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  • feedwordpress 13:30:22 on 2018/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: Uncategorized   

    What to Do When You Have to “Fix and Polish” a Message 

    polished_email

    Suppose your supervisor emails you a message that says, “Fix the attached” or “Polish this piece.” What does it mean to fix or polish a business message? In addition to correcting punctuation, typos, misspellings, and grammar glitches, what’s required beyond that?

    First, find out what your supervisor thinks it needs. Where does it fall short? What’s missing? Whether or not you receive an answer, go through the following key questions yourself:

    1. Why is this piece needed? What’s its intended purpose? Because readers are busy, you must immediately make clear what this message is about. A specific title or subject line goes a long way. For example, instead of writing “For New Customers” you might write, “5 Ways to Communicate with New Customers.”
    2. What should the reader do, think, believe, or remember as a result of this piece? Does the communication specify what you want readers to do and by when? How easy is it for them to first understand the instruction and then take action? For example, if it’s a letter to a credit card company about a dispute, make it clear what you want, e.g., future credit or a refund. Then state when you want a resolution, e.g., “before the next payment cycle on June 23rd.” Put this call to action near the top!
    3. How long should your sentences and paragraphs be? Ensure your message comes across in short, easy-to-read sentences. My rule of thumb is not more than 21 words in one sentence or 3-4 sentences in one paragraph. Why? It’s hard for anyone to track your meaning when sentences ramble, especially when they’re part of long paragraphs. People scan more than they read; they can take in short sentences and paragraphs more quickly than long-winded ones. Don’t make it seem like hard work!

    Here’s a 58-word sentence that could be chopped into three sentences, making the message easier to follow:

    ORIGINAL: While it’s true that a portion of the budgeted dollars (less now than in past years) is spent dealing with design and construction deficiencies, most of the maintenance budget dollars are spent for normal upkeep and operational costs, for example, landscaping, fire protection, access control, equipment maintenance, power washing, lighting, painting, HVAC maintenance and repairs, and so on.

    REVISED: Yes, a portion of the budgeted dollars (less than in past years) is spent on design and construction deficiencies. Yet most of the maintenance budget dollars are needed for normal upkeep and operational costs. These include landscaping, fire protection, access control, equipment maintenance, power washing, lighting, painting, and HVAC maintenance and repairs.

    1. How can you use polite, positive language to persuade others? Remember, a positive outcome should be the goal of every communication. Your objective may be to retain a customer, win a contract, build a relationship, gain approval, or advance a project. Always spell out benefits: e.g., resolution, improvements, increased profit, etc. And be polite by using words such as welcome, thank you, please, appreciate, happy to, and value your input. If your piece doesn’t include positive language, then why send it at all?

    When it’s up to you to fix or polish that important message, use these questions as your checklist every time.

    1. Why is this piece needed? What’s its intended purpose?
    2. What should the reader do, think, believe, or remember as a result of this piece?
    3. How long should your sentences and paragraphs be?
    4. How can you use polite, positive language to persuade others?

    EXTRA: Barbara offers a FREE 30-minute teleclass sharing tips on better business writing, Wednesday, June 13th at 4 pm PT / 7 p.m. ET. Register 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 so you can 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. You can enjoy a $30 discount at checkout by using the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi

    wordtrippers_grammer_course

    You can enjoy a $30 discount at checkout by using the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi

    The post What to Do When You Have to “Fix and Polish” a Message appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:30:01 on 2018/05/29 Permalink
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    A Story of Inspiration for all Administrative Professionals 

    The Gillie Watson Story

    May 21, 2018

    I will never forget Gillie Watson. Gillie attended my World Class Assistant certification and designation course in Las Vegas many years ago. I was impressed with Gillie the minute she walked in the meeting room as she was polished, professional, and friendly. She was an eager student even though she was a very seasoned executive assistant in a high-level position supporting a President in a large organization in Denver.

    During our World Class Assistant course, I teach the importance of a Career Portfolio. I go into great detail as to why you need a portfolio and what your portfolio should encompass. I also cover how to market yourself with the portfolio. During the class, I allow time for attendees to create the first hard copy draft of their portfolio. Everyone gets a three-ring binder and they assemble a draft. We also talk about resumes and a unique tri-fold marketing piece. Gillie had gotten her draft done and then when she went back home, she created the real portfolio.

    Thank goodness Gillie had her career portfolio, resume and tri-fold marketing piece done. Within a short time of our World Class Assistant course, Gillie went to work one day as she always did. When she arrived, she was told she could not enter the building or go to her desk for a few days. Her executive had been let go. Wow! Gillie was stunned.

