Executive Secretary Live – a two day event for top notch Executive Assistants and PAs from around the world was launched this weekend. Delegates came from the UK, Russia, Belgium, France, Australia and the USA. It was a momentous and exciting two days. There was a mix of sessions on the soft skills such as communications and networking and the hard skills of producing a procedures manual and using Microsoft Office to save time. For those who missed the event, here is my take on the highlights.
Bonnie Low-Kramen opened the conference with a session on how crucial communications skills are if you want to be the ultimate top EA/PA. She discussed how to bridge the gap between the way different generations and personalities communicate. For me the top tips were around improving your body language.
There were two jaw dropping session from Vickie Sokolov Evans on how to exploit the power of Microsoft Office. Most of us use only 13% of the functions in Office. Yet there are another 87% which are guaranteed to save you time if only you know where they are and how to use them. The ones which set me alight were how to use the Styles function.
Why is it that some days it all goes pear shaped? One reason is often lack of clear procedures. Julie Perrin ran an excellent hands-on workshop on how to produce a Procedures Manual which will not only save your day but help those who cover for you. Having such a manual will help you stand out as an outstandingly well organised PA/EA.
How many of us reach a certain age and point in our career when we think can I grow any more? Eth Lloyd gave a very personal account of gaining a Masters late in life and through that experience helping others to reach for the sky.
What is it about some people that they walk into a room and can persuade people to do something? It’s all down to charisma as Susie Barron Stubley showed us. You need to create presence, power and at the same time warmth and these are skills which can be learned if you work at changing your mental state from negative to positive. Neutralize negativity was her key message for me.
This was a point which Doug Dickerson underlined in his session. Attitude and expectations are what limits most of us from becoming centers of excellence. Raise your expectations and you will be amazed at what you can achieve was what I took away from Doug and Eth’s sessions.
Laura Schwartz closed the conference with an amazing session on the power of networking and how to do it properly. The key messages for me are to research who you are meeting and identify two key people you want to meet at each event and what you want to ask them. And remember it is not about what the other person can do for you, but what you can do for them.
What was I doing at this extraordinary meeting of talented speakers and delegates? I was one half of the ‘E-Babes’. I had the enormous pleasure and honour of running an email best practice workshop with Marsha Egan of Inbox-Detox. Lucy Brazier created a first by having the two of us as leading experts on email best practice on stage at the same time and we had a lot fun thank you.
The speakers and the delegates made this the most stimulating conference I have attended for a long while. Topping it off there was a private ten course taster meal in Harrods Food Hall which included some fine wine!
If you missed this inaugural Executive Secretary LIVE event make a diary note for next year. That is if you want to expand your skills and become even more successful.