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  • feedwordpress 16:15:28 on 2018/10/02 Permalink
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    7 Tips for Administrative and Executive Assistants 

    Being an Administrative or Executive Assistant is not always a walk in the park. There is always a fire to be put out, there is the juggling of 9,000 different tasks, and sometimes you are an assistant to more than one executive or manager.

    Simply put, not everyone can handle the position of Administrative or Executive Assistant.

    With that said, there are tips and tricks out there that are being used by assistants to make life a little less hectic. I’d like to share some of our practices here at Office Dynamics.

     

    Make A List

    Making a list simply allows you to organize your thoughts and decide what tasks need to get done ASAP versus those that can wait until the end of the day.

    There are several different ways you can do this. You can use one of those fancy digital apps or you can physically write out a to-do list. I’ve found that when I write things down I’m not being distracted by emails popping up or different notifications. Also, I found that starting my to-do list first thing in the morning, before I check my emails, allows me to think about everything I have to get done for the day. I encourage you to try different techniques and find what works best for you.

     

    To Multitask Or Not To Multitask

    As I write this I know many readers will think to themselves, “I work best when I multitask.” When in fact that may not be as true as you think it is. Studies have shown that those who multitask experience an IQ score decline similar to those that have stayed up all night.

    Another study shows that performing multiple tasks is less efficient because of the extra time it takes to shift mental gears. Joshua Rubenstein, Ph.D., of the Federal Aviation Administration says that your brain must actively decide to switch tasks, then choose a task to switch to. Once you’ve switched tasks your brain needs to “shut off” the rules from the old task and “turn on” the rules for the new task. All of this leads to inefficiency in the workplace.

    Think of someone filling out a finance form in excel then switching to writing an email that concerns the items needed for a meeting.

    Joan Burge, Founder and CEO of Office Dynamics, has written and spoken about avoiding multitasking as well. Read her article, Why I Think We Should Kill Multitasking.

    I understand that being 100% free of multitasking is impossible and it’s tough to go from multitasking to not multitasking but I can personally say my work efficiency has increased since making the change.

    To read more about this, visit the link below!

    https://appliedpsychologydegree.usc.edu/blog/to-multitask-or-not-to-multitask/

     

    Email Conversations

    How often have you had a conversation with your Executive or Manager, discussed the details of a particular project or a meeting and then you both forget what was discussed and agreed upon?

    By sending a quick “FYI/follow up email” that confirms your conversation, you will avoid confusion and have a record of what was said.

     

    Passwords and Logins

    Let’s be real with ourselves. We have more logins and passwords that we know what to do with. To add on top of that, when we forget a password and have to make a new one they ask for so much to be included in the password like a capital letter, a lowercase letter, a symbol, a hieroglyph, the wing of a dragon, and your first born child’s fingerprint. Well, it’s not that bad but you get my point.

    There are several things you can do to alleviate this stress/pain.

    • Use Password Managers such as 1Password or LastPass. This will help manage all your passwords and keep them in a safe digital location. (My highest recommendation)
    • Rely on major companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google. A lot of the time you can use these platforms to create an account and use as a login.
    • Write them down. This is a bit “old school” and some people may say that this isn’t a great idea, however, if you treat this document like any other valuable document then you could use this idea.

     

    Get Used To Saying No

    It is OK to say no…well, depending on who you are saying no to.

    There are many people in the workplace that feel the pressure to say “yes” to anything when they are asked. Whether it is to be more liked, to show they can take the extra responsibility, or just because they can’t say no.

    But whatever the reason is, you need to realize that saying no is ok. By learning to say no (more often) you are doing multiple things. You are:

    • Setting boundaries.
    • Lightening your workload by not taking the workload of others.
    • Reducing stress by taking on less work.
    • Not agreeing with opinions you don’t believe in, you are not putting your own morals in question.
    • Showing respect for yourself, and others will respect you as a result.
    • Not putting yourself last.

     

    Stay On Top Of Trends and Technology

    Let’s face it. The advancement of technology today moves so fast that we have a hard time keeping up with it. By the time you get the new iPhone or Android model, there is already another one announced. If you buy a laptop that is one month old you have to update it several times just to be up to date.

