Last Revise: 3/29/16
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As a former Executive Assistant for many years, I have mastered the art of what will help you become a valuable asset to any busy executive and want to share them with you. You may find some to be very helpful that you can start using right away to make you more efficient.
These are easy to learn, yet effective techniques that are used by thousands of Executive Assistants. Together, we will address the specific behaviors that are used to support the highest of senior executives. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an Administrative Assistant and an Executive Assistant? It’s not a secret. It’s not what you do, but how. What qualifies me to write on the subject? I have been an Executive Assistant for almost 20 years and have decided to share my experiences and add some useful information on communication that I learned while working on my Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.
Since you are all presumably working as secretaries and administrative assistants already, you should all have the basic skill of typing at least 50+ wpm. For heaven’s sake, if your typing isn’t at least 50wpm, get on that keyboard and type, type, type. If you have access to the internet, there are online typing tests that will calculate your words per minute and you can practice to your heart’s content. Go to http://www.typingtest.com/ and test yourself. Today, 8/7/10, I tested at 82 wpm with 3 errors for a total of 79wpm. You can do it too!!! After a few weeks, you should see a gradual increase in your typing speed and you’ll hardly notice that you’re practicing because you should be having some fun. And please tell me that you can all TOUCH TYPE (type without looking at your fingers). This is essential and will significantly add to you typing speed.
Alright. I know that some of you may be on your well deserved, yet rarely taken lunch hour, on the train or bus or curled up in a nice comfy chair at home. So without further ado, let’s go straight to what this blog is all about… tips and techniques that I have found to be effective as an Executive Assistant.
SET THE TONE FOR THOSE POTENTIALLY BORING MEETINGS:
To add some interest at staff meetings, sales meetings, etc., some fun ideas are to print the agenda on colored paper and add a decorative, holiday friendly border or insert a picture pertaining to the holiday or meeting agenda item. Whatever the meeting’s main topic is, insert a clip art and a cartoon bubble with something funny but not offensive in the bubble. For instance, if the meeting is on upcoming deadlines, you could either insert a clip of a funny character like Homer Simpson and in the cartoon bubble, write “Doh!” or you could insert a clip of two hands “high fiving” as if co-workers are saying “Yeah, we rocked it!” So, those are just examples of how clip art and color can be implemented in a fun way for meetings. Also, when employees see colored paper, it sparks more of a curiosity then simply passing around the same old boring white page with “Agenda” splashed on it at the top. Also, the clip art will get people laughing and interacting with each other, which sets a good mood for the meeting because everyone enjoys a good chuckle. Also, employees like to see that the agenda setter has set a new tone for the meeting and this one little thing can make the difference in how employees receive and respond to what is being said about the topic. They should be engaged a bit more when the meeting starts instead of everyone looking at their watches and thinking “OMG, when is this gonna be over, it’s close to lunch?” But remember before implementing a new idea, run it by your boss or supervisor. Then get creative with it and these meetings can have a new look, new border, new picture and presto! you’ve just contributed to improving employee morale, even if it’s on a minute level……still better than no change at all, right? Again, this is what will set you apart from your ordinary admin. Work like the administrative professionals that you are, which lets your boss know that you have good ideas also.
You’re on the front line, you are the company!
Always remember that to all outside callers, you are the company.For internal calls, you are an extension of your boss and represent the department. When you answer the phone, speak from your throat, not your nose. You never want to shriek or sound shrill to callers. Remember Fran Drescher’s voice in The Nanny? Imagine hearing that voice when calling the President of a major corporation. Not the greatest first impression. For those who aren’t familiar with this sitcom from the nineties, The Nanny, played by Fran Drescher had en extremely nasal and shrill voice. Practice a few times into a mini cassette until you hear (and feel) the difference. When your voice sounds throaty and velvety smooth, you’ve got it.
Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a thorough message (time, date, name and telephone number) on a carbonized message pad if that is what you or your executive prefers. However, I will show you a new way that is a constant giving and taking of paper, with you taking the total initiative, but your boss will never have to search his/her desk for those little messages again. Here’s how it works:
Using colored paper (not a dark color, but definitely not white) you will type his name and date at the top of the page in the center and under that a column for the caller’s name and message. The reason you want to use colored paper is so that your boss can easily locate it on the desk among the white paper.
