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  • feedwordpress 17:51:49 on 2020/08/13 Permalink
    Tags: Communication Skills, , ,   

    Top 4 Timeless Skills for Assistants 

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    In 2020, assistants faced an array of challenges in the workplace and the future has already shown to be just as challenging. Your ability to thrive and navigate through the uncertainties thrown your way will require a particular skill set – timeless skills. As companies reshift their goals this year, and executives are faced with…
  • feedwordpress 14:30:41 on 2020/05/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , Communication Skills, , , strengths and characteristics of a good assistant, ,   

    Timely and Effective Communication Strategies for Assistants 

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    Timely and Effective Communication Strategies for Assistants

    We all know that communication is the cornerstone of any organization’s success. It is even more important in times of crisis. So how can you effectively communicate with your executive, colleagues, and partners while being sensitive to interpretations and time constraints?

    In this Timely and Effective Communications blog, we are going to cover how as well as ways you can use communication to maximize productivity and reach goals. You’ll learn about:

    1. The importance of timely communication and resources to help you execute it.
    2. Keeping people in the loop. 
    3. Delivering bad news.
    4. Dealing with emotional reactions. 
    5. Tactfully voicing your opinions. 
    6. Navigating through different communication styles and choosing the most effective medium to relay important details.

    And much more! At the end of this blog, there is a helpful video that goes into detail on parts of the information presented above. If you are ready to better yourself and your career as an assistant, read on.

    1. Timely Communication

    Over the years, you have likely heard Joan and other people talk about timing is everything when communicating with others, especially when we want them to be open to an idea or suggestion. 

    If you are not thinking about the who, what, when, where, and what tool to use, you will not have as great an impact. Your goal should be to create win-win situations by reaching the recipient when it matters the most. 

    Prioritize your communications by asking yourself questions such as: 

    • If I don’t inform my leader or coworker about this, what can be the impact? 
    • What damage might occur?
    • What form of communication is proven to be the most effective based on my rapport with the recipient? Do they respond best to emails, calls, text messages, etc?
    • What words can I use in the subject line to address the urgency of my message?

    In our last Survival Tactics Series blog: Working in Tandem with Your Leader, we covered best practices for verbal and written communication.

    2. Keep Appropriate People in the Loop

    Who needs the information you are privy to? While we do not want to overshare with too many people, we do not want to leave people out of the loop. Even if they do not need to take direct action, it may be helpful that they know what is going on.  

    3. Delivering Bad News

    No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. You should remain sensitive to how those receiving the news may react. To do so, follow each of the points below: 

    • Communicate bad news promptly.

    A typical response to bad news is “How long have you known?” If you have known for a long time but have not shared the news, people may feel that they have been cheated or that you do not trust them. 

    Recognize that there is no good time for bad news—share it as soon as you can. 

    • Do not just email.

    Email alone comes across as unfeeling and distant. If possible, avoid leading with email and opt for a verbal approach. If you have no option but to use email, follow-up the correspondence with a telephone call, in-person meeting, or video call. 

    • Communicate more than once.

    Provide additional details and updates in follow-up communications. Especially if the news is serious, people take in bad news gradually. After they have grasped the essential message, they will want details.

    4. Dealing with Emotions

    People will respond to news, opinions, suggestions, and ideas differently. If you find yourself in a situation where you or the recipient is responding out of emotion, take a moment. If you are communicating the news, be open to the recipients’ position. Let them talk without interrupting. If you can’t agree, end the discussion for the time being. You can say something like “I understand that this is important to you and I want to take some time to process what you have just shared. Let us pick back up on this at a later time. I will reach out via email with some options. Let me know what works best with your schedule.” This allows you to digest the situation, gather your thoughts, and respond with decorum.   

    5. Tactfully Voice Your Opinions

    While we should always be able to tactfully voice our opinions, we need to be extra tactful during delicate times. The reason being people are extra sensitive during these times.

    • Think about the words you will use.
    • Do you have facts to back up your ideas?
    • Do not verbally attack the person.
    • Be considerate of the person’s opinions. 
    • If something is needed from you as a result of the discussion, establish a timeline for sending that information to the person. 

    6. Navigating through different communication styles and choosing the most effective medium

    In our trainings, we talk about four styles of communication by referencing colors. Here is a quick overview:

    Red: Is short and to the point; they are more logic-oriented than “feeling” oriented. Be more businesslike with red. 

    Blue: Is more informal; they can take small pieces of information and connect the dots. This color is creative and sensitive.