    Mobile apps are being added to the app-stores every day without notice.

    It really is overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. When you stay on top of technology and take the time to read on the latest trends (in your area of business) or find an expert that can recommend the best tech to use, it really will help your learning curve and cut down on the “catch up” research.

     

    Weekend Bucket List 

    Take the time to make time for the important stuff in your life. Whether you do this on your lunch, at home, or part of your morning routines, you need to do it. If you head into your weekend with the idea of getting something done, more than likely you will do it.

    By completing your Bucket List or part of it, you will walk into the new week with a sense of accomplishment, clear head, and weight off your shoulders.

    Side note, it is ok to pamper yourself a little for the crazy week you just put in, make sure to do this every once in a while.

     

    Finally

    These tips and tricks are here as suggestions and if you decide to try them out that is great but what we would love is to hear some tips and tricks that you could share!

    We are a growing workforce and the more help from each other, to each other, the better.

    So, what are some tips and tricks that you can recommend to your peers? Let us know in the comments below!

    For other tips and tricks read, 9 Ways to Improve Your Organization Skills.

    The post 7 Tips for Administrative and Executive Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:00:27 on 2018/09/27 Permalink
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    Make Your Meetings More Engaging 

    Whether you have been coordinating meetings for decades or days there are some simple tips to follow to make any meeting more productive and the attendees feel welcomed. There are times when meetings seem to plan themselves especially when the majority of the week is spent attending or planning several meetings! People may quickly migrate to an open room and start discussing random topics, etc. or an agenda is created, the room is reserved, but the topics are not clear. The planning doesn’t stop once an invite is sent out, does it?

    So how can you make your meetings more engaging?

    • Create a clear agenda
      • Note who needs to attend and why (their role, involvement, etc.)
      • Define a timeframe
      • Clarify the main topic and any subtopic points
      • Categorize or assign topics to attendees if appropriate
      • If necessary, provide background data before the meeting in a bullet point format
      • Develop a few questions that need to be answered (to stay on topic)
      • Request special equipment/room setup if required

     

    • Room setup
      • Reserve the room/location if necessary
      • Make sure room is set up appropriately for the specific meeting (if another meeting was there prior, can that format work for your meeting)
      • Provide a few notepads and pens in case they are needed
      • Test the equipment, monitors, lighting, temperature, etc.
      • Provide a pitcher of ice water and cups for guests

     

    • The Extras
      • If a meal is required ask about food restrictions, etc. (and provide mints or gum)
      • Provide trash/recycling bins and cleanup options
      • If guests are coming from out of town or outside the organization ensure they have directions, clear instructions on where to check in, who to ask for, etc.
      • Inform security or receptionist of incoming guests if necessary
      • Create a building map, contact sheet, etc. for invited guests
      • Make copies or provide data via a shared drive, jump drive, email, etc.
      • Take detailed minutes if appropriate
      • Keep the meeting focused on the topic during the allotted time and schedule additional meetings as needed

    I realize some of these may seem time consuming or simple, but it’s the little extras that can make a meeting more productive and the attendees more comfortable and ready to focus. With a clear agenda and appropriate setup, a meeting can be spent on the main topic, not on distractions or rearranging a room.

    What process do you always use to ensure a meeting is engaging?

     

    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

    The post Make Your Meetings More Engaging appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:15:33 on 2018/09/19 Permalink
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    Choose A Positive Attitude 

    From Joan Burge’s new book, Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed (2018)

    I HAVE BEEN SPEAKING on attitude since 1990. What I said in 1990 still holds true today. You have a choice when it comes to your attitude. You are not a victim of your circumstances. It is not what others do or say that matters; it’s what you choose to do with what you have and choose how you want to respond.

    Regardless of our individual circumstances, we all have one thing in common—we choose our attitude. That is great news because it means we can change it any time. If we feel the urge to get upset at someone, we can say to ourselves, “That’s not going to help the situation any. I am going to stop, think, and then speak.”

    Our attitudes are delicate and fragile. If we do not take care of them, we are sure to feel the effects—everything from the quality of our work degrading to fading relationships. Did you know that your attitude also affects your health and even longevity?

