Executive assistants play a very important role in the smooth functioning of any business organization. They perform countless of different tasks that help the organization achieve larger goals. If you work as an executive assistant, you can take pride in the fact that other people can’t do their job without your help ?
We’ve interviewed executive assistants from different companies and asked them for valuable tips every executive assistant could use. Some of them more practical than others, but all very helpful for becoming a great executive assistant.
The expert tips for an Executive Assistant
Welcome feedback from each other
Make sure to be open when it comes to performance, a situation, each other’s role, processes, and other things. Strong relationships are built on openness and honesty. A lot of people are afraid of giving and receiving feedback, even a lot of executives and assistants. But your executive can’t change something if he or she doesn’t know what to change. Feedback is important! So, take time to give feedback, and don’t forget to ask for feedback as well.
Use different tools for your work
Don’t use paper! Focus on the future: let’s get digital. You can get more done at a faster rate and by going digital you’ll reduce negative impact on the environment. For example, you could use HelloSign for sending and signing different contracts and Trello or Asana to put all of your to do’s for different projects.
Collect to-do’s in one or two places
If you miss something and it’s really important, like executing a certain task at a certain time, someone will remind you. Otherwise, do your best to keep track of everything by picking one or two landing places. Don’t collect “to-do’s” in too many locations, this will only make everything less clear.
What are your executives meeting preferences?
Have a conversation with your executive about meeting preferences. For example: Does your executive want all meetings on one or two days, so that other days are “working days”, or spread out throughout the week? Are there any recurring meeting rhythms that you could do without, or maybe change to bi-weekly rather than weekly, etc? Does he/she have preferences on times? For example:
- No meetings before 11:00 am, or after 5:00 pm?
- Meetings that last up to 30 or 50 minutes?
Have all important information clear in one database
Plan an information meeting with your executive(s). Create a database with these folders:
- Contact Lists
- Passwords. Tip: use Lastpass to safely share and store your passwords.
- Important Documents (insurance, registration, leases, ID’s, passports, etc)
Don’t forget to give a compliment for a job well done
Everyone loves to get a pat on the back. Executives should really compliment their assistants, because you might not feel valued all the time for all the hard work you’re doing. On the other hand, executives are also humans (yes, really.) so they also need compliments. As an executive assistant, you can compliment your executive on a great presentation, graciously handling a difficult situation, or taking the time to talk with a stressed employee. Remember: positive reinforcement encourages a person to continue that good behavior in the future.
Do you feel you don’t have enough time to complete all tasks? Time to prioritize! This is also sort of a time management exercise: how long will everything take and how can it all fit in a certain time? It may help to list all items and ask your executive to rank them in order of importance.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Keep communicating. The best thing of ongoing verbal communication is you keep the work flowing, reduce errors, prevent chaos and make working together with each other more enjoyable. Communicate problems, impediments, status on certain projects, and ask your executive to communicate what happened in yesterday’s meeting or to explain the scope of a project. Communication will help you work better together!
BONUS tip for Executive Assistants
The last tip is one of our own: get GAIKU! Our powerful web app will help you schedule, plan and improve meetings. GAIKU knows everyone’s availability, keeping different time zones in mind, and helps you write the agenda and meeting minutes. What a time saver! Sign up for the waiting list to stay updated and be the first to use our great meeting tool.