When someone calls, you’ll type the caller’s name, phone number and message, print it out and give it to the executive. Of course, if your boss is not at the desk at the time, you will continue adding to the log until e/she returns to the office.
Give your boss the log so he/she can begin reviewing messages and returning calls promptly. As your boss returns calls, he/she will cross out the names of everyone who’s call has been returned. Now, remember, that while your boss is on the phone returning calls, you will be adding calls to the call log on your computer as new calls come in. Periodically (you decide when), you will go in to get the old log where your boss has crossed out the names of people who’s calls were returned. You will update the log by shading the names of the people that he/she has called back. You do this by highlighting OR striking through the entire line (name, message and all), clicking on “Format” and then “shading” then choosing one of the lighter shades of gray and clicking “OK” or use the strike through method.
Do this on your computer to each name that your boss has crossed out, leaving alone the names of those that were not crossed off. Now the log on your screen has some names shaded, some not shaded and any new calls that came in. Now, print this sheet and give it back to your boss. At a glance, your boss will be able to see everyone who called, including those whose calls were returned and those that must still be called back. There has been so many requests for the call log that I’ve recreated it below.
Here’s how it should look:
Name of your boss and date at the top.
Johnnie B. Good
May 1, 2011
9:15am Bud Weiser 212-555-1212 re: the budget
9:23am Dr. DoLittle 212-555-1213 confirming lunch
10:30am Candy Barr 212-555-1213 mtg on 6/2 postponed
Previous Days (these are ALL the message from every previous day. Sometimes it may be months of calls. That’s ok. You boss knows he hasn’t called them back because they’re still here on the list.)
4/30/11 Robin Byrd 212-555-1214 email her the report
4/30/11 Harley Davidson 212-555-1514 returning your call
Note: Update your log on a new sheet every few calls or every call depending on how frequently the calls come in. You will be doing this all day long, but your boss will only have one place to look for ALL of his messages, instead of wasting time scrambling around looking for loose messages from a message pad. You have now created a time management tool for both of you!! You will have already instructed him to simply cross out who he has already spoken to so you can remove them from the list OR just shade it out (see above) until the end of the day and then you can remove it on the next day’s log if you like.
After a while, even when he’s on the phone and you come in to take the old log to update it, he will automatically start handing it to you when you motion for it or pluck it off his desk if he is busy. I have never had a boss who didn’t appreciate having ALL of his messages in one place, one sheet, ALL OF THEM. You’re a super star in the making!
Don’t forget you can email me at any time for answers or help at LettersToMyFather@yahoo.com.
At the end of the day, you’ll create a new page in your log document and type, “Previous Days”. This is where you’ll cut and paste all the people that your boss hasn’t spoken to yet, so that the first page is always left for the current day’s calls. So, tomorrow, you will print out the first sheet with the current calls and the second sheet with the “previous days’” calls.
By now you’re probably thinking “Ok, she’s nuts. I’m not doing that all day long; that’s too much work.” Well, I agree with you that it is a lot of work and it is all based on your taking the initiative and being proactive. But, this is the type of extra activity that Executive Assistants do to simplify their boss’s work day. Executive Assistants always take extra steps and go beyond the call of duty to minimize confusion and maximize productivity for themselves and especially for their boss(es).
But don’t worry, stick with me, it gets easier from here.
SOCIAL STYLES (not personalities)
Now, let’s take a look at your boss. There are basically four different social styles in which we communicate. Many people confuse someone’s social style with their personalities. Ever notice how someone can be the nicest person in the world, but at work they behave differently? That’s their social style at work and their personality outside of work. Each style gives and receives information differently. If you can identify your boss’ style (as well as your own), we can begin improving the communication process between you.
Drivers are business-like and want the facts. They want you to get straight to the point. are very decisive and can be impatient and demanding. Drivers want power, control and authority. Their primary focus is on results. To effectively communicate with a driver, be clear, specific, brief and to the point in a business-like manner. Have all of your supporting material, be well organized and present your information logically and efficiently. When presenting facts and figures, give the probability of success and offer options. Avoid rambling conversations and non-essential information. In other words, don’t waste their time or try to build a personal relationship (save that for the Amiables). Don’t bring a disorganized presentation or leave issues open ended. Remember, get to the point, be efficient and thorough, and give them options.
