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  • feedwordpress 16:15:44 on 2019/06/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Self Development   

    Getting Things Done 

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    Getting things done in the workplace is one of my favorite topics to speak on and write about. I have been passionate about this topic for 28 years. Administrative assistants continue to struggle with how to keep up with all the demands placed upon them in a time-compressed world and yet maintain quality.

    I will share with you some of my favorite tips. And you can get more tips on this subject by going to Office Dynamics YouTube Channel.

    Coping with Conflicting Priorities

    • Ask for specific deadlines. Do not accept the “a.s.a.p.” answer. How many times do you ask a manager or someone who is giving you a task, “How soon do you need this?” The typical response is “as soon as possible.” Change your question and you will get a different response. Instead ask the person, “By when is the latest I can get this to you?”
    • Early in the day, clarify with your manager(s) what are the most important priorities. I highly recommend doing this first thing in the morning as what you thought was a priority at 5:00 pm the day before, could have totally changed because your manager (like many others) is working at night and early morning. Always clarify the top 3 priorities for the day.  
    • When struggling with which “A” priority to do first, ask yourself, “What is the impact of not getting this done today?”

    Organizing Your Workspace

    An organized workspace reduces stress, gives the impression to others that you are on top of things, and saves you time.

    • Remember your workspace is a part of your professional image.
    • Your workspace is not storage space.
    • Place the most frequently used items closest to you.
    • Use desk trays to keep paper items and folders neatly organized.
    • Your inside drawers matter too.

    Neutralize Information Overload

    We are exposed to a tremendous amount of information in a day.

    • Don’t read everything that comes your way. Learn to scan information and determine which items really need attention.
    • Assess your information sources. Make sure the source of information is credible.
    • Use your highlighter to mark important information, deadline dates, or aha information. (electronic or hard copy)

    Tips to be Productive

    • Standardize your processes.
    • When given a project or task, try to get all the information at once. Many times, your manager just gives you bits of information. Be assertive and ask for more details or get the bigger picture to reduce back and forth time or going off on the wrong tangent.
    • Establish some quiet time throughout the day to re-assess your priorities.
    • Recognize the time of day you are most productive. At that time of day, do your most intense work or the work that will take a great deal of focus or brainpower.
    • Throughout the day, as you are doing your work, search for simpler and faster ways to do that task.

    Don’t confuse. . .

    . . . activity with results

    . . . hard work with results

    . . . efficiency with results.

    You can be active and very busy but running around in circles. A professional is someone who cares about the results, not just the activity.

    The post Getting Things Done appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 15:15:34 on 2019/06/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Self Development   

    5 Must-Have Skills for Progressive Assistants From Joan’s book, Who Took My Pen… Again? 

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    You are a top-performing, high-achieving administrative assistant who has accomplished much. You have the fundamentals down pat and even demonstrate advanced skill sets. So where do you go from here? What might be missing from your bag of skills? Here are 5 areas that are sure to challenge you:


    • Accountability is about being responsible, being present.
    • We are accountable to each other and to ourselves. Even if no one is watching over your shoulder or your executive travels 90% of the time, you have to answer to yourself. When you don’t follow through—not doing your job—the department or group you support falls apart.
    • Being an accountable person means you know this life is no dress rehearsal! This is a one-shot life and you are giving it your all, every day.

    Why is accountability important?

    • Credibility—your reputation is on the line.
      • Your executives need to know that even though things shift, change, plummet, switch up or fall apart, you are the glue that will hold it together.
      • Credibility means never cutting corners. No shirking duties.


    • Whatever you talk about, you need to demonstrate.
    • Meet deadlines.
    • Be diligent.
    • Don’t make excuses.

    Change Agent

    A change agent:

    • Is someone who adds value by strategically thinking about what has always been done.
    • Adds new thought and wisdom to mundane or critical tasks.
    • Solves problems and improves the world, one day at a time.
    • Has the courage to see things that are and know they could be better.


    • Be a peacekeeper.
    • Accept fresh, new ideas.
    • Present new ideas.
    • Teach yourself to think “yes” instead of “no” when listening to others’ ideas.

    Creative Thinking

    There are numerous applications for using creativity in the workplace:

    • Improve communication.
    • Become more organized.
    • Build stronger teams.
    • Reduce costs.
    • Make a better decision.
    • Conquer the challenge of change.


    • Get comfortable with not thinking status quo.
    • Quit looking for the perfect answer.
    • Put your ego aside and quit worrying that other adults are going to think you are silly or frivolous.
    • Place a picture by your desk that speaks to your creative side.

    Decision – Making

    • Decisions are made daily, often without even realizing it.
    • Decision making is key for productivity and growth.


    • Understand the objectives and situation surrounding the issue.
    • Educate yourself on your leader’s decision-making style.
    • Consider potential blind spots and biases you may have. What areas are you ignorant about?
    • Generate possible solutions.
    • Think through and evaluate potential outcomes, possible barriers, and risk vs. advantages.
    • Decide and then evaluate your decision.
    • Avoid making emotional decisions, with only your heart. Use your head.

    Future – Focus

    • Think of the future in terms of:
      • new projects
      • outcomes
      • goals
      • your executive’s calendar
      • important upcoming event
      • potential business
    • Consider trends and changes in technology.
    • Read blogs, articles and materials written by trend analysts. Studying the movers and shakers who create the curve, set the trends and define what the future might be in a week, month or year, makes you valuable to your managers and organization.
    • Being a future thinker will decrease your pressure and stress.
    • For seasoned assistants, future thinking helps ensure you do not become obsolete.


    • Pay attention to the present.
    • Read and anticipate the domino effect.
    • Listen.
    • Visualize your desired results.

    I hope that these tips will help you become that high-achieving administrative assistant!

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    The post 5 Must-Have Skills for Progressive Assistants From Joan’s book, Who Took My Pen… Again? appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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

    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.



    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
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    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.


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

  • feedwordpress 14:45:50 on 2019/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: , Self Development,   

    If I Were (Was?) Rich… 

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    The play Fiddler on the Roof recently came through my city, and my friend kept singing her dad’s favorite song from that hit: “If I Were a Rich Man.”

    My comment? “I’m glad the lyricist got the grammar right!”

    Why is the use of “were” (not “was”) correct in this song title and similar phrases? Consider the conditional meaning associated with using an “if” clause. In this case, the lyrics “if I were a rich man” reflect a wishful condition, not a true statement.

    You may recall how Tevye, the character who sang this song, lamented his lowly position as a milkman and wondered what wealth would bring to his life. If at one time he had been rich, he could factually say, “When I was a rich man.” But in this context, he could only hope to be rich.

    What about the song “If I Were a Carpenter”? Here, the lyricist correctly uses “were” to depict a hope or dream, not a current fact.  

    When “Was” is Correct

    So when would you use “was” (not “were”) in an “if” clause? When it introduces an indirect question or statement of fact. Examples:

    • The boss asked if I was (not “were”) finished with the report. This factual statement is based on what’s true or possible, not something hypothetical.
    • If he was (not “were”) guilty, he would have remained silent. This states a fact that’s likely true, not something conditional.

    In the statements you make, remember to use “were” when the situation calls for being conditional, hypothetical, or wishful. And like Tevye, it’s how you can make a plea for the wealth you wish for!

    Want more tips like this to hone your writing skills and advance your career? You’ll find 18 Days to Become a Better Writer an easy-to-use e-guide. Start today by clicking here.


    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource to 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 webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    The post If I Were (Was?) Rich… appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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