    The challenge people face with attitude is they read books, listen to podcasts, watch Facebook videos, or hear motivational speakers on the subject but have a difficult time truly implement­ing it. That is because motivation is an inside job. It isn’t something that happens to us; we have to create it. So, what can you do?

     

    Combat negativity

    Listen to what you’re saying to yourself. Instead of saying, “Nothing seems to be going right today,” mentally rephrase it to, “Wow, I’m really being challenged today to think creatively.” You are in control of your own thinking. You can change that old record and stop feeling like a victim. You can get support from family and friends, but you ultimately must take responsibility for your own attitude. Your sister may tell you that you look happy in the com­pany photograph but if you tell yourself … ‘happy’ helps her avoid telling me that I gained weight, you sabotage a compliment. Don’t.

     

    Set goals and make a specific plan for your career

    When you measure progress you feel in control. If your company offers continuing education opportunities, for example, and you complete two out of four successfully, ‘notify’ yourself that you’re halfway through the program. The proverbial glass is half-full and not half-empty. Most importantly, this is a solid achievement—one that is easily measured so you can hardly argue the point.

     

    Don’t belittle your job or employer

    Work provides you with a purpose, challenges you, puts food on your table, enables growth, and stimulates your thinking. Look at work as a gift. Be happy you have a job. It may not be ideal, but let’s be realistic, no job is ideal. If you aren’t feeling energy from your work, maybe it’s because you aren’t putting creative, positive energy into it.

     

    NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

     

    The post Choose A Positive Attitude appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:50:06 on 2018/09/18 Permalink
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    Impression Management 

    The client wanted me to turn eight unprofessional storytellers into professional storytellers in four hours. At completion, her company had hired a professional video crew to tape these people telling their stories in two minutes or less, based on the tips we shared with them. The plan was to show their finished video stories at a corporate meeting. The crew was available for two hours, so the client said surely, I had plenty of time.

    Realizing she didn’t understand the time frame wasn’t realistic, I offered options including bringing multiple coaches with me, so we had more time to help each individual shape, craft and practice delivering their stories.

    The client didn’t want to pay for multiple coaches.

    I suggested that we prepare over multiple days.

    The client said they didn’t have more than a day. She said when they recorded their stories on video, I would be there to coach them through, so they would be receiving professional help.

    Besides, she wondered, if eight stories are less than two minutes long, that’s sixteen minutes. She pointed out the camera crew is there for two hours, so even if it takes some longer than others, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to have everyone tape their stories. She said that’s what her boss wants.

    No matter who her boss is, it’s not realistic.

    Telling a clear, crisp concise story is not a born trait. It’s something learned, honed and practiced. With instruction, worksheets, some pre-work and a very structured session plan, I was confident I could help them tell their stories more effectively than when they first walked into the room.

    However, even seasoned professionals often need multiple takes and on-the-spot coaching requires starting and stopping. Expecting people with no real experience to sit in front of a camera and recite their stories on video to be shown at a corporate meeting is completely unrealistic.

    My client is what some would call a very ambitious worker who simply wants to know how to move a project forward in a way that gives the impression she is right on top of it. She wants to appear cutting edge.  The one who comes through. The term for this is impression management.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a great impression. Most of us try to put our best foot forward so people will like us or feel they can count on us. Impression management is very important for leaders who want others to follow. But there must be a balance between authenticity and impression.

    In this case, the client could inadvertently be setting me up to fail, which will backfire on her. Instead of nailing it and impressing her boss, if we don’t deliver exactly what she wants, she will look bad. She will blame poor outcomes on us, even though she failed to heed our advice or speak up on our behalf.

    Impression management is defined as: “a process whereby someone tries to influence the observations and opinions of others about something”. For example, a manager might attempt to control information provided by a consultant, to give their boss the most favorable impression about what they can deliver.

    Baylor University Professor John Carlson has studied this behavior in the workplace and calls it “deceptive impression”. In his research, he labels people like my client “sycophant” which typically means brown noser. Carlson calls sycophancy the most highly used form of impression deception. He says these people do not provide genuine opinions or honest feedback to their superiors, for example, enthusiastically endorsing their superior’s idea even when they don’t like it.

