Last week I spoke at the ACES conference in Edinburgh. There were roughly 180 assistants in attendance and 20 different exhibitors. I must say it was a fantastic conference – all of the sessions were really relevant to the industry and it was excellently chaired by the wonderful Victoria Darragh from Hays (she has just started writing a blog, which you can read here).

After my presentation I stayed for some of the conference and came away with loads of useful tips which I am sure will influence a few posts over the coming months but in the mean time I thought I would give you a copy of my slides. The link is here for those that receive this by email.

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Along with my session the assistants also heard from Lucy Brazer, CEO of Marcham Publishing and the powerhouse behind Executive Secretary Magazine. Lucy talked about social media and how it is no longer a ‘nice to have’.  As most of you will know I am a huge social media fan and I did find myself fanatically nodding along to Lucy’s presentation. As I was still on stage at the time I must have looked slightly odd! Anyway, Lucy’s presentation and the audience’s response made me think long and hard about how assistants can and should use social media. It really is not a question up for debate anymore.

Next up was Gilly MacMorran from Priority Management Scotland. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you sign up to their newsletter. Her tips were mind blowing! My favourite piece of advice related to diary management – she said the gaps in between meetings are the most important parts of the day and must be treated as such. I learnt a lot from this session, I really did!

Following lunch, Victoria chaired a fantastic panel discussion and we heard from some absolutely amazing PAs – some of them are on Twitter so make sure you follow their tweets. They are:




It was great to hear from other assistants and the questions and insights from the audience were equally as fascinating. My take away from the panel discussion was this – we are an intelligent bunch of women, we can command a room, we can take on any number of projects and we can really prove ourselves. But proving ourselves seems to be an on going battle that every assistant faces at some point in their career.

Sadly, I had to leave the conference slightly early to catch my flight back to Barcelona. It really was a great day and there were loads of great presentations and tips for assistants. It really proved to me that assistants should try to attend conferences, such as ACES (rather than free exhibitions / training events) because the content was just great.

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