Tonight I came home from work and per usual, hopped on Twitter.
I knew things would be kicking off in Sydney, Australia for #ExecSecLive. I immediately searched the hashtag and starting following posts from the conference.
Executive Secretary Live is a fantastic administrative conference that travels the globe. So many administrative conferences: IAAP Summit, AIOP ACT, IMA, ASAP Annual Conference, AdminToAdmin, EPAA,Office Dynamics, AEAP, Be the Ultimate Assistant, and this list is hardly complete! For a complete list, visit /http://executivesecretary.com/associations for an administrative association near you. Or, visit http://executivesecretary.com/events/ for a full list of training events. [Self-disclosure, I’ll be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE, Johannesburg later this year.]
I get super excited when I think about administrative conferences! We are NOT alone! You have had a crazy work experience, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that another attendee has had either the exact same challenge or something very close. There’s an instant recognition. An instant acknowledgment of mutual respect.
That feeling is wicked awesome—and that’s a good thing! It’s such a relief and also a tidal wave of joy to meet our career colleagues.
If you are an administrative or office professional, I promise you with all my heart that you simply MUST find a way to get to an administrative conference. It will change your world, your perspective, and expand your network in ways you cannot fathom.
Here’s a tiny sliver of the friends I’ve made via admin conferences. As Diana Brandl says, “We are in this together!”
I’ve been trying to catch up on some learning time this weekend. Mostly watching and listening to replays from some of the social leaders I follow. Tonight, I just happened upon a rant-ish type post from @iSocialFanz aka Brian Fanzo https://youtu.be/83ySoC1MCLM addressing many issues as they relate to social media tools and best practices. What I admire about Brian is his ability to articulate his passion for what he does in a very human and very genuine way.
But one piece of the replay caught my attention because it also applies to the administrative workplace. Know the tools you are using. Understand their context. Mistakes happen, but they cannot all be blamed on the tools we utilize because to paraphrase Brian– the end-user is responsible for the implementation of that tool. It’s also a reminder to be deliberate as we learn. Sometimes I rush to add another social application to my phone without a)needing it b)understanding its true function c)taking the time to learn the shortcuts and features thoroughly.
Admins use many tools to get work done, to communicate updates, to save time for their team. I’ve come to recognize (and somewhat accept) that due to the velocity of our changing field, I may have started to become a user of many tools- but master of none. Furthermore, it provoked me to think about doing some MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) testing. How else can I demonstrate that I have a comprehension of the main tool I utilize on a daily basis.
Think about it–
As an example, many of us utilize Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, but are you fluent, do you have a deep bench of skills or just enough to get by? Good stuff to ponder.
The kind where I stand in front of the full roster of attendees for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference and I share my brilliant! understanding of the administrative profession.
You see, with all the moving parts of the economic world of HR, recruiting, employee engagement– the front line is being forgotten when it comes to updating and re-writing the job descriptions and expectations of today’s administrative professional. Mind you, I do fundamentally understand the challenges of what type of support the company requests vs. what the job really needs vs. what the pay scale is vs. the vast swath of candidate/applicants for the position. Please allow me to first address the term: GATEKEEPER.
Let me be clear. Executive Assistants| Administrative Assistants|Receptionists are not gatekeepers contrary to popular belief and the delightful, sometimes patronizing, verbiage from unsuccessful sales calls to the office. We are not gatekeepers;we are timekeepers.
TIME IS MONEY- Benjamin Franklin
It is the administrative professional’s key purpose/raison d’être to save staff time. Whether it be a cold call at the front desk in person or a caller that cannot provide exact detail as to what they need– it is my job, my peer’s job to do the right thing and SAVE time for our managers. It is not my decision as to whether you’ll be able to meet with my manager or speak with my manager– that call is his/hers. However, it is my responsibility to carefully measure the intent and value of the interruption, and to assist the caller or visitor in getting the best chance of getting their information to the decision-makers.
So, please do not call me a gatekeeper. I prefer to think of the members of our profession as timekeepers. Or, better yet, time savers. And by that correlation, we become money savers and companies would be better served to see the administrative profession that way.
It’s been a tough jet lag couple of days getting back from #ExecSecLIVE..but so worth it.
It was wonderful to meet my fellow speakers, spend time with attendees and build new relationships. But, I have to tell you (This is an Anel Martin phrase I’m stealing) the best thing I took away from ExecSecLIVE was the validation. Validation in knowing how to share my experience as an admin, my point of view. Validation in how I tell stories, stories my peers can relate to. They got it! Lastly, validation that some stories I tell are, in fact, redonkulous and can trigger laughs from others. I had been concerned that my style, my approach — might not be the most ‘serious and professional’ compared to the presentations of the others. Had I done my presentations any other way..they would not have been genuine. They would not be true to my style. I’m glad I stayed true to myself and that others could relate.
I’m hoping the fog will lift soon and I’ll be able to write more succinctly and share additional take-aways from the event. For now, I just want to say, ‘Thank you’ to Executive Secretary for this amazing opportunity to learn from my peers and the time to build new friendships.
For a few years now, my motto has been #KeepLearningKeepGrowing.
Being here in London for Executive Secretary Live helps me refresh that purpose, that focus. Because it’s not just about presenting, but learning from presenting (what works, what are attendees getting from the session, what do I need to refine). It’s not just about networking but it’s about listening and learning from more than 250 peers from around the globe. If we keep an open mind, remain open to the possibilities that we have valuable information to share and others have important things to share with us– it’s just golden. A golden opportunity to #KeepLearningKeepGrowing
It’s a cold Friday evening here in Virginia. I’ve got a cup of Barry’s tea in hand. (I’m out of Bewley’s.) Our teenage daughter has just returned home from work. I’m doing what I do best. Make lists.
Isn’t that how it is for admins? we’re list-centric, list-addicted types? I adore lists. Hand-written lists on paper! (Scandalous!) Sure, I have tasks on my Outlook calendar at work, but at home I prefer paper. Nothing like the feeling of crossing items off a to-do list to make one feel incredibly productive. I love that lists have the ability to get clutter out of my head and allow me to focus on important things like paying attention to my kid and husband at dinner rather than having my mind wander and wonder.
So on my to-do list for London? I’m not missing out on that afternoon tea, that’s for certain. And the dinners and a few of the tours. I didn’t have a long enough stay to do any sight-seeing during my last visit and this time I’m making up for it.
And on my list for tomorrow? Completing the domestic Saturday ritual of doing laundry, cleaning house, running errands and a tiny bit of shopping for a few DC centric things I want to bring along for a few friends.
By the way, I’m loving the responses to my post. And, thanks for sharing it on Facebook. I do appreciate it! Goodnight, folks!