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  • feedwordpress 09:12:59 on 2017/01/12 Permalink
    Tags: , admin conference, administrative conference, , , , , , get the most out of your conference, goals for upcoming conference, learning event, learning programs, , overwhelm, , , ,   

    How to Get the Most Out of Your Upcoming Administrative Conference 

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    Next week I’ll be attending a large conference in Las Vegas to further my education. Today, my head is swarming after reading through what seemed like a never-ending website, each page loaded with tons of information. This is a training-industry conference and is one of the big ones. This is the first time I am attending this particular training industry event which is mostly focused on learning technologies. But it’s not that simple. It is a massive arena.

    I wanted to plan which sessions I want to attend. Quite honestly, I feel more confused than ever. On the first day alone, there are 70 sessions to choose from. Yikes, I only have 7 hours at the conference including lunch, exhibit halls and breaks. How am I supposed to choose? The second day of the conference offers 65 sessions. Really? How can any one person make a decision as to which sessions are the best?

    And to top it off, to figure out which sessions I want to attend, I have to click on each session title to learn about the session. Do you realize how time-consuming that is for me? So after almost 2 hours of reading and barely touching the surface, I am somewhat frustrated and my brain is saturated. I’m definitely on overload.

    This experience got me thinking about our own administrative conference we hold each fall and the attendee experience.

    I now understand why administrative and executive assistants have raved about the intimacy of the Office Dynamics Conference for Administrative Excellence. Aside from the less than 500 attendees, past attendees have told us they love that we do not offer concurrent sessions or when we do host concurrent session, we offer only 3 at a time.

    Whether you’re attending a large or small event this year to continue your administrative learning, take these three tips into consideration and make them part of your planning process.

    4 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Upcoming Administrative Conference:

    1. Have a goal in mind for the learning event. Think about why you are attending this event. Are there specific learning objectives you wish to accomplish? New skills you want to acquire? New technologies you want to learn about and begin to implement?
    2. Take in the information bit-by-bit. If you’re attending a large event, you don’t need to attend everything that is being offered. It’s simply not possible. Allow yourself to soak in the offerings and choose what’s best for you and the goal you selected for yourself (tip 1).
    3. Use the tools offered to get to know attendees before, during and after the program. Follow the event hashtag, use it. Ask questions and introduce yourself to people who are also attending. Networking doesn’t only happen at the live event, it also happens before and after the event, so take advantage of that.
    4. Write your goal(s) for the event down on an “Action Log” for the event. During the event, begin to create your plan of action. What are the obstacles you will face when you return to the office, what are the steps you need to take and in what order? What are the resources you’ll need?

    As I’ve been mapping out my own upcoming conference experience, I am reminded that more is not always better. Thousands of participants do not always make for great networking. In fact, it makes bonding and creating long-lasting relationships even more difficult. Hundreds of concurrent sessions are not always better. So many options often cause stress and frustration. Targeted topics around a key theme increase the chances of behavior change. These are just some of the things that make our administrative conference unique from other administrative conferences.

    I’d like to hear from you. What are the methods you implement for a successful learning experience when attending any administrative conference or training workshop?

    The post How to Get the Most Out of Your Upcoming Administrative Conference appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 09:29:12 on 2016/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , admin conference, administrative assistant programs, administrative training, assistant continued learning programs, , , goals for 2017, learning and development, learning and development for assistants, , seminars, , , VILT, virtual training, , ,   

    Choosing Administrative Training That’s Right for You 

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    As 2016 comes to an end, I hope you are working on your goals for your 2017 development. The challenge may come when you realize there are a plethora of training programs, conferences, webinars and other learning events for administrative assistants and executive assistants. So how do you determine what is best for you? After all, you will have to invest time for your development and in many instances, your company will have to make a financial investment.

    It’s best to start with your end in mind. For example, when assistants ask me which training would be best for them between our conference and World Class Assistant Certification live course, I ask them “What are your goals?” “What are you trying to accomplish?” Our conference and World Class Assistant™ our very different learning events. At our conference we have numerous speakers, it’s a much larger event and shorter sessions. Our World Class Assistant™ Certificate course is limited to 20 attendees. I am the only person teaching, we go very deep into the material and there is ample time for skill practice. Do you see the difference?

    I thought I would give you a quick overview of the various training platforms for assistants and a few words of wisdom.

    Conferences for Administrative Professionals


    There are conferences and then there are conferences. They are not all created equal. I am amazed at how many assistants (and even training companies) intertwine verbiage when talking about training or conferences. For those of us in the training/adult learning industry, there is a difference. Even within conferences there are differences. I see some offer a one-day workshop with no frills and title it a conference.

