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  • feedwordpress 17:30:40 on 2019/11/04 Permalink
    Tags: , conference,   

    Administrative Assistants Broaden Your Skillset 


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    administrative_skill_setsAt our recent Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, I surveyed 350 attendees about the topics they would like me to address at future conferences or training events. I wanted to know the areas the assistants were interested in growing and learning about.

     

    We had each attendee write their idea or ideas on an index card; we collected the cards; and I read every single card, some of which had more than one topic listed. From the index cards, I created a chart.

     

    What surprised me after looking at the list was that many of the requests had to do with the typical administrative skills or tasks such as: managing multiple managers, dealing with difficult people, managing stress, calendar management, and troubleshooting. I hardly saw requests for advanced competencies or areas of interest.

     

    As we get to the end of this year and are on the cusp of a new decade, I want you to seriously give thought to your career. Make some time for you! Assistants are great at taking care of everyone else and not making time for themselves. While this is admirable, it’s not cool! If you want to be viewed as a strategic partner and considered an extension of the management team, you need to make time to look at your own development.

     

    Here is my advice in step order.

     

    1. Over the next few months, make time to consider where you need to grow in 2020. Break it into two main areas:
      1. Soft skills
      2. Hard skills (be specific)

     

    When it comes to figuring out your soft skills, enlarge your vision; don’t just look at the tasks such as meeting planning or calendaring. For example, what are the skills you need to be excellent at meeting planning?

    • Excellent communication skills
    • See the big picture
    • Attention to detail
    • Analytical skills
    • Critical thinking
    • Persuasion
    • Problem solving
    • The ability to execute

    These will give you a clue as to the skills you need to develop.

     

    1. What is your learning preference? Do you prefer live classes or online? Think about how you learn BEST not necessarily what is easy and convenient. I surveyed our administrative conference attendees about their preference, and I was pleasantly surprised to see live classroom training still far outweighed live webinar, online courses, and blogs/articles. Personally, I prefer live classes or conferences over online.

     

    1. Take into consideration your budget. However, there are exceptions. Your organization may not have a budget for your training but that does not mean you can’t take training. Learn to invest in yourself. It is the best investment you will ever make.

     

    1. Research learning opportunities. When I started Office Dynamics 30 years ago, there was not one training company solely devoted to administrative and secretarial training. Today, there are hundreds of options for assistants to learn and grow.

     

    At Office Dynamics, we offer A – Z when it comes to programs, courses, materials, and events. We have learning tools that accommodate every budget. Find what is right for you.

     

    Word of Caution: While there are hundreds of choices for administrative assistants today, do your homework. Everyone out there does not know what to teach assistants. Some have never even been an assistant. Be a good researcher and get accurate information. Also, ask for referrals.

     

    1. Write a plan. This is the hard part and most people (of all walks of life) don’t want to take the time to write a plan. Yes, this is the most difficult part. However, once your plan is in place, it is easy. You can break down your plan to quarterly or monthly if that makes it easier.

     

    1. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will tell you what you need to hear and nudge you when you get complacent.

     

    1. Execute! Don’t make excuses. We all are busy and can easily say, “I’m too busy. I don’t have time for this.” Or a popular one for assistants is, “I can’t leave my desk. My executive just won’t function without me.” Believe me, they will be fine, and, in fact, they will appreciate you even more.

     

    Make a commitment now to yourself. You deserve it!

     

    Joan Burge

     

    P.S. Some of the requests I saw from the survey that I liked were career pathing, diversity/inclusion, garnering respect, A. I., leading admin groups, and marketing yourself.

    The post Administrative Assistants Broaden Your Skillset appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:15:39 on 2019/05/21 Permalink
    Tags: , conference, ,   

    Conference for Administrative Assistants – How to Get Your Executive’s Approval 


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    Most of the time assistants tell me they can’t attend our conference for administrative assistants or training because of budget cuts or not getting financial support. Sometimes it really is a budget issue. I understand that perfectly as a business owner and CEO. But often, it’s just lack of knowing how to sell the conference to the executive. Have the courage to go after what you want. That in itself is a learning experience. Below are strategies that really work. I used them when I was an assistant and needed to convince my executive to send me to a conference for administrative assistants.

