides, then, again,
    • compare or contrast ideas: but, still, however, yet, rather, likewise
    • reinforce an idea: indeed, in fact, of course, by all means
    • show results: as a result, consequently, thus

    End Sentences with Your Strongest Point

    Consider placing the most vital words at the end of your sentence. Doing so adds emphasis and bridges one idea to the next. Which of these sentence variations is stronger?

    • “You’ll enhance your ability to communicate clearly by using these four techniques.”
    • “Using these four techniques, you’ll enhance your ability to communicate clearly.”

    If you said the second, I’d agree. Leave readers with a benefit statement as the last idea they read. A subtle distinction, yes, but it helps strengthen your intention.

    How do you strive to improve readability in your writing? Share your ideas here.

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pens. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource so you can 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 Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Details at www.wordtrippers.com/odi. Word Trippers is 40% Off until 12/18/17.

    The post 4 Ways to Ensure Readability in Your Writing appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:45:01 on 2017/11/20 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    6 Ways To Feast On Learning 

    feast-on-learning

    I decided to pull out this Monday Motivator from 2013 because it is a favorite of mine, still holds true and in fact, I believe it to be truer than ever before. Since I wrote this in 2013, I have expanded my mind to the worlds of:

    • Focus instead of multitasking
    • Engagement instead of entitlement
    • Being revolutionary
    • Being resilient
    • Collaboration
    • Creativity and innovation
    • The dangers of a digital world
    • And so much more!

    I have dug deep into each of those topics and am excited about every one of them. But I’m not only the student, I am an advocate for each area and firmly believe in the concepts. I hope you enjoy reading the following.

    I have always been hungry to learn. Or I should say, once I finished high school I gained an appreciation for learning. I went right into the workforce after high school and fortunately landed good jobs early in my career. I was exposed to and worked with some very bright executives. I was intrigued by the business world and how people acted and interacted. I observed their behaviors and listened to how they spoke. My hunger for knowledge grew stronger and stronger. I was also blessed during my younger working years, to have 3 outstanding executive mentors who I supported in various industries. I was a sponge and soaked up everything they had to offer. I was off to a very good start.

    Well, that continued as years passed and I am still hungry to learn. As the saying goes, “The more I know, the more I need to know.” I learn from the savvy executive assistants who attend my training programs, the executives who hire me, and from anyone I come in contact with as I travel the country. My vision is broadened as I meet people when I travel and attend industry conferences.

    I hope you will be an every-day student; don’t ever be so full of yourself that you stop learning.

    I know Thanksgiving is right around the corner so for this last full week before the holiday, here are some actions you can take.

    1. Observe the people you interact most with at the workplace. What actions do they take that you admire? What don’t you like that they do or say? What makes them shine above other employees? Is that a trait or traits you can work on?
    2. Listen! Stop all the distractions when people are talking to you or are in near range. What words do they use that make them stand out? Do they use creative language or ho-hum talk? Are they clear and concise as to what they want to communicate? What can you learn from them to enhance your own communication skills?
    3. Purchase one book this week that will expand your mind and vow to finish before the end of this year.
    4. Every day this week, use one new word that you want to add to your vocabulary.
    5. What can you learn from your immediate executive? What does he or she do really well that you need to improve upon?
    6. Are you staying up on the current trends in your organization?

    I wish you a great week and a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    Joan Burge

    Feast on learning and take advantage of our Black Friday Sale!

    Star Achievement Series Trainer Kit – $1,295 (reg. $1,495)
    Online Learning Programs – 40% Off
    Executive and Assistant Partnership Bundle – 50% Off
    Purchase any of Chrissy Scivicque’s products and receive the webinar Setting Healthy Boundaries in the Workplace for FREE ($49 value).
    Word Trippers Subscription – 40% Off

    Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY17 at check-out.

    BONUS! Make a purchase during our Black Friday Sale and be entered to win 2017 Conference On Demand ($499 value). 

    The post 6 Ways To Feast On Learning appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:27:11 on 2017/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, aggressive, , , , , , , , passive, , , workplace communication,   

    7 Tips for Executive Assistants Who Want To Be More Assertive 

    Assertive_vs_Aggressive_Communication

    Do you want to be more assertive?