Analyticals need data, data and more data. The more information you provide them, the better.. They are very detail oriented, good at problem solving and organizing and tend to be very thorough and will take their time coming to decisions. Their primary focus is on details. To effectively communicate with an analytical, indicate that you have done your homework and extensive research when possible. Be straightforward, direct and stick to your plan. Detail the positives and negatives to any suggestions that you make and make it known that you are available to see the project through and understanding their desire to be thorough. Avoid being disorganized, messy, too casual, informal or loud. Never rush an analytical! Always follow through and never appear vague. Just the analyticals all the facts and details and allow them time to think it over and make a decision.
Expressives see the big picture and are not interested in details and are risk-takers. They are loud, personable, enthusiastic, love color and tend to be flamboyant and emotional. They seek recognition and visibility. They are primarily right brainers whose primary focus is on creativity. To effectively communicate with an expressive, show interaction that supports their dreams and intentions and your intent to formalize the details of their treatment. Draw out their creativity, opinions and ideas. Avoid being curt, cold or autocratic and never leave decisions hanging in the air with an expressive. Also, don’t be impersonal, judgmental, task-oriented and never talk down to them or appear dogmatic. Expressives are people oriented and will not respond to condescending behavior..
Amiables are warm, friendly, dependable, dedicated and cooperative. They are good listeners, team oriented and very sensitive. They want low risk with guarantees and avoid making decisions. Their primary focus is on satisfaction and proven results for the others. To effectively communicate with an amiable, show your concern for them as a person from the outset and find areas of common ground. Be candid, open, patient and show an interest in their personal goals. Maintain a nonthreatening manner and an casual, informal demeanor Amiables are not risk takers! Assure them that risks will be minimized and provide them with benefits, personal assurances and clear, specific solutions wih maximum guarantees.
After reviewing each style, do your best to figure out which one describes your boss and which one describes you. Then, communicate to your boss in his or her style. That is the key. You must identify the other person’s style and deliver information to them in their own style to maximize the communication experience for both of you. Give it a try. It really does work, even in your personal life.
I discovered that I had been communicating to my husband all wrong. I would call him at work and ask him what I thought was a simple question: “Paul would you like to go to Florida or the Bahamas for vacation?” Paul is an analytical and I am an expressive so he would get flustered and rush me off the phone saying “I don’t know, I can’t think right now, talk to me later.” Can you identify what I did wrong? As an analytical, I did not give him enough information; there wasn’t enough details for him to make a decision. So now, let me show you the right way that actually worked quite well.
“Paul, would you like to go to Florida or the Bahamas next July? American Airlines has a sale for $199 round trip and we can stay at the XYZ resort. We can put it all on Mastercard and pay it off in three months.”
BINGO!! That’s the way to give information to an analytical.
NEW!! Here is a really great book on BOSSES that talks about styles also. It’s really affordable on Amazon. Pick it up if you can to get some insight on bosses.
Take the Initiative – Be Proactive
Let’s say your boss is in a meeting in his/her office that started at 11:30am and it is now approaching 1:00pm and they haven’t made a move towards lunch. Perhaps your boss is reviewing the budget with another executive in the company and they haven’t come up to breathe since they started. It’s probably not that they’re not hungry. They may have a deadline to meet and just don’t want to take the time to run down to the deli for a sandwich and a soda or even call for delivery. Time may be preciously limited.
Go into the office with pen and paper and and excuse yourself for interrupting. Say to your boss “Pardon me for interrupting, but I notice it is almost past lunch time and I was wondering if you would like me to pick up a couple of sandwiches for you (both).” Believe me, after hearing your reason for coming in, they will welcome the interruption and may actually be relieved to take a break long enough to give you their order. This is where your pen and paper come in handy. (Now some of you may say “I’m no waitress” but again, this is what a proactive, efficient Executive Assistant will do to simplify the day of the executive.)
Remember when taking sandwich orders to ask if they want ketchup or mustard and what kind of bread, if it wasn’t made clear. Your boss will happily break out a $20 bill and you’re off to get lunch. Often times, when you take this proactive measure, if you have not had lunch, your boss will likely offer to buy yours as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation.