    Being a World Class Assistant, Gillie took her CWCA credentials, career portfolio, and everything else she had learned in that class in Las Vegas and within one month found herself being offered a great position in another large organization.

    Over the years, Gillie stayed in touch here and there. She had one or two more job changes and once again armed herself with the right tools. I also need to say that Gillie is an outstanding executive assistant and has always maintained a professional, polished image. Gillie is a life-long student. After her live World Class Assistant course, she continued to learn from my webinars, books, Monday Motivators, and online courses.

    I had not heard from Gillie for a few years. Life got busy for both of us.

    Low and behold on Monday, May 14, 2018 Gillie called my office around 5:00 and said she really needed to talk to me. But I was not in the office. She told my assistant, Melia, that she had very good news to share with me and I would be delighted. Melia gave me the message and I immediately called Gillie.

    Recently the company Gillie had been working for was going through a merger and she was no longer going to have a position. Gillie told me that once again, she used all the tools she had learned from me, plus all her knowledge gained over the past several years and applied for a job in the morning on Monday, May 14. It was for a very high-level EA position to a CEO in Denver. Before the day ended, the CEO offered her the job with a six-figure salary plus stock options, plus, plus! She had landed the job of her life—and Gillie is about to turn 70.

    I was tickled to death when Gillie told me that when she interviewed with the CEO, she was like a mini-Joan. She used the language I had taught her years ago about being a strategic business partner, which the CEO loved to hear. I am extremely happy for Gillie. She deserves this as she has consistently pursued excellence and has continued her learning.

    Gillie said there were many lessons in her story that she wanted me to share with assistants and so that is what I am doing.

     

    1.      No matter your age, always be a student. Your career circumstances can change in a day and you need to be ready to compete. Gillie said this is especially important for baby boomers who may think they are at the end of their career and they don’t need to sharpen the saw. For years, I have told assistants there is no such thing as job security. You must keep learning. If you are not moving forward, you are falling behind and you will be left in the dust.

    2.      Gillie said it is very important for baby boomers to stay modern, look modern, and act modern. Gillie sent me her new materials which included her photo. I was blown away… Gillie looks fabulous! Whatever she is doing, I want some of it. She has completely changed her hairstyle, her face looks youthful, and she has contemporary eyeglasses that suit the shape of her face.

    3.      Gillie emphasized the fact that this CEO wanted someone who was very experienced and seasoned. There is something to be said for years of experience in the administrative field. If you are a young person starting in the profession, make sure you take this career seriously. Strive for excellence and learn from the older generation. Learn business etiquette and protocol. It does matter. Learn excellent communication skills and how to have human moments. You do not build deep relationships on a device.

    4.      The fact that Gillie had a professional designation did matter. For those individuals who attend our World Class Assistant course and complete specific objectives, they can earn their CWCA designation. CWCA stands for Certified World Class Assistant. Credentials do count today. They show you went the extra mile and take your career seriously. If you are interviewing for a position and you and the other candidate are pretty much equal, the credentials will set you apart.

     

    In closing, you are never too old to achieve the job of your dreams! Life is constantly surprising us. You will want to be ready.

     

    joan_burge_signature

     

     

    Certification_Designation_Administrative_Assistants

    The post A Story of Inspiration for all Administrative Professionals appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:52:45 on 2018/05/21 Permalink
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    Life Reframed 

    Monday_Motivators_Home

    As we come upon Memorial Weekend, I thought I would share something very personal and deep with you but with a happy ending.

     

    For 10 years, I have not enjoyed Memorial Weekend. Why is that when throughout my life I always enjoyed every holiday? It was because ten years ago, on Memorial Weekend I was in the emergency room with my husband David who was very sick. We did not find out until 4 months later that David had pancreatic cancer. He fought a good fight for 3 years but it was on another Memorial weekend when Dave was taken to an emergency room because the cancer came back with a vengeance. That was to be Dave’s last Memorial Weekend on this earth. Even though I have been with family and friends on Memorial Day, I never really enjoyed myself.

     

    Another holiday I have not liked at all since 2014 is 4th of July! I always loved fireworks but on July 4, 2014, I was taken to the emergency room in Las Vegas because I had severe head and neck pain and became very sick. That night lying in the hospital bed (while fireworks were going off), I was told there was a large mass in my head. Oh dear God! Not me. This can’t be happening. Many of you do not know the full story but I will be brief. I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called a clival chordoma. It was massive. I was very ill. Eventually, my sister and son took me to California where I had an excellent medical team from John Wayne Brain Cancer Institute. I was gone an entire month. My 10-hour surgery was a success. They removed about 95% of the tumor. The other piece was too close to my brain stem. I go for regular MRIs. The great news is I am now able to go once a year and all my reports have been outstanding.

