Last day of my week-long blog giving everyone a few tips and tricks on how to be a better assistant. If you have any tips, please add them to the comments section.
I think one of the most important parts of my job is to be informed. Sharing that knowledge is also very important. Here are a few Cheat Sheet tips:
- Keep track of boss’ passwords when available. Inevitably s/he will forget them and start yelling at the computer. You can easily save the day if you are able to quickly provide the password.
- Make a spreadsheet of local restaurants. Detail what they are good for (meetings, interviews, large parties, small parties, happy hour, last minute reservations, etc.) Include a direct contact if possible.
- Make a cheat sheet of car services with account information. One day your main service will be fully booked and you don’t want to scramble to find a backup.
- Do you have people coming in from out of town? Make them a cheat sheat of what to do and where to eat in the neighborhood. Keep an updated list on your computer for easy printing or emailing. Personalize it for extra points. It only will take an extra second and makes you look awesome!
- Put labels on machines like the fax machine (if you even still have one) giving instructions on how to use them. You will still get asked how to use the machines but at least you can point out that the instructions are listed right on there!
Hope you enjoyed this weeks tips and tricks. Please do share any other ideas you have. We need to stick together so that we don’t go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!
Day four of my week-long blog giving everyone a few tips and tricks on how to be a better assistant. If you have any tips, please add them to the comments section.
Meetings……..we all love to hate them. They always run too long, you always sit next to the wrong person and you walk away wondering what it was all about. Well, maybe these will make your next meeting a bit better:
- Pay attention when people order lunch and dinner on a regular basis. There will come a time when you have to order food for them and they aren’t available to tell you what they would like. If you don’t know specific items that people enjoy, at the very least, quiz your team members for any dietary restrictions they have (vegetarian, gluten free, allergic to nuts) prior to any big events. These days it is easy to order special items and it will make everyone’s life a lot easier and happier to have something they can eat.
- Do not schedule conference calls back to back if you are using the same number. Inevitably, the first call will run long and people will start dialing in for the second call while the first call is still taking place. It’s pretty awkward to hear PING! Hi It’s Jim! …….. and you were just talking smack about his company on the first call (more awkward if Jim was hovering in the background and you didn’t know he was listening!)
- If you have meetings that always run long, book the conference room for longer than the meeting is scheduled for. You really don’t want to have to cut your boss off mid-thought because people are banging on the door trying to get in for their scheduled meeting. Always allow a cushion!
- On that same thought, if you are going to be using a projector, television, or even just flip charts, book the conference room 15 minutes in advance to allow set-up time prior to guests arriving.
The best meetings are ones that are short and to the point. Long PowerPoints and too much talking will just put everyone to sleep. Cheers to everyone who tries to keep meetings flowing!
Day three of my week-long blog giving everyone a few tips and tricks on how to be a better assistant. If you have any tips, please add them to the comments section.
First off……Happy Admin Day!
Today’s tips are regarding business travel:
- Make note of your boss’ preferences (aisle seat, king bed, no overnight flights). This will enable you to make decisions quickly and correctly.
- When preparing your boss’ travel itinerary, put information in the calendar but also on paper – electronics die and you don’t want your boss to be stuck in the middle of Mumbai with no cell phone service and no clue where his/her hotel is.
- On that same string of thought, make sure there is a local contact on the other side of the trip. It is nice to be able to contact someone easily in your same time zone. Also is helpful when they need to print something and don’t have access to local printers or WiFi.
- When you make travel arrangements and put it in the calendar, attach the invoice to the entry. This allows for quick access to the official reservation when in a jam.
- Make sure the travel agencies have and use your boss’ frequent flier and hotel numbers.
- Do your homework prior to contacting the travel agency. Know what times flights are available so that you can make the best informed decision.
- Ask the local office if they have a recommended hotel to stay at. Sometimes they know something neither the travel agent or the Internet can tell you.
Contrary to what some people believe, business travel is rarely fun. It takes executives away from their family and friends and puts wear and tear on their body. Making their trip as seamless as possible will allow them to get there and back with as little stress as possible – which means they should be happier the next time you see them in the office!
Day two of my week-long blog giving everyone a few tips and tricks on how to be a better assistant. If you have any tips, please add them to the comments section.
For most people emails have become the primary way of contact. Here are a few tips on using it for good, not evil:
- One of my biggest pet peeves is when people reply all for no reason. You can save us all the annoyance of seeing those 50 unnecessary emails come in by using BCC in the first place when sending out mass emails. If it is necessary for all recipients to know who received the initial email, you can easily put an asterisk in the body of the email letting them know who was on the list.
- However, sometimes reply all is okay if everyone needs to stay on the same page! When replying to an email that was sent to more than one person, if you are choosing to not reply all make sure you reply to the correct person. After one person has replied all and then you just hit reply, your email will not arrive in the original sender’s inbox. Double check recipient’s email before hitting send!
- Think twice before sending that dreaded two word email (“Thank you”). I don’t need yet another email clogging up my inbox. I will assume you were gracious and thought the words. OR even better, when you ask for something, include “Thanks in advance.”
- When trying to schedule a meeting, give all the information in the first place – who will be invited, when you are looking to schedule it for, how long it needs to be, if breakfast or lunch is included (if early morning or mid-day), how much of a priority the meeting is, etc.
- Take an extra moment to ensure you spelled everyone’s name correctly. Since I have an uncommon spelling of a common name, I go through this A LOT! It really shows me who cares enough to make sure they address me properly. More than once, I’ve emailed people back pointing out that they spelled my name incorrectly. And no, I shouldn’t just let it go: People should be more respectful!
- Don’t use your business email to send jokes and pictures or worse, to apply for other employment! Everything is stored forever these days. Keep your business inbox professional.
- Lastly, stop being so sensitive. Not everything in email is meant to be taken in the worst way possible. If you get an email that annoys you, just roll your eyes and talk smack behind the person’s back 🙂 Don’t reply in anger. Always look like the better person – especially because you may have taken the words in the email the wrong way.
Wednesday, April 23rd is Administrative Professionals’ Day……just another made up holiday to guilt people into buying gifts for people. Last year I wrote a post about the day itself, so this year I thought I would make a week-long blog giving everyone a few tips and tricks on how to be a better assistant. If you have any tips, please add them to the comments section.
Organization and Efficiency:
- Stay on top of expenses. They are too much of a pain to do too many at one time. If you need to do large amounts of expenses, sort and put in date order prior to starting the electronic entry. Also, I am not usually a fan of wasting paper, but using scrap paper and tape to secure and organize receipts is an efficient way to keep the process smooth and flowing.
- Keep active items in your inbox. Star the ones that need action from you. Do not archive until the action has been completed.
- When there is an internal meeting or appointment put the email trail into the invite. This helps you keep track of how the meeting came to be and gives you easy access to contact details.
- When adding a contact, be sure to include the person’s assistant’s contact information in the notes as well.
- When updating a calendar entry, add the reason for the update in the description with the date of the change. This way everyone stays on the same page and no one has to inspect the entry for what changed.
Being organized in every aspect of your job will allow everything to flow as smoothly as possible. Staying on top of things and being proactive is one of the main tasks of your jobs. Get to it!