Imagine the scene, 100 highly professional assistants at Nicky’s Assist Conference 2016. All eager, hungry and demanding top notch speakers – ‘Give me knowledge!’ ‘ Give me practical tips!’ My job was to talk about What is your value? – so no pressure then!
Thirty minutes to cover such an incredible and vital subject isn’t long so I just got stuck in. However to really help you as a reader I have created a 3 part series on this subject so I can take you deeper in a very practical way.
So are you ready to get your hands dirty and try out a few new approaches to change your world?
So many of us want change in our professional lives and for so many reasons. Often it is because we are:
- Not getting recognised
- Not getting promoted
- Not being invited to join the right committees / projects
The list can go on and on.
In part, the main reason why this is happening to you is because your reputation (personal brand) isn’t working for you. This is usually because:
- You haven’t shared enough of what you do with others
- Others don’t see the value in what you have done / do
- You’ve not influenced the right people
- You are not connected / networked with the right people
- You are not using ‘their’ language in ’their’ context
- You keep your head down and get on with the job
- You don’t have enough time
What’s actually happening is that people aren’t ‘getting’ you.
So how do you change this?
Let’s get clear
So that you can see for yourself exactly why this is happening to you, please complete the following exercise over a cup of coffee and, if you prefer, with another colleague. And yes, you do have time to develop yourself, if you don’t life remains the same and that would not be right!
On a piece of paper (I know I’m being old fashioned) write down 3 headings:
- Soft skills
- Expertise (what are you knowledgeable about)
- Experiences (where have you gained your expertise from e.g. projects, industry etc.)
Then under each heading list, in black ink, of all the reasons why people come to you. Think about what skills people come to you for, what experiences you have that people talk to you about and what areas of expertise people ask you to help them with.
Now use a red pen and under each heading list all the things you wish people would come to you for. In other words list everything that is missing from your first list.
Finally using a green pen cross through all the things you wish people would stop coming to you for.
Sit back and look at your lists. Hmmm, let me see, hold it up higher, yep I can see them now. See how your list of soft skills is greater than your other 2 lists? I can also see the way you have described your expertise and experiences is a little vague and you’ve used a lot of generic terms.
How do I know this? Well, having trained 1000’s of people on how to change and develop their personal brand and reputations, I know everyone follows a set pattern when writing up their lists.
As PA/EAs you are unique to any other profession in the corporate world. Your soft skills are what make you brilliant. However you do need to share your ‘hard skills’ too – they are just as important.
Have another look at your Expertise and Experiences lists
- Review all your expertise and experiences and make sure that you are specific in the way you describe them e.g. Organise events could sound better as senior executive events management
- Look at all the activities you have crossed out in green and try to find someone who loves doing this stuff and develop a relationship with them. Find out if they would like to take on more of this stuff and gradually introduce this person to others. A 3 way win!
- Now look at your list in red, this is the stuff you need to start sharing with others more. I don’t mean bragging about it, I mean educating others about it. You guys are just so good at what you do, people can take you for granted.
In the second part of this mini series I will go into more detail about how to go about sharing your skills and expertise in a way that you should find acceptable.
This is a guest post from Heather White, Networking & Personal Brand Expert.
Heather White is a highly sought after speaker and online trainer specialising in networking and personal brand. Having worked as a PA and office manager she knows first-hand the challenges faced by those in this amazing profession. Later when she developed her own skills and set up her specialist business, for the last 15 years she has worked with Partners and Senior Executives teaching them how to develop their profiles and network effectively with clients and stakeholders. In all this time Heather has advocated the same skills should be taught to PAs and EAs as they can offer enormous support. It has taken way too long for management to see the benefits but that day has finally arrived and now Heather can help to join the dots between Executives and their PAs/EAs.
Heather has recently launched a unique online course just for PAs/EAs and VAs called, Personal Brand for PAs – what people say about you.