    Yellow: Is like blue, they like to give and receive information but may stray from the subject.

    Green: Is precise, orderly, structured, detailed, and factual.

    You can reference our Communicating In Style, With Style blog for more details on each color as well as our Communication Style Assessment. You will make headway by communicating in the recipient’s style. 

    You can discover all 14 timely and effective communication methods through our Survival Tactics Series for Chaotic Times: Timely and Effective Communications assistant webinar.


  • feedwordpress 16:57:36 on 2020/03/23 Permalink
    Tags: clear communication, , Communication Skills, Covid19, , , self-confinement, slow down   

    Quick Tip #97: Take Foot off the Gas 

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    I hope you and your family are faring well during these difficult times. This month’s quick tip will help you slow it down, which we’ve all been forced to do in our own lives. That said, while so much of our business is in person, I want you to know that we are also here via phone or video technology should you need help with messaging and communication preparation during this unprecedented time period. Stay well and healthy! See you on the other side!

  • feedwordpress 18:27:26 on 2020/03/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , Communication Skills, , , , , , , ,   

    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 14:30:00 on 2019/11/15 Permalink
    Tags: , Communication Skills, , ,   

    7 Ways Executives Can Improve Communicating with Their Assistants 

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    I have been fortunate to gain a three-dimensional view of communication between executives and assistants:

    I was an assistant for 20 years thus understanding what I needed from my executive so I could be effective. I worked with a variety of managers and executives, each with different personalities and communication styles.

    Since 1990, I have been the CEO of my own company and have worked with several of my own assistants. I have noticed the impact my communication (or lack of) has on my assistant’s ability to do a great job.

    Since 1990, I have been teaching executives and assistants how to improve their communications with each other. While technology is a wonderful tool to use, it creates much confusion and depending on the sender, many details can be left out.

    As an executive, if you want better results from your assistant, you need to be a better communicator. Here are 7 tips I highly advise.

      1. Be precise with the details of a project. When you provide more information about a project to your assistant, your assistant can put the pieces of the puzzle together. Your assistant will be more proactive and able to schedule the timing for the project. Plus, your assistant will be less inclined to waste time going down the wrong path.
      2. Assistants often tell me they want more direction from their executives. Yes, a rock star assistant should not need much direction but in reality, they do need direction.
      3. Clarify your expectations when it comes to tasks. What do you expect your assistant to do? Do you expect your assistant to write that thank you card? Or schedule personal appoints? Do you expect your assistant to be the lead assistant for the department? What about doing research on topics for an upcoming meeting? Many executives think assistants are mind readers. You and your assistant should have sporadic conversations throughout the year to discuss who handles what.
      4. Communicate the future. As an executive, I often have ideas in my head as to what I want to do or what is coming up in the next 3 to 6 months. Instead of waiting until we are on the heels of that particular thing, I have quarterly meetings with my assistant. In the quarterly meetings, I share what I see on the horizon over the next 3 months. We discuss these items in detail and identify the who, what, when, and where. I determine if we have the bandwidth to even do what I want to do. This list then becomes our monthly and weekly Action Item list. In our quarterly meeting, we also set priorities.
      5. Open communication is a must if you want to build a strategic partnership with your assistant. Your assistant should feel comfortable in being able to express his or her ideas and thoughts. You should be comfortable discussing areas your assistant needs to improve or if you were not satisfied with something your assistant did. You know you have a strategic partnership when you are “comfortable with the uncomfortable” conversations.
      6. Keep your assistant in the loop. I’ve always said, “The more in the loop an assistant is, the better job the assistant can do.” Your assistant needs to know what is going on. This is very difficult today as more and more executives handle their own emails, schedule their own appointments, and make their own plans. Be sure to copy your assistant on emails. Talk to your assistant about the outcomes of a meeting. Make assistant aware of special projects you will be involved in.
      7. Be interested in your assistant as a person. Do you know about their family? Hobbies? Their favorite color or food? Is your assistant dealing with a family crisis that may affect your assistant’s ability to be focused at work? There are ways to learn about your assistant as a person, without getting personal.

    There is no greater relationship in the workplace than that of an executive and an assistant. They can be a powerhouse team that impacts the business. Like any good relationship, it takes time, effort, and a desire to create that dynamic. Communicating more effectively will ensure that happens.

    Joan Burge

    Founder and CEO

    Office Dynamics International

    executives and assistants working in partnership

    The post 7 Ways Executives Can Improve Communicating with Their Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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