    Points to Consider
    1. You need to continually learn and grow. In today’s competitive marketplace and at the pace this profession is changing, if you do not continually enhance your skills, build new ones, and have a strategy for your career, you will get left in the dust.

    2. Don’t feel guilty about being out of the office to attend a program or conference that will make you better equipped, faster, smarter, and sharper. 

    3. Get your executive to see the long-term payoff. Often executives think about the number of days you will be out of the office. You need to help them see that while you may be gone three or four days, you will gain skills and knowledge that will take you, and them, into the future. 

    4. Executives travel all over the country. Why shouldn’t you? Some assistants tell me they can only attend seminars that take place in their city or state. That is not 21st Century thinking. Assistants should be a business partner to their executive, so start acting like a business partner and convince your manager why you should be allowed to travel out of state.

    5. Don’t give up. If you really believe this training will help you professionally or even just rejuvenate your enthusiasm about your career, realize it may take three or four attempts to convince your manager. You may have to try different ways or formats to persuade your executive and, remember, timing is important.

    Principles of Persuasion

    1. Know exactly what you want to accomplish by attending a conference for administrative assistants. List your objectives alongside each topic in the curriculum and how that will tie into your current job or prepare you for the future.

    2. To be a good seller, consider the buyer’s viewpoint. Try to put yourself in your executive’s position. What key selling points would be important to your executive? How will your executive benefit from you attending the conference?

    3. Learn what motivates your executive. Is your executive motivated by ROI (return on investment), the skills you will develop or you learning from an acclaimed expert in the field? Does your executive believe in personal development and growth? If not, it will be a harder sell but don’t give up; be persistent.

    4. Keep in mind the format you will use to present your case. Try to gauge your receiver’s communication style preference. Does your executive prefer information short and to the point or does your executive like details? Is your executive a visual person? If so, provide graphs or charts to make your point. Or for example, use visuals from the administrative conference site and pull them into PowerPoint or mini-posters to communicate with your executive.

    5. Tie key learning points of the conference for administrative assistants to your professional development plan for the year and to the goals of your department.

    6. Show your executive how what you will learn will help you in specific areas of your job. For example: Let’s say one of the topics covered will be learning and understanding communication styles. Tell your executive you will use that information to be a better communicator by tapping into the receiver’s style; build rapport with internal and external customers; and complement your executive’s and his or her staff’s communication styles.

    7. If your executive still says no to the conference for administrative assistants, sincerely ask your executive why he or she believes this is not a good investment. You may be able to counter that perception.

    8. It always helps to let your executive know that you will share what you have learned with other assistants in your organization. But be absolutely cognizant of copyrights.

    9. Emphasize the benefits of networking at the conference with peers and learning from others in the field.

    10. Negotiate if necessary. Ask your executive to pay the registration fee and hotel and you’ll pay your airfare. Or you pay for your hotel stay and ask your executive to pay for registration and airfare. Be creative!

    11. If all else fails, maybe you need to make the financial investment in yourself. Yes, I said you make the investment. I know several high-performing assistants who have spent thousands of dollars on their development and have reaped tremendous rewards over the years.

    GOOD LUCK!

    joan_burge_signature

    The post Conference for Administrative Assistants – How to Get Your Executive’s Approval appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:00:41 on 2019/05/14 Permalink
    Tags: , conference,   

    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.

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

     
  • feedwordpress 19:00:54 on 2019/03/07 Permalink
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    Empowering Tips for the Administrative and Executive Assistant – Part 2 


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    In part one of “Empowering Tips” I mentioned that the word Empower is not only the theme of the 26th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, it is used in a variety of situations and conversations. I highlighted the many professional and personal development focuses that I have learned from Office Dynamics resources, conference, team, and owner – Ms. Joan Burge.  