Upon returning with the bag, don’t just dump it down on the desk and leave. Find a clear spot away from any papers that may be spread out and place each person’s sandwich and drink down…and don’t forget the napkins. Tell your boss that you’re putting his change with the receipt on his desk and ask if there’s anything else you can get them. They will likely thank you, say no and commence to diving into their sandwiches.
Take the empty bag with you and toss it out in your trash can.
SCORE!! You just scored major points with your boss and left a positive lasting impression on his guest. See what I mean? It’s not hard….it’s these little extras that go a LONG WAY.
Note: Don’t forget to have your phones covered while you run out.
Now let’s take a look at our second scenario and this time I’m going to let you get involved. I’ll give you the scenario and then you will choose the best answer. Consider all of the choices, but I want you to choose the proactive answer. Ready? Here we go.
Scenario 2: You are the “gatekeeper” to the head of the department and everyone looks to you as the “go to” person. Bob Smith calls and says that a light over his desk just blew out. What do you do?
A. Tell him to call the Facilities Department
B. Ask him what he wants you to do?
C. Call Facilities for Bob and have them come to you
D. Call Facilities for Bob and have them go to Bob
If you chose C, you are right on track. good job! By you calling the Facilities Department and having the electrician come to you first, you can then walk together over to Bob’s office where you will point out the broken light. Bob certainly could have called Facilities, but would have been distracted away from his job while doing so. If you had called and gave them Bob’s location, you would have no idea when the electrician arrived or if he came at all. Then Bob would call you a second time and you will not know the status.
When Bob called you, he expected that you would take care of it and by choosing C you exceeded Bob’s expectations and got the job done very efficiently.
Note: Again, don’t forget to have your phones covered while you’re away from your desk.
Does your boss do something consistently enough that you can get a good idea of what he/she will need or ask for? This is an extremely valuable skill to master if there are some constants in your boss’ job.
These are my experiences, but you will be able to examine your own work environment and discover ways of anticipating that will work to your favor. I worked for a Senior Vice President who recruited Financial Advisors. He had a series of letters and procedures that he followed depending on what stage of the recruiting process he was in. After a while, I grew to learn which letter came when, so while he was out of the office with the recruit, I prepared the letter and had it on his desk ready for his signature. One less thing for him to remember.
Another example is when I would hear my boss on the phone setting up a lunch date. I already knew what his favorite restaurant was and where he was likely to take the caller. Since I can hear the conversation in detail with time and date, I was able to not only call the restaurant and make the reservation before he even ended the call, but had already added it to his calendar. So when he finished his call and mentioned to me to make lunch arrangements, I could tell him that it was already done and taken care of and in his schedule. You look like a mind reader and yet another efficiency kudo is wracked up in your favor.
Use these examples to identify opportunities in your own job where you can anticipate a need and come out on top. Let’s keep going. I think you’re beginning to catch on now. Again, it’s not hard, just proactive.
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Many of you are probably already doing this, but I’m going to review the importance of time management and prioritizing. The key is to work smarter, not harder.
When you come in, determine what is the most important task that needs your attention. Pay attention to deadlines, time sensitive information and new tasks that your boss may have to incorporate into your day’s work.
In a case where you are given a project that will push back another time sensitive project, communicate this to the owner of the project, so that he or she can come up with other alternatives for getting it completed. Never let a project remain undone because you had other priorities. Communicate everything, keeping the owner of the project in the loop and giving him or her choices on how to get it done, Perhaps someone else can complete it or the deadline can be pushed back. Communication is key.
Working for Multiple People / Staying Organized
Speaking of communication, when working with multiple bosses, you must keep everyone abreast of their work. You want to become the assistant that everyone knows they can depend on to get it done without being micro managed. if you go to them with the status of their project, you will likely prevent them from hounding you for it because they’ll already know where you are in the project.
Create folders for each person that you work for, eliminating papers all over your desk and playing Sherlock Holmes when someone asks you for a project you’ve been working on for them. By having a specific folder for each person, you can quickly retrieve the work without looking frazzled and disorganized. If you are asked when you will be able to finished their particular project, try and assess a reasonable time frame, given other work pending and ask if the date or time you give is acceptable. If you are unable to complete an assignment before the deadline due to other priorities or assignments, communicate this. Perhaps the two bosses can determine which one can wait and lets you off the hook for putting someone second. Let them decide.