    A conference usually has the following elements:

    • A Welcome Reception or some type of gathering the night before the main learning event.
    • Multiple speakers and I don’t mean 2 people. At our administrative conference, we usually have about 11 – 13 speakers. Really big conferences have 40 or more speakers.
    • Often have concurrent sessions. However, we do not offer concurrent sessions every year because we like it when attendees are in the same room hearing the same great presentation. Our past attendees have really liked this feature.
    • Exhibitors ranging from big exhibit halls to small tables. Again, this is where we differ a bit. Historically we have only allowed our speakers to set up tables and sell their books. Last year, we had several companies interested in setting up a display in our Success Store and it was great. We will be doing this in the future.
    • Conferences usually have 50 or more people.
    • Presentations usually last 60 – 90 minutes. There may be some half-day workshops, but not too many.
    • Last several days.
    • Low-level engagement from attendees.
    • Usually have some sort of special event one night for attendees.
    • Sometimes the day before the conference actually starts, the hosting organization may offer full-day certification training.

    Conferences are great if you want to network with a lot of different people, and hear many different speakers.

    Live Training Event (such as a workshop, seminar, or certification course)



    Elements of a Live Training Event or Administrative Workshop include:

    • Usually only 1 or 2 individuals are presenting and facilitating.
    • Limited number of attendees. We limit our on-site training classes to 25. We limit our WCA certification and designation course to 20 so that each attendee gets personal attention from me.
    • Focused content.
    • Skill practice for attendees.
    • High-level engagement from attendees.
    • Variety of learning activities such as mind-mapping, brainstorming, role playing, and creative exercises.
    • Accountability after the class by the attendee.

    Webinars for Administrative Professionals


    Paid or Free? As you know there are paid and free webinars. One is not better than the other. Of course, free webinars sound enticing because they are free. Again, not all free webinars are created equal. It depends on the presenter and their ability to keep you engaged.

    Also, the topic is important. Will the topic being covered help you achieve your goals? What are the learning objectives of the webinar? Do they align with the skills you need to develop or enhance?

    Live or Replay? For me, attending the live webinar is great. I can almost feel the energy through the technology of the presenter or attendees. A replay is useful in case you can’t attend the live event or you want to hear the information more than once. Often I am taking notes during a webinar so I might miss the way something was said. I encourage you to at least sign up for the webinar so you will get the replay link in the event you miss it.

    Video or PowerPoint Presentation? I have watched many webinars where I only see a still picture of the presenter and hear their voice as they go through all their slides. Personally, I want to see the presenter’s face. It’s just my personal preference. I am less apt to be distracted with something else in my office when I see their face as they present. I also feel a connection with the person.

    At Office Dynamics, we have been offering free monthly webinars since January 2015. Most often it is a video presentation where you see me or me and my guest presenter. (And Jasmine, too.) It’s great! What works best for you?

    Before participating or watching a replay of a webinar, write some specific goals related to the topic being covered. Be sure to take good notes as you watch the webinar because it’s hard to remember everything afterward. Try to immediately identify which action steps you are going to take from what you learned while the information is fresh in your mind.

    Online Learning vs. On Demand

    These formats are often interchanged. They are basically the same. At Office Dynamics, when we say “online learning,” we are referring to actual training courses.

    Then we refer to the video-taped sessions from our conference as Conference On Demand. It is an online learning program but it only focuses on our conference for that particular year.

    Virtual Instructor-Led Training [VILT]


    I bet you never heard of this. VILT is Virtual Instructor-Led Training. That is where I would be present a live workshop from Las Vegas to a group of assistants in a company in another location. It is as if we were in one room together. I can see the participants and they can see me. It is live. Participants can ask me questions and I can ask them questions.

    VILT is a cost effective way to present training. There are no travel expenses involved. A company can even have assistants from multiple locations/offices attend the program.

    What’s Next for You?

    Of course, you want to take advantage of free training. Then you should supplement that with formal training. I highly recommend live conferences, workshops, retreats and boot camps because you gain so much from talking to people face to face. You have opportunities to talk to the speakers after they have presented; can ask your personal questions in private with the presenter.

    Plus 99% of assistants say the one thing they love about attending live classes or conferences is the networking! By far, assistants love sharing with their peers, hearing about challenges other assistants face and learning best practices.

    You might also consider how you best learn. I learn best by seeing what someone is explaining to me or seeing it in writing or seeing the person presenting. I learn best in a live event or if someone works with me one-on-one.

    I am an avid reader and especially like to read hard copy information because I flag important pages, highlight important tips and techniques, and underline information that I want to revisit.

    Steps toward planning your administrative development in 2017.