    Interestingly, he concludes that sycophancy, has no significant effects on the relationship between the supervisor and supervisor’s evaluation of the subordinate’s performance.

    That leads me to believe the real losers are program participants and other employees, who could be reaping far more benefits if their superiors communicated clearly.

    In a similar event earlier this year, our team was hired to provide presentation training for a senior group of leaders. The client wanted us to teach her team how to become better presenters and provide “techniques to communicate messages”. Yet, she was unavailable for planning calls, didn’t respond to e-mails and despite repeated calls, failed to provide materials to help us prepare.

    After the program she said, “this was a terrific program and we all benefited greatly”, but observed the agenda “didn’t allow enough time for new comprehensive message development to be incorporated into the training”.

    On Sunday night, the evening before the program, she sent our lead trainer a multi-page wordy document of talking points and potential messages. No direction, no context. It was lengthy, written in corporate speak and difficult to understand. Then, without informing us, she sent the same document to her team. She instructed them to read it, use it to develop and write their own messages and bring it with them the next morning.

    These are people who have no experience with message development. They came to the program confused, stating they didn’t understand what they were supposed to do.

    What the client wanted and what she communicated to us were very different. Had she explained she was after comprehensive message development and subsequent presentation of those messages, we would have advised and structured differently.

    Like storytelling, message development takes time and is critical to an organization’s branding and marketing. Trying to do everything in one day is not realistic.

    Marge Piercy wrote a poem called To be of use. In it, she talks of people who strain in the mud and muck to move things forward. She writes “The work of the world is common as mud. Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.”

    Chances are, both clients want to do well. Like many, they are probably inundated, overwhelmed and buried in more work than they can handle. Hiring you is something they were told to do. Now that they’ve checked that box, they just want you to show up and deliver so they can focus on other things.

    The key to any successful project is clear concise communication. If outcomes fall short, sometimes it’s not a reflection on the work your team is doing, which is not to say that all of us should always be open to suggestions that help us improve.

    In case you’re wondering, the storytelling program was a huge success. Given the limited amount of time to turn inexperienced communicators into great storytellers, they did exceptionally well. The client said she was happy and her boss was pleased. However, she added, this should have been spread out over several days as they really needed more time.

    As for the other client, who was also trying to do so much in so little time, we set up a call and she took our advice. She wants us to allocate more time to facilitate message development with multiple teams before trying to help them deliver.

    Go figure. Sometimes, things just work out as they should.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:32:58 on 2018/09/13 Permalink
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    Assistants Worldwide Who Contributed to a Gratitude Book 

    I am overwhelmed by the hundreds of assistants worldwide who contributed to a Gratitude Book that was presented to me by my son, Brian, on my birthday (August 16).

     

    I don’t really take the time to stop and think about how I impact tens of thousands of administrative and executive assistants around the world. I just do my work. I focus on how I can help assistants live a better life, increase their productivity, and improve the quality of their work life. My work is not work. I love being of service, helping others, being with people and making friends across the globe.

     

    So, of course, I was overwhelmed as I read email after email about how a person’s life was greatly impacted by me—my teachings, lessons, words of wisdom and inspiration, and strategies. I was deeply touched by the words many assistants used to describe me, such as: elegant, well poised, great leader, energetic, smart, vibrant, and always has a smile on her face.

     

    There was one cool piece Judy B. wrote that I’d like to share with you. Judy said:

    You get what being an administrative person is.

    You get what we go through at work.

    You get the need for flexibility, professionalism, teamwork, and the need for confidentiality.

    You get that sometimes we’re the behind-the-scenes support, but that we don’t often get the recognition we deserve.

    You get that sometimes we need another person’s shoulder to lean on for administrative encouragement.

    You get that some of us are administrative junkies and always will be, so we’re forever learning more and growing more.

    Yes, you truly get it!

     

    If you would like to read some of the great notes of gratitude I received or look for your own note, you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

     

    If you contributed to my Gratitude Book, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am deeply touched and grateful for you.

    The post Assistants Worldwide Who Contributed to a Gratitude Book appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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