Skills to Prioritize in Your Role

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Summary: As an EA, there is a drive to learn and do everything. Efficiency and value within your role is the goal, so how do you get there? With all the skills you can learn, what should you be focusing on? Let’s talk about finding the best skills to suit your strengths and goals and how to create a plan to prioritize learning, honing and practicing them.

You walk into the office in the morning, what are the first things you do? Perhaps it’s open your calendar, rummage through emails, get on the phone with a vendor and make some progress on planning an upcoming event. From the moment you arrive in the morning, you are already utilizing some important skills – whether it’s time management on how to prioritize which tasks get attention first, or communication skills when you are interacting with a colleague or vendor. The question is, what skills should you focus on mastering and why?

Skills to Master And Ways To Implement Them into Daily Tasks

An article on Indeed.com titled Executive Assistant Skills: Definitions and Examples lists the skills customarily required of an EA to be:

Time-management Skills

The ability to organize and compartmentalize the tasks which need to be completed in an effective manner.

Organizational Skills

On any given day, an EA may need to juggle keeping track of company records, managing different projects, and completing pages of task lists the Executive does not have time to complete. 

Administrative Skills

There is always an opportunity to practice these skills in the workplace when taking calls, entering data, and filing company records.

Technology Skills

This article further describes the necessity of this skill set by writing “software and applications for scheduling, recording data, keeping client and contact information organized and other technologies are often essential tools that executive assistants work with. Therefore, employers may require this hard skill of their assistants, as well as the ability to learn and utilize new and unfamiliar software and technology.”

Problem-Solving Skills

Critical Thinking Skills – If something goes awry with a project your Executive needs you to complete by a specific time, you need to develop a creative solution fast.

Strategic Planning Skills

Analytical Skills – Executives often require Executive Assistants to manage projects or plan events by going through different scenarios to find the best approach to completing this task.

Communication Skills

Executive Assistants converse with numerous staff members, clients, and individuals in management every day through different mediums like phone calls, text messaging, direct messaging, video chats, and old-school face-to-face contact. Written and nonverbal communication is also essential. Messages always require proofreading for proper grammar and professional tone to get your message across clearly and confidently.

Networking Skills

Many Executives need their EA to represent the company when recruiting clients or onboarding more employees.

Interpersonal Skills

No matter what medium of communication you are using, interpersonal skills like empathy are always essential to display towards the other person.

Above and Beyond Skills

Solely incorporating each skill described above into your plan will not catapult you towards a promotion. It will make such a difference if the Executive absolutely cannot do his or her job without you. Each time you solve a problem with impressive critical thinking, make sure to jot down what resources you used to pull off the impossible. Eventually, you will have an entire arsenal of secret tricks. Maintain your calm in difficult situations where analytical and problem-solving skills are necessary. Working for an Executive with a high-pressure job often means feeling the pressure yourself, and modeling a calm exterior will prove you are indispensable. SnackNation‘s blog post 14 Easy Ways to Create a Zen Office Space on a Budget is a useful resource when composure is necessary for the workplace.

Becoming a trusted confidant and counselor to your Executive is vital to standing out on your way to a promotion. Take advantage of the people from various departments you can get in front of because of your relationship with the Executive. Learn as much about what happens in the company as possible by picking people’s brains. Take each task on your boss’s plate and prioritize the ones you cannot complete without his or her knowledge. The realization that the Executive Assistant has everything under control is priceless. Refer to another Snack Nation blog post called 17 Executive Assistant Skills In 2021 For Insane Effectiveness for more guidance on how to consistently learn and become an expert in all the skills best to focus on before asking for a promotion from the Executive.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Setting Course for Promotion From Day One

The moment you walk into the office on your first day, you should head for promotion. “Complacency happens when you least expect it,” so setting your course to level up in your role should be a plan you are continually building and implementing. Let’s talk about how to create a plan to set yourself up for promotion in your position.

As with any goals you have in your life – both personal and professional – it is important to envision the end-goal and the process from the very start. Setting your direction this way through research, planning and mindfulness will help keep you from complacency in your role, give you guidelines and measurements to determine your progress, and get you to your promotion in the most efficient way possible.

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Making Cents of Your Budget

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Let’s talk about which types of vendors will likely be disappearing from your budget, and the vendors that will take their place. With live events being drastically limited in comparison to previous years, what shift will your business see in your annual budget?

It is no secret that the year 2020 made businesses lose quite a bit of money. This means the annual budget will also decrease. Part of the Executive Assistant’s job involves hiring vendors for live events that his or her company holds during the year. This year, many find themselves in need of getting creative with a significantly lower portion of the budget going towards this year’s live events.