Basic Grammar and Spelling
It is very important when writing to know your basic grammar and spelling. Although, most computers will catch these errors, never fully rely on that. It doesn’t hurt to brush up on them yourself. Let’s start with the use of commas, which are sometimes over or underused in sentences.
Commas: When to Use Them.
Commas are used when you want your reader to pause or to divide a list of adjectives. Adjectives are words that describe. e.g. black, short, beautiful, heavy. She lifted the heavy, black bag onto the table. To separate a list would be something like this: He went to the book store, library, restaurant and delicatessen. Avoid run-on sentences where you have too many thoughts that are just separated by commas. If you have to stop and take a breath while reading a sentence, it’s too long.
Semi Colon: When to Use Them
Not many people even know how to use a semi-colon, so I’m going to teach you and put you in the know. It is quite simple. You use a semi colon to break up one thought that can stand alone as two separate sentences. For example: I love to shop at Nordstroms; they always have the best cashmere. Both parts can stand alone as a separate sentence but because it’s the same idea, you can break it up with a semi-colon in one sentence. See, that wasn’t so hard and now you it know forever.
Tip: When typing business letters, always put a colon (:) after the salutation. Do not use a comma (,). Commas are used for personal letters, not for business.
I have found that many people do not know when to use certain common words such as there, their and they’re. So let’s break it down right now and make you all experts.
There – This word is used to describe a different place from here; over there. It’s that
simple. “I’d like to walk over there.”
Their – This word is used to describe someone’s possession. “I like their style.” “I
would like to shop at their store.” “Who is their mother?”
They’re – This is a conjugation of two words — They are. Put together, you get they’re.
“They’re used to having spinach for dinner” “They’re coming over to watch a
movie with us.
Overall Example: They’re doing their own make-up over there!!
Where – Describes a place. Where is the apple pie?
Wear – This word describes attire, something you wear. Today I’ll wear my blue suit.
We’re – This is a contraction of the two words “we are”. We’re going to the movies.
Overall Example: Where are we going to wear our new dresses? We’re almost ready.
Its – This word is another tricky word, but here’s an example on how to use it. There’s a cat outside; let’s see if its mother is close by.
It’s – This word is a contract of the two words “it is”. It’s going to be chilly outside today.
THE I AFTER C RULE
Also, remember the I before C rule when spelling tricky words. It’s I before E, except after C. Here are some words that are sometimes confusing. receive, believe, belief, conceive, achieve, etc. You get the idea. The next chapter will tell you about a website that will help any spelling problems that may arise.
Test your grammar here. Feel free to post your score in the comments section if you like: http://m.staples.ca/sbdca/en_CA/cre/programs/grammarquiz/#.UqDEieqW0EX.facebook
Using the Internet To Your Advantage
The internet can be YOUR assistant. Use the internet to help you write letters and memos. A very good site for online dictionary and thesaurus help is http://www.dictionary.com. Even if you type in the wrong misspelled, the site will make suggestions for the correct spelling. If you are writing a correspondence and need to use a synonym for another word, you can refer to this site and click on the online thesaurus. This is a great (and discreet) way to boost your vocabulary and write like a pro.
If you place international phone calls or need to set up teleconferences with people overseas, I’ve found a great website that you can use to figure out what time it is in the other part of the world, so you can efficiently coordinate times and schedules and appear to be an international time guru. The website is http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/.
Pay attention to detail when performing tasks. If your boss asks you to book him a reservation on a flight to Paris (assuming that you don’t know this information already) before you start to make the arrangements, ask questions. Most times bosses will provide the details but sometimes they’re just too busy.
Here’s what you’ll want to ask:
What dates to book, going and returning and if those dates are at all flexibile (just in case the flight is booked on the dates that he/she wants).
How many seats to book, never assume anything!
If he/she likes the aisle or window?
Does he/she have a preferred airline?
Will he/she be needing a car for arrival and pick up from the airport?
There may be many more questions to be asked that can vary according to your boss, but don’t be afraid to ask questions to avoid mistakes later. Chances are that your boss will appreciate your thoroughness and you’ll know some of his/her preferences for the future.
When making dinner reservations, make sure you know how many will be dining and in who’s name to put the reservation. Also, be sure to get the person’s name at the restaurant with who you make the reservation. People are less likely to be careless with a reservation when they give their name and are personally accountable.
