Back in 2013 HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland released the Management Assistant 2020 report, which detailed how the role of an Assistant will change by 2020. It is a fascinating document and many of the suggestions are coming into fruition four years on. One of the predictions centred around the idea that Assistants would become information managers in their organisations. I think this is absolutely happening within the role today and will become ever more important as the years go by and more and more organisations move to the dream of a paperless office and cloud based technology. In fact, I am going to dedicate a whole session at next year’s Future Assistant conference to this very topic.
Nobody readily puts up the hand to take minutes and those of us who do sometimes fear the job because of the expectation that is put on us to produce discussions accurately. Not everyone can be a good minute taker – it’s a definite skill and quite often an art, hence the name of my course, The Art of Minute Taking. There are definite skills required to be a good minute taker and I’ve listed some of them below:
Obviously! More than anybody else in the meeting a minute taker needs to be listening 100 percent of the time (no falling asleep here!). Check out my post here for tips on how to listen for the message.
Minute takers must have the confidence to be able to speak up in a meeting (where appropriate) and clarify points. This post will help you work with the chairman to make this task easier.
Ensure you turn up to the meeting having read the agenda, any background papers, the minutes of the previous meeting and with all the tools you need to take the minutes whether that be pen, highlighter, paper, recording device, laptop or iPad. Always take an extra pen.
Knowledge of the subject
It certainly makes the job easier if you have some knowledge of the topic. Learn as much as you can about the topic. This information can come from the meeting background papers, talking to people, Googling and keeping up-to-date by reading articles from within your organisation.
Good command of the written language
Without a doubt not only is it a skill to take minutes at the meeting, but the real work comes in being able to wordsmith a draft set of notes into an exceptionally good piece of writing. This means being able to produce a document that is spelt correctly and uses correct grammar and punctuation.
A sound critical thinker
This is the ability to be able to sift through the information and work out what it is that really needs to be written down.
Strive to develop these skills so you can be the best minute taker you can. These skills are transferable into other parts of an administrator’s role.
This guest post was written by Robyn Bennett, Director, Team Link Training Ltd, New Zealand. Robyn will be speaking at the Virtual Summit for PAs in October.
Over the past 14 years, Robyn has led in excess of 500 plus minute taking courses for over 1,000 participants. Her clients have included New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry for Primary Industries, Dairy NZ, Zespri, polytechs, universities, district health boards and councils.
Robyn has developed systems and processes around the best way to write minutes and is passionate about sharing these with others who strive to be excellent minute takers. She is the author of “Minute Taking Madness”.
Robyn runs the popular The Art of Minute Taking course at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, where it was the top Professional and Executive Development course for 2015 and 2016.
She is a member of the Association of Administrative Professionals NZ Inc and is a past National President.
Becoming a social media Rockstar doesn’t just “happen”; you need to really work at it. But if you fancy a bit of a shortcut, there are some simple things you can do to accelerate your rise to social media rock stardom. Read on…
- Use Power Words Power words help you stand out from the millions of other tweets sent every day. They evoke a human reaction such as happiness, sadness or anger, so use these power words in your tweets and prepare to stand out! (Just tap the phrase into Google if you’d like some examples). Don’t think you’re limited to existing headlines you’ve used for blog posts. Mix things up by creating different power word-rich headlines to get people to engage with your content. For example, “25 Ways to Get Noticed on LinkedIn” could become. “Top LinkedIn Tips”, “25 Top Tips for LinkedIn Visibility”, or “25 Ways to Drive Your Career on LinkedIn”. The link to the blog remains the same, but by editing the text around it you maximise its impact and potential click-through rate.
- Create tweets that stand out from the rest by anchoring them to your values. What are your values? What do you stand for? What are your top 10 values? Collaboration, honesty and learning all form a part of my personal brand. Import your chosen values into your content and prepare to stand out. You can then create consistency around these themes.
- Create a content calendar to encourage consistency. Use a spreadsheet and a free tool like Hootsuite and schedule 4 tweets or more a day. You can then implement consistent themes such as motivational post, blog post, or a quick tip. Consistency is a big driver of engagement, so expect to see results fast! Hashtags that align with working weekdays are popular and help you structure your content. #mondaymotivation #tuesdaytips, #wednesdaywisdom, #thursdaythoughts or #TBT (Throwback Thursday), #fridayfeeling and #FF.
- Engage with influencers. Who are the influencers in your industry? Engage with them by reading their blog posts or watching their video and telling them how much you enjoyed it and what you learned. When they respond and like or retweet it, your message will get more exposure to their audience and elevate your positioning in the marketplace. Evoke the law of reciprocity – like and retweet industry influencers’ tweets and add a comment saying “Great content, make sure you check it out” or “love your blog / video, keep up the great tips”. Share the love and the love will come back to you!