    As much as confidence is a key component to embracing and defining your own empowerment, courage is another major component. One thing I hear Joan encourage during conferences, webinars, and one on one conversations is to be courageous. She encourages self-growth, learning, and being in charge of your own development. To borrow a quote from Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed book – “Success is about expanding yourself where you are currently planted.”

    It takes courage to accept where you are planted, to recognize your strengths, and see areas of growth as shining opportunities to create the best version of yourself. Being courageous by setting goals that challenge your comfort zone and utilizing the resources that you currently have empowers you. Joan has said several times that we are all capable of so much more than we are currently doing.

    During my very first meeting with Joan, a meeting by mere chance in a restaurant before the conference, Joan asked me what I was expecting from the conference. That question ignited thought in me, as stunned (and unprepared) as I was to actually be face to face with her, I dug down and pushed through my shyness and found the courage to make the absolute most out of this short unexpected meeting of chance with a woman I truly admire!

    Part of my response was that I wanted to connect with others in my chosen field by sharing tips and questions and answers. She smiled and encouraged me to reach out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to as many attendees as I could; to learn from everyone I met.

    That was way out of my comfort zone! It took courage to go up and talk to women I had never met, let alone ask them questions and engage in full-blown conversations. I am so glad I did though! The friendships and tips I took away from my first ever Administrative Professionals conference was empowering to say the least. After attending the 24th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, I returned home with more courage to share professional ideas at work. I dedicated time to self-care as often as possible, and focus on professional and personal development goals.

    Courage to push yourself even a little out of your comfort zone empowers and encourages self-discovery. When I attended last year’s conference, I was even more confident and courageous, connected with several attendees, and asked a lot of questions. Each opportunity to connect with others and to share ideas empowers us. I encourage you to seek opportunities both professionally and personally, that encourages empowerment of yourself and others. 

    How do you find courageous ways to expand yourself where you are planted? What are some ways you recently pushed beyond your comfort zone?

    dana_buchanan

    Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager.

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    The post Empowering Tips for the Administrative and Executive Assistant – Part 2 appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:15:25 on 2019/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: conference,   

    Empowering Tips for the Administrative and Executive Assistant 


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    The word Empower is not only the theme of the 26th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence it is used in a variety of situations and conversations. It is also an excellent mantra keyword and topic for personal and professional mission statements.

    There are several ways to feel empowered and encourage empowerment in others. During conversations, I have had the privilege to have with Joan Burge she has always encouraged the true meaning of empowerment for all, especially those in the administrative profession.

    The main topic of most conversations, not only with myself but also with other professionals and conference and/or training attendees is encouraging everyone to:

    • Take control of their professional and personal life by being confident in their own abilities
    • Accepting challenges as opportunities to grow
    • Continuing to constantly learn & expand your knowledge beyond your own career field
    • Purposefully create opportunity in every situation (be purposefully visible)
    • Find your inner circle of support and actively connect with them
    • Set stretch goals
    • Celebrate accomplishments enthusiastically
    • Take pride in the profession
    • Make time for family, friends, faith, and fun
    • Accept projects that challenge you

    Confidence is a major key component to embracing and defining your own empowerment focus. Whether you feel confident in your current abilities, experience, and comfortable with your personal and professional life or if you are feeling a lack of confidence, the empowering tips above can help you define your direction. Feeling less confident is not a weakness; it is an opportunity to focus on areas you can grow in.

    Creating a mission statement or mantra and setting personal and professional goals can boost confidence and empower you. Confidence is being certain about the truth; knowing and appreciating one’s own abilities through that truth. To be certain of something you should feel comfortable and knowledgeable. Goals that include opportunities to learn, challenge comfort zones, inspire creating, connecting with supportive others, and promote inner happiness build confidence, which empowers individuals to accept and celebrate their unique qualities.

    How do you encourage personal empowerment and inspire others to do the same?

    Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager.

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    The post Empowering Tips for the Administrative and Executive Assistant appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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