Here’s a tip: If you’re making a dinner reservation well in advance, like say two weeks, call the restaurant a week from the date to confirm the reservation and then again the evening before. Don’t worry about appearing bothersome to the hostess or reservation taker at the restaurant. This is how Executive Assistants stay efficient and proactive. You will have egg on your face and tarnish your own reputation for efficiency if anything goes wrong with these reservations that might embarrass your boss. So feel free to check and double check. That’s what efficient Executive Assistants do.
Car Service Reservation
When making car service reservations, like all other reservations, speak clearly and give the exact dates and times when and where the car will be needed. Again, get the person’s name who you are speaking to and always get a confirmation number! If you are making advanced reservations, call the day before to confirm that the reservation is still on their roster. On the day of the reservation, call the car service at least an hour before the car is to pick your boss up and make sure that a car has been assigned to you. Don’t be afraid to make these calls. The last thing you need is to have your boss standing out on the curb waiting for a car service that never shows!
This came up in a question that was emailed to me and I thought it was worth sharing with you guys. When your boss is taking a trip, yes, I realize there are all kinds of smart phones, ipads and sexy little gadgets that he/she can keep their schedule on . However, always send a typed itinerary with your boss on a trip and keep one on your desk or close by at all times while he/she is away. Here’s why:
If for some reason your boss can’t access their wifi, ipad or their phone’s battery died, they can always whip out the typed up itinerary. But, suppose they were reading their itinerary over breakfast and spilled coffee, tea or hot chocolate on the itinerary and they can’t access their sexy gadgets for whatever reason….guess who they’re going to call? YOU!
Now……since you have efficiently and wisely kept a copy of the itinerary close by at your fingertips, you are ready for a frantic call like this:
Ring Ring……Ring Ring
You: “Good afternoon. Bill Smith’s office, this is Lisa.”
Boss: “Hey Lisa, I don’t have time to talk, my phone died with my schedule in it and I left the itinerary you gave me in the cab. It’s now 1:00pm and I don’t know where my 2:00pm meeting is!”
You: “No problem. Your 2pm meeting is at The Clarke Building at 123 Main Street, 12th floor with Mr. Monroe. Is there anything else that you need me to do for you?”
Boss: “No, that’s all. Thanks so much. OK gotta run. Thanks again Ruth.”
You: “You’re very welcome. Have a great day. Bye.”
What did you accomplish here? Luckily, you were at your desk to take this call. You also saved a lot of time by not having to put your boss on hold to find the information. Instead, you were ready with the information that was needed and allowed your boss to make his/her meeting. Don’t think that your boss won’t later remember how well you handled this situation and he/she may not say anything about it, but just know that you did your thing by being efficient and allowing your boss to keep their schedule.
OK, so I agree that this is a stretch, but not really. This is what I mean by anticipating needs. This kind of efficient readiness is on the executive level. An effective, competent assistant will always have their boss’ full itinerary at their fingertips (but away from prying eyes). So keep it in a folder on your desk or in a top desk drawer. Don’t file it away where you have to put your boss on hold or even leave your desk for a second. You should be able to reach over and get it within seconds.
This is an important chapter. Guests can be anybody and they must ALL be treated with respect and dignity. When the receptionist calls to tell you that your boss has a guest, it is very important to go out promptly to greet this person. First, let your boss know that his/her guest is here and ask if he/she is ready for them. If your boss is ready for them, put on your best smile, introduce yourself as your boss’ assistant with your first and last name. However, if your boss is not quite ready, still go to the reception area, introduce yourself the same way and let them know that your boss will be with them shortly. Offer drinks or refreshments to make them feel comfortable during their wait.
When showing them into your boss’ office, offer to take their coats (if necessary) and if they would like something else to drink. Oh, and don’t forget to include your boss in this offer. This show of professional hospitality goes a long way and makes the guests/clients feel welcomed and appreciated, makes your boss look great and generally gives a positive outlook on the entire company.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
That’s it, we’re done. You should now have some of the tools to go back to work and perform efficiently on an executive level. Send me a message through my blog or email me at email@example.com if you have any questions at all. SEE ADDITIONAL TIPS BELOW.