- Participate in Twitter chats. They’re a terrific way to engage with like-minded people. Lasting for 30 minutes or a full hour, Twitter chats involve people getting together on a certain day and time to discuss a specific topic and use a specific hashtag. A Google search will help you find Twitter chats in your industry on a topic relevant to your audience, or check out http://tweetreports.com/Twitter-chat-schedule/ Others in the chat will respond and like, retweet your content and give you more engagement. People will also start to know, like and trust you if you show up regularly to tweet chats, then once you’ve built up a following you can create your own Twitter chat.
- Use correct hashtags – hashtags are to Twitter as keywords are to Google. For best results, use only two hashtags at the end of tweets. ritetag.com can help you find the right hashtags with minimal effort; you can use a free version and sign in with Twitter. It will help you find good, great and overused hashtags. Make sure you use the great ‘hot’ hashtags; lots of people search for them, so they’re a good way to get more engagement.
- Respond to notifications and you’ll turbo charge your engagement. Take the time to respond to people who like, retweet, add you to lists and engage in conversations; you’ll get more reach by engaging in conversations. The human touch pays dividends! If someone liked one of your posts why not tweet them with “glad you liked my blog – what was your biggest takeaway?” to start a conversation. If you are the one asking questions, you are driving the conversation and may be able to guide people down the sales funnel if they are a good fit. Take the chat offline if you have a service which may help them.
- Leverage peak hours. 11am – 1pm is the most popular time for tweets, but do consider your audience’s time-zone. Also try some tweets between 8-11pm. There are some great tweet chats going on during these hours! Check out audiense.com for some more information on this.
- Ask genuine questions – treat people the same way as you would offline and engage in a human way. You’ll build rapport and trust, and gain respect. Ask questions – what brings you here? What are you trying to achieve? Simply put, just ask the questions you’d ask in real life. People like to talk about themselves so give them the opportunity and don’t force them into your sales funnel. You can reach out via Direct Message if you don’t want to do it in the feed.
- Use images to ramp up your engagement. Well-chosen images are proven to increase engagement by an amazing 313%. What’s more, you can tag up to 10 people in each image, giving you the chance to amplify your engagement even more. If you want to create your own images check out canva.com – I mention this site a lot and that’s because it’s invaluable for social media!
There you have it. A Smörgåsbord of choices to go interstellar with your Twitter engagement and have fun while you’re doing it. I’d love to know how you get on, tweet me at @superconnector to let me know!
This is a guest post from Jennifer Corcoran:
Jennifer Corcoran is the CEO and Founder of My Super Connector, where she helps Executive and Virtual Assistants, small businesses and entrepreneurs to polish their online profiles and connect with finesse. You can follow My Super Connector on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! Was pretty much the sound I made when I was asked to take on the task of managing meeting rooms for my office. I say ‘asked’, if I’d been asked, obviously I would have said ‘hell will freeze over before I manage the meeting rooms’. No, I was told I had to manage the meeting rooms because I was the only Assistant on the same floor as all the meeting rooms so it made sense for me to manage who was using them. I’m not going to lie to you, I hated this task. It sucked. It sucked more than expenses and writing minutes combined.
A really fundamental task for assistants is organising your department team meetings. If your organisation is anything like the businesses I used to work for I bet you organise A LOT of team meetings. I know that most of you are aware that some meetings are not the best use of time, but did you know something like $37 billion a year is lost to unnecessary team meetings?! That’s crazy right? The statistics don’t end there with 73% of people admit to doing unrelated work in their meetings. If anything, these statistics show that some work needs to be done to make the meetings worthwhile and effective. As so many of you organise team meetings this is an area that you could add real value and a great place to start would be working on some ground rules for team meetings.
We live in a volatile world where threats and risks to personal security are an unfortunate reality. Whether travelling domestically or internationally, corporations have a Duty of Care to employees visiting other cities and locations for business.
Organising a business event or corporate hospitality can be a tricky and time consuming task. The art of finding the perfect venue for your corporate event is never easy. When the pressure is on to find an impressive venue to wow your clients, or source the ideal training venue for your delegates, or book the perfect executive meeting room, it’s good to know that help is at hand.
Congratulations! You have an ‘All Star’ LinkedIn profile. You must be doing something right. Before you become too complacent, please ask yourself the following questions.
- Am I really leveraging LinkedIn to its full effect?
- Am I using LinkedIn strategically to grow my Personal Brand?