    Learning how to tactfully voice your opinions and assert your needs as an executive assistant is important. Many assistants have crossed the line from assertive to aggressive. So what is the difference between assertive and aggressive? Isn’t being aggressive good?

    Many people confuse assertive and aggressive behavior. This is especially true of women, who until recent years, were often taught to associate passiveness with femininity. As a result women often are reluctant to take the initiative in the workplace – whether to resolve a conflict, solve a problem, or present an idea—for fear of being labeled pushy or obnoxious. 97% of administrative professionals are female.

    What’s the difference between being assertive and aggressive?

    Before I go on, let me clarify the differences between passive, aggressive and assertive. By explaining the 3 of these, it will help you better understand the differences.

    Passive: A passive person only cares about others and what they think and making sure everyone else’s needs are met. You might be thinking, “Isn’t that a good thing?” No. Not when we sacrifice ourselves or what we need to get done for the sake of others. Passive people can become resentful or blow up later, which then becomes aggressiveness.

    Aggressive: An aggressive person only cares about themselves; therefore, they don’t care what they say or how they say it as long as they get what they want.

    Assertive: An assertive person cares that their own needs are met AND cares about others. So they think about how they will communicate in a caring way and get what they need.

    We all have needs to be met in the workplace so we can do our job and finish projects on time. We also have to make sure people do not walk all over us or be a cupcake! Assertiveness is the way to go because it is the happy medium. You care about yourself and your care about others.

    Benefits of Being Assertive

    • Reduces anxiety.
    • Provides a feeling of control.
    • Increases self-esteem.
    • Builds confidence.
    • We get resolution of the situation.
    • Less stress and wasted time.
    • You choose when to push a situation or not.
    • Protects you from being taken advantage of.

    We all know the famous Mayo Clinic. Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about being assertive. “Being assertive is typically viewed as a healthier communication style. Being assertive offers many benefits. It helps you keep people from walking all over you. On the flip side, it can also help you from steamrolling others.”

    Risk is Involved
    Being assertive involves some risk because you aren’t guaranteed of the outcome. You have to be willing to take a chance, knowing the situation may not turn out like you hope it will. However, you have a better chance of having your needs met with assertive action than by being passive or aggressive.

    When communicating assertively, it’s a good idea to start at the end—what you want to see happen and then work back. Make sure you clearly communicate your needs or desires. When these are communicated in a direct, tactful manner, you most likely will see the result you expected in the beginning.

    Weigh the Pros And Cons
    If you are doubtful as to whether to assert yourself in a particular situation, you should weigh the pros and cons. It is not the number of pros vs. cons that is as important as the impact of each pro and con.

    7 Steps to Be More Assertive

    1. Outwardly confront something instead of holding it in or stewing over it. Passive people hold things in. They keep their feelings buried and do not like confrontation. Therefore, they are walked over and stressed out. While you may want to take some time to think about the situation and how you want to respond, do not sit on it for days and weeks. In fact, the sooner you confront a situation or something someone said to you, the better. Just choose your words carefully.
    2. State their opinions clearly. You are entitled to your opinion. We are not clones of each other. When communicating with others take time to be clear when expressing your opinions and especially do not say anything that would hurt another person’s feelings.
    3. Walk away at your choosing. Passive people walk away because they feel intimated by a person or the situation. An assertive person walks away because “it’s” just not worth their time or energy.
    4. Are active, not reactive. Assertive people take action but they also stop and think before they take action. Again, they craft the message they want to deliver so the other person will be open to what they say.
    5. Establish deadlines. You can start this today! Many executive and administrative assistants will ask, “When do you need this?” Of course, the common answer is, “As soon as you can get it to me?” Or, “As soon as possible.” Learn to ask people, “By when do you need this?” Get the people who assign you tasks or special projects to commit to the latest date by which they need something, not the soonest. This helps the person giving you the assignment set their own priorities and helps you prioritize your workload.
    6. Do not accept inappropriate behavior. If there is anything that does not feel right or appropriate to you in the workplace, you must tell the offending person their action or words are not acceptable to you. A very simple example for assistants is the person who always comes into the assistant’s workspace and takes pencils or pens or whatever. If you don’t like that, then say something. That is a very simple example. My point is you do not have to accept behaviors that make you frustrated, stressed, or uncomfortable. My favorite saying is, “People will continue to treat you as you allow them to.”
    7. Go to the source. People have a tendency to complain to their friends or co-workers about someone at work who upset them or who they don’t like. That does not change the situation or how you feel—at least not permanently. When something arises with another person, you need to go directly to the source. Again, use positive communication skills. If you hear something via third party, make sure you have all your facts before going to the source.