WHEN YOU DELEGATE WORK
Important: Always remember that when you delegate a task, it is still your responsibility, so please be sure to oversee and manage the process (of course without micromanaging). Everyone hates that. Make sure that the person the work is delegated to has clear instructions, knows the deadline and understands that if there is any delay in the completion of the work, they are to notify you immediately. Follow up from time to time to ask about the progress, but for the most part, let the person work autonomously if things are going well and the time line is still good.
YOUR OFFICE HAS NO SYSTEMS IN PLACE
Believe it or not, although initially this may seem to be a pain, rather than go along with the way things have been done, take the initiative to put some basic systems in place. For instance, if there is no vacation or days off request forms, create some and notify the staff of the new procedure. Be sure to first run things by your boss who will probably find you to be proactive and give you the right of way to set the office up to run more efficiently. All offices run differently, so if you see something that needs fixing or you know of a better way to do it, jump in and do it (as long as you have the green light from your boss).
NEW! Open Door Policy—-Good or Bad for your Boss?
Do you have a boss who believes in the “open door policy” where people can feel free to come and go at their own will? If your boss believes in this “policy” to appear accessible to others, maybe you ought to think about shutting that situation down or better yet, modifying it (in a professional way of course). Having an open door policy allows visitors to constantly interrupt him which is a huge time waster. If you notice that your boss keeps his door open and allows people to interrupt him, YOU, as the trustworthy gatekeeper can propose that perhaps you can be allowed to “intercept” visitors to announce them or encourage them to make an appointment if it’s not urgent. Having people respect your boss’ time by making appointments will allow him/her to focus on projects, phone calls, etc. without people barging in and being a nice guy/gal, don’t want to be rude, so he accepts them in. If your desk or office is situated in a way where you can intercept visitors, and only after you have the permission from your boss to do so, address the visitor and simply say “good morning (name of person), how can I help you?” When they say they’re there to see your boss, you come out from your desk and say “let me see if he’s free”. See……right there, you have now set a new standard and expectation that they must be announced first. This way when you’re boss is on the phone or you know he’s working on something with a deadline, you can help him by “screening” visitors before you allow them to barge into your boss’ office. But remember to use discretion. If your boss’ supervisor or someone over him comes and brushes by you, you may have to let that slide. Again, these are some of the traits that separate an executive assistant from an administrative assistant. Let’s ALL start working at the executive level. Make sense?
NEWLY ADDED: BROCHURES, FLIERS, NEWSLETTERS
Hey you guys, I want to share with you something you may not already know about that will undoubtedly help you make newsletters, fliers and brochures like PROS. Recently, I have been producing extremely professional looking fliers and brochures in Microsoft Word!! Simply click on “File” and “New” where you will find a plethora of templates that you can manipulate and change to make it a custom piece of work. My boss thinks I’m a whiz at flier making because of what I’ve done for him so I wanted to share this “new” tool with you guys. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help or have questions.
Don’t be intimidated by PowerPoint. It is SO MUCH FUN!! Practice at home by just clicking on stuff to see what does what. It is unbelievably easy to add pictures music and videos!! This is a skill that not too many people have so take some time to practice at home and explore it. You guys know that you can email me any time with questions or if you need help with a PowerPoint presentation, you know where to find me. Letterstomyfather@yahoo.com. Once your boss knows that you know PowerPoint, you will add just that more value and marketable to yourself as an EA, especially if you can do a presentation with movement and/or charts without a plain white background. If you end up with having to do a PowerPoint presentation and need help, just email me. I will help you blow everyone away with your professional presentations!!! We’re in this together as a team!! I thank everyone who visits and relies on my blog for useful information. I will update it as often as possible and if you have any topics that you think I should add, please feel free to write. Keep the emails coming. I love hearing from you!
P.S. If you have a PowerPoint presentation and want some bells and and whistles, let me know. We can work something out.
NEW: If you are currently looking for a job, PLEASE make sure that your email is a professional email with either your first and last name or first initial, last name. For example: JaneSmith@gmail.com or JSmith@hotmail.com. Never send out a resume with an email address like: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a no-no. Remember….first impressions!
Click here for the page on What NOT to do on your Cover Letter: https://latebloomergrads.wordpress.com/sending-cover-letters-and-resumes-what-not-to-do/
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