    1. Write your goals for 2017 in terms of skills you need to develop; skills you want to take to the next level; and gap areas where you have little to no knowledge.
    2. Prioritize your learning goals. What do you need to tackle first, second, third and fourth?
    3. What does your manager think you should focus on? You should always get your manager’s perspective, especially because you want them to support you with your training and development?
    4. create a spreadsheet that lists your areas for development and then crosswise list the platforms you will use to develop that skill. You can even make a column to list resources as you find them.
    5. You can really make this fun. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Take one bite at a time. Of course, you can’t do everything at once.
    6. Research. Really read a website. I can’t tell you how many assistants and executives don’t know all the education programs and products Office Dynamics offers because they don’t take the time to look around our website. Even clients who have worked with us for years don’t know I offer private coaching or that we offer a full-day workshop for managers and assistants.
    7. Read bios. Who is teaching? What is their level of expertise?
    8. What do you hope to get out of the time you spend?
    9. Track your progress throughout the year. Give yourself a star or reward when you accomplish a goal. If you get off track, get back on track.


    Something we did to make it easier for assistants to determine what is best for them with all the options Office Dynamics offers was to create a page on our website listing all the training options based on an assistants’ or managers’ goals. You might want to check it out here.

    Good luck!

    Joan Burge

    The post Choosing Administrative Training That’s Right for You appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 08:43:25 on 2016/10/24 Permalink
    Tags: , admin conference, assistants, , , ,   

    Do you have what it takes to be Revolutionary? Admin Conference Recap 

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    admin conferenceDo you have what it takes to be Revolutionary?

    Well, I have finally recuperated from hosting our big conference. It was a huge success and was worth all our time and energy. Our event this year was much bigger (in numbers) than 2015 and we were in a much larger convention space area than ever in the history of Office Dynamics so it took a tremendous amount of mental and physical energy on my part for 4 full days and nights. I was quite exhausted for several days after our event but it was the good kind as I was very pleased to meet the needs of hundreds of assistants.

    We had amazing speakers who focused on how to be revolutionary. I thought it would be fun and useful for me to share some of the best points I heard from our speakers and share a few of my own words of advice. Maybe you can think about how to apply the ideas to your own role.

    First, though, let me tell you why it’s important to be revolutionary:

    • Become an indispensable strategic asset to your leader and organization
    • Create opportunities for yourself
    • Minimize career risk
    • Be taken more seriously by management
    • Experience tremendous self-satisfaction
    • Be more influential

    Dr. Daren Martin is the author of the bestselling book, A Company of Owners. Daren encourages all employees to think like owners. Daren says “owners” are fundamentally different from employees. They have a psychological stake in the success of the company that drives their daily behavior. They treat the company as if it were their own. They take losses personally; celebrate successes as if they were their own; have an enterprise mentality versus a silo mentality. Is this you?

    Peggy Vasquez talked about creating your inner circle. She asked some self-reflection questions such as:

    • Who is influencing you?
    • Who are you role modeling?
    • Are you modeling behaviors that attract meaningful connection?

    I hosted a session with our Gold Sponsor, Steelcase Inc., regarding Making the Modern Workplace Work for You. We discussed the pros and cons of the new open collaborative office environment. While you currently may not be experiencing this, I’m sure it will come your way over the next few years. It will be important for all workers to be adaptable, flexible and considerate.

    We loved advice from Chrissy Scivicque, who just released her new book, The Proactive Professional. After years of research, Chrissy was able to identify the proactive skillset. How would you rate yourself in each of these areas?

    • Big picture understanding
    • Situational awareness
    • Future focus
    • Strategic foresight
    • Intentional action
    • Self-evaluation

    We absolutely loved Colette Carlson, author of Step Up and Speak Out! Colette said assertiveness shows respect to you and others. It’s a core belief we are equal as human beings regardless of job title, status or life experiences. She shared several timeless truths:

    • Speaking your truth is being honest with yourself.
    • Speaking your truth is being honest with others.
    • Speaking your truth is an alignment of your thoughts, words and actions.

    The ever-inspiring Lisa Olsen taught us how to think like Leonardo Da Vinci. Lisa reviewed the 6 Principles of Da Vinci Thinking. I’ll share one principle with you that you can start using right away, it is called Curiosity (an insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning). How can you sharpen your question asking skills so solutions will start to come to you? Here are some ideas:

    • Begin by asking the “naïve” questions that others are prone to overlook.
    • Ask awkward questions like: Why is this a problem? Is this the real issue? Why have we always done it this way?
    • Ask: What will happen if I ignore it? What possibilities have I not yet considered?

    We had several other awesome speakers but I will stop here since I’m sure you have to get back to your work.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to host another amazing conference and we are already planning our 24th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence which is themed The Accelerated Assistant.

    In case you were unable to attend our 2016 conference, there is an On Demand option available for purchase. Watch sessions from this year’s conference wherever and whenever. Watch Now!

    Have an awesome week.

    Joan Burge



    The post Do you have what it takes to be Revolutionary? Admin Conference Recap appeared first on Office Dynamics.

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