Practically Perfect PA, an online community that gives advice, support, and training to assistants, states “assistants are asked to manage different events from team-building activities to annual conferences and AGMs (Annual General Meeting), while also managing all of their additional tasks and responsibilities.” Proactive Executive Assistants typically have a list of vendors that their company almost always uses to provide food, transportation, drinks, the venue, or anything else taking part in a live event.

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Adapting Morale Boosting Activities

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

How does the physical social distancing factor into our social environments at the workplace and how can we ensure that it doesn’t equate to morale distance?

CDC.gov advises employers and employees to social distance or “stay at least 6 feet from other people.” The practice of “wearing masks, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds” is also advised in the workplace if or when Administrative Professionals are asked to go back to the office.

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Foundation for a Fabulous 2021

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Things are still transitioning: some offices are bringing their staff back in, while other companies are still remote. How will you set up your environment if you are still working remotely and what are the biggest obstacles you will prepare to face?

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Evolving: Learn Which Social Media Platforms are the Best

 

If you’re not familiar with social media, it’s overwhelming about where to start for your business. Does your business even have a social media presence? We can help you navigate the basics of each platform so you can provide the most value to that aspect of your role.

There are thousands of social media platforms on the Internet. To choose the right platform, or platforms, for your company, you need to ask:

  • What does management or the Executive you work for hope to achieve with social media marketing?
  • What platforms are the majority of your target audience, or the consumers, using the most? A good way to learn the answer to this question is to conduct a survey or go to the website for the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization that conducts global social science research.
  • What kind of content would your company like to share? A list of different types of content can be found in this blog post on the website of The Digital Marketing Institute.

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Evolving: Admin Superhero Balances Work and Parenting

This is a challenging time, not only for Administrative Professionals working from home but especially for those with children. WFHSAHPs are the real MVPs.

With the public spread of COVID-19 putting the health of mothers, fathers, and their kids at risk, almost all Administrative Professionals with children have been forced to telecommute. On top of this, the possibility of a child contracting the virus from school has forced these working parents to enroll their children in virtual school while they work. 

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Evolving: Keeping up with Modern Tech

 

Let’s put on our marketing hat and talk about social media – a technological “MUST” for Administrative Professionals to understand, especially if there is no one else taking care of that task in the office. Let’s talk about the strategy for managing social media for your workplace.

According to the 2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Michael A. Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner, “A significant 86% of all marketers we surveyed indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Increased traffic was the second major benefit, with 78% reporting positive results.” Traditional methods of marketing businesses like billboards, commercials, and sponsorships are now commonly accompanied by social media marketing strategies. 

Since this is a relatively new practice for established companies, Executive and Administrative Assistants may be asked to do this on their own. In a way, the person in this position already knows more about the inner workings of the company than most employees do because of his or her ability to work closely with the Executive. By learning, practicing, and honing your skills in content creation, marketing to a specific audience, and using both SEO and analytics, you will be able to successfully use social media to reach consumers, increase a following, and increase sales.

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The New Office Holiday Party: It’s Not Too Late to Throw a Virtual Holiday Bash

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

This year I think we could all agree that things are looking a little different around the office. Some of us have gone back into a quiet building, spaced accordingly and masked, while many others are working remotely from their home offices. Even still, we deserve a holiday gathering of sorts, to spread cheer and connection – perhaps we deserve this even more this year! The fact remains that whether you are working at a physical location or are safely tucked away in front of your screen at home, one party option proves to be the safest: Virtual Parties. 

Now this could sound like a bit of a bummer, but if you dive into these helpful tips we believe that your virtual holiday office party could be an absolute hit, and an incredible morale booster to the rest of your workplace community. We have put together this little guide to planning and executing the best virtual party “…this side of the nuthouse” (reference from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation).

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Investing in Continued Education For Your Role

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Give yourself the gift of education this year and prepare yourself for 2021 by curating a list of workshops, tutorials, and events to participate in to stay up-to-date and ahead in your industry. 

Change is inevitable and all around us. This year has thrown a few curve balls at all professionals, administrative or otherwise. We have had to educate ourselves about the latest teamwork, document sharing, and communication applications with work becoming almost completely virtual. Americans are now anticipating changes made within the government for the next four years, which can impact businesses. With all this change, it is important to stay knowledgeable in your field and become the most efficient Executive Assistant you can be. Many careers mandate continued education, so why not make it a priority in yours? 

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