    “We are learning to find a balance between being too passive and/or too aggressive, instead, learning to be assertive when presenting ideas and/or suggestions.” – World Class Assistant Part 1 Graduates (For more wisdom from these class participants check out the slideshare below by my World Class students.

    Joan Burge

    Benefits of Attending the World Class Assistant Certificate Program (as shared by course participants)

     

    Find More Information About World Class Assistant Training

    The post 7 Tips for Executive Assistants Who Want To Be More Assertive appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:26:09 on 2017/11/06 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training,   

    7 Tips for Coming Down the Home Stretch 

    Admin-training

    Welcome to November—the 11th month of 2017! With just less than two months to go, how are you going to wrap them up? Are you going to fizzle out as the weeks pass or are you going out with a bang? Do you feel like you are running out of steam or taking one big, deep last breath to push through the next eight weeks?

    Many of you might be thinking, “Thank goodness this year is over. It was a horrible year; a stressful year; a depressing year.”  Yet look around and most of us are still standing. We dealt with the challenges that were presented to us. We might not have liked them but we handled them. Some people who lost their jobs actually ended up in better positions. Businesses have become stronger because they worked leaner and smarter. Communities like Las Vegas and San Antonio that have been struck by huge tragedies, are closer and prouder than ever before.

    Here are some ideas for the first week of November:

    1. Take inventory of your accomplishments and make sure you document them so you have them ready for your annual review or your success book!
    1. Mend broken relationships. It does no good to hold grudges. You can be the bigger person by taking the first step.
    1. Look at your calendar between now and year-end. Consider your commitments, schedules, things you need to do, holiday events, and block necessary time to reduce stress.
    1. Make a training wish list for next year and plan how you will persuade your executive to support you.
    1. Request a strategy meeting with your executive to discuss their goals for the next two months. What do they need to get accomplished and how can you help achieve those goals?
    1. Take advantage of any unused vacation or plan a personal day to organize your personal life before the holidays arrive.
    1. With the holidays coming, it is more important than ever that you exercise and get good rest. If you are going to finish 2017 with a bang, you must have mental and physical energy.

    If you can picture a horse race, many of the horses start out close together in the race but as they go around the track and increase their distance, only a few stretch out in front. Then as the race progresses, often two horses are running neck and neck but only one wins the race—and sometimes just by a nose.

    What’s the analogy to people? The majority of the population started out on equal ground in January, then as the race got more challenging, some people fell back, lost their wind and slowed down. As the year comes to end and we come down the home stretch, are you still ahead in the race?  Do you have the stamina to go the distance? I hope so as the next eight weeks should be filled with enthusiasm as we see the year come to an end and we eagerly greet 2018!

    Let’s do it!

    Joan Burge

    administrative_assistant_training

    The post 7 Tips for Coming Down the Home Stretch appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:58:43 on 2017/11/03 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training,   

    Magic Trick to Cut Down on Wordiness 

    writing-tips

    Want a Magic Trick to Cut Down on Wordiness?

    by Barbara McNichol

    Ever wonder how to make your sentences less verbose and more direct?

    Here’s a trick that works like magic: Change long nouns to short verbs.

    Consider the differences in these three examples from a nonfiction manuscript I edited:

    • “They remain in contradiction with themselves” vs. “They contradict themselves.”
    • “He made an acknowledgment of her success” vs. “He acknowledged her success.”
    • “We get closer to the implementation of leadership practices” vs. “We get closer to implementing leadership practices.”

    Pay attention to these examples. They show how you can increase readability by turning a long-winded “heavy” phrase into an active “lively” verb. What clues do you look for? Nouns ending in “ion” and “ment.”

    Whatever you edit your own work, use this “magic” trick often. What a difference this one technique can make! Try it for yourself.

    Action: Identify “ion” and “ment” words in your writing, then rewrite them using a lively verb. Send your examples here.

     

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administration professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource so you can 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 Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Details at www.wordtrippers.com/odi

    The post Magic Trick to Cut Down on Wordiness appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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