     

    But the point is… I have not enjoyed hearing fireworks. They have only brought back bad memories for me.

     

    When something catastrophic happens in your life, you are deeply affected and it can take years for the bad memories to leave or be replaced with new, wonderful memories. I know because I have worked at it and I have found great joy the past 4 years.

     

    Life Reframed:

    My life and thinking have been reframed because of something that happened in April and something that is happening Memorial weekend. In April, I had my first visit for training at Walt Disney World. It was a magical experience and week for me. The first night I watched the fireworks and I felt happy to see them because this was really great news that I was working with Disney. The next night, something magical happened to me while the fireworks went off and I will never forget that night. So you see, now I like fireworks again. I am crying as I am writing this for you but I have tears of great joy.

     

    Today, I am heading to Disney World in Orlando for more training. On Memorial Weekend, my daughter and granddaughter are coming down to be with me for 4 days. Wow. No more sad Memorial weekends. I will now have beautiful new memories of this holiday.

     

    Why am I sharing this with you?

     

    Because I want you to know that your life can be reframed no matter what happens to you. And to never, ever lose hope.

     

    I thank all of you for being in my life, even if I don’t personally know you.

     

    Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day holiday.

     

    joan_burge_signature

    The post Life Reframed appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:43:18 on 2018/05/17 Permalink
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    Lessons from ATD Convention 

     

    There was no shortage of information, lessons, best practices, and thought-provoking conversations at the ATD Convention my team and I attended last week in San Diego. In case you did not see my Facebook posts, there were over 11,000 attendees from around the world; 300+ concurrent sessions; 400+ exhibits in the big convention hall, and an amazing networking night aboard the USS Midway! ATD stands for the Association for Talent Development and is the world’s largest talent development association.

    training_for_executive_assistants

    I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the notes I took. Beyond my notes, think about how you can apply this information starting this week or at least start planting the seeds in your brain.

    • Purpose matters. People want more out of work than money.
    • Millennials are bringing purpose to the forefront of today’s business culture.
    • Why does purpose matter so much today? #1 Empowerment (shortages in skilled labor; attrition of top talents; short tenures). #2 Engagement (is an effect, not a cause; engagement does drive outcomes). #3 Evolution of Human Consciousness (reinventing organizations)
    • Purpose and meaning are not the same things. Purpose means intention, objective, goals based on your deepest core values. Meaning is of value, significance, and important to me.
    • People with purpose are more comfortable with diversity.
    • Purpose helps us through tragedy and loss.
    • (From DDI research) There is no difference in skills between men and women. Women are better at focusing on their development. Men take on more international assignments; they are more confident.
    • To help increase focus: #1 Focus on an important task for 20 minutes (chunking). #2 Minimize distractions. #3 Take a break to mentally rest between focused tasks.
    • (Marcus Buckingham) You CAN find love in what you do at work. You will want to purchase Marcus’ book when it is released: 9 Lies About Work.
    • (Masie Productions) We have to break rituals.
    • (Rita Allen Associates) Emotional Intelligence in simple terms: #1 Identify your emotions. #2 Assess your emotions. #3 Control your emotions. We have to think of ourselves holistically—we have to take care of all parts of ourselves.

     

    I have a ton more information to digest. I will try to share more great ideas on my Facebook Fridays. You can join me on Fridays at 10:00 am Pacific Time.

     

    Make it an amazing week!

     

    joan_burge_signature

    The post Lessons from ATD Convention appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:00:37 on 2018/05/06 Permalink
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    Meeting New People as an Administrative Professional 

     

    conference reception for networking

    Meeting new people as an Administrative Professional is cool! Think about all the people you have met because of the people you support and where you work. Where else would you meet such a broad range of individuals? Many executive assistants and administrative assistants work with a variety of cultures. Even in my “good” old days as an executive assistant, I worked with people from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and France.

    In our company, we have been so fortunate to meet administrative professionals from Russia, Japan, Italy, and Qatar.

    Then think of all the high-caliber people you have met through your executive or organization. Do you ever stop and think about how fortunate you are to have met such a repertoire of people? What about any local networks you have developed through your job?

    Do you ever stop to think how fortunate you are to meet so many diverse individuals because you work in the administrative profession? How many people would you not know if you didn’t work in the administrative profession—or for the executive you support? Are you showing an interest in others? Do you extend yourself to learn about people even though they don’t think just like you? Do you try to know the people your executive knows? Do you display a good attitude with everyone you meet? Is your network vast?

    Be Cool! Get to know others — you may learn something new — and you never know who they might know that you need to know!

     

    joan_burge_signature

    Joan Burge
    Founder and CEO

     

     

    The post Meeting New People as an Administrative Professional appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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