Archives for Revolutionary Assistant

Become a Better Writer

I’m starting to notice that good writing skills are quickly becoming a thing of the past.  It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, but I can only assume that, while writing plays a big part in earning a business degree, writing is not graded or critiqued in and of itself.  And that’s a crying shame, because with great communication comes great power!

People who write well are more promotable, more hireable, and more successful than those who cannot.  So it behooves you (yes, that’s really a word) to up the ante when it comes to your writing.  Here are some great tips to help you get a leg up on written communication:

Keep your language simple – Beefing up your words and sounding scholarly may be your instinct when you put together a memo, but in reality that will only trip you up while you’re writing it, and trip your readers up while they’re reading it.  Write your memo the way you would say it, in simple language.

Brevity is power – And I’m talking Hemmingway brevity.  If you’ve written “this is an event our company has done over and over again for the last twenty years,” consider calling it a “traditional event” instead.  Rambling is something done by the nervous and the weak, even if it’s on paper.  If you’re a fan of Star Trek, you know that Jean Luc Picard doesn’t say, “If you could point the Enterprise in that direction and use our blasters to eliminate those aliens.”  He says things like, “Engage!” and “Make it so.”  He’s a powerful guy and an exemplary leader.  Say less with stronger words.

Stay away from useless words – Words like “just” or “really” don’t add much to a communication.  They’re fillers.  Stay away from them, and words like them!  For a great list, check out this article from Entrepreneur.

Avoid jargon – Jargon and acronyms are for people who want to look like they’re communicating but really aren’t saying anything substantial.  The same way you block out a politician who’s using words like “politics of change,” people are mentally shutting down when you use “strategic healthcare solution.”  What is a strategic healthcare solution, anyway?  If you want to say something, give it some meat and leave the jargon for another time.

Remember the call to action – Don’t write something to your co-workers if you’re not going to convey to them how they should use the information you’re giving them.  If you’re telling them the cafeteria is closed at 12:00 for a private event, include a line that tells the group to go down and get their lunches by 11:30.  Underline it and make it red.

These are just a few hints that will help you write a better communication.  Remember, some people are born to write and others struggle with it their whole lives, but everyone has the ability to improve on these simple communication points!

 

Next Post:  Wednesday, July 30

Planning Out an Efficient Home Office

Revolutionary Assistants aren’t just outside their managers’ doors anymore.  Sometimes they’re working out of their home, a “virtual” assistant to their manager or managers.

We who are in offices are jealous of this, because we’re all imagining how great it would be to work on a PowerPoint presentation and throw in a load of laundry at the same time.  Or run the dishwasher.  Or even just be at home so that the cable guy can show up whenever it suits him and not get ticked off about it.

The fact of the matter is that people who work out of their homes have similar disruptions, can feel a lack of camaraderie, and just feel plain uncomfortable when they’ve only got a couch and a laptop to get them through eight hours of work.  So what’s the perfect combination of environment and attitude that will give you the most productive day?  Well, I did a little revolutionary research, and these are some of my favorite hints:

Get a good office chair – This was the number one thing everyone seems to recommend, and it makes a lot of sense.  Get an office chair you feel comfortable in.  If you don’t feel comfortable in it, you’re not going to sit in it.  Simple as that!

Keep everything you need on hand – If you have to run out every hour for staples or reams of copy paper, you’re not going to get much done during your workday.  Keep an additional supply of all your go-to items on hand, and replenish them the way you would if you were managing your office’s supply cabinet:  before they run out!

Create a space you want to be in – Consider not just your need for natural light, but also for task lighting.  Make sure you have adequate storage space, and if you need to, get creative with your home office’s nooks and crannies.  There are plenty of hints on the internet to help you.  Think about plants and family pictures, and all the things that make you happy.

Use Dropbox or Google Drive to help you keep documents close at  hand – Nowadays, you can throw your work right on the cloud, and leave it there to access from another computer, another place.  That’s a great way to do business, because you’re not dragging files around with you to the coffee shop or the park when you want a change of scenery.  It also helps you protect your work from being lost on a hard drive that could crash.

Stay connected with co-workers – A person who works at home can feel mighty isolated.  Consider a weekly or monthly trip into the office to connect with co-workers in person, or use FaceTime to have a virtual face-to-face chat.  Don’t let yourself get too lonely!

Decide if you work well with interruptions or if you don’t – Some people embrace the flexibility of a work-at-home position and welcome friends and neighbors who drop by.  Others get derailed easily and would rather avoid those interruptions.  If you’re the type that wants to keep visitors and other distractions at bay, establish working hours and rules that you stick to.  Tell visitors, “I’m working now, but I’ll give you a call later.”  Set the boundaries!

Working at home can be a really great way to get things done.  Even though distractions can be an issue, I’m still looking at this load of laundry and feeling jealous over those of you that get to stay at home.  Well…someday!

Next Post:  Wednesday, July 16

How Much Time Is Your Organization Wasting A Day?

I’ve been back on the Harvard Business Review blog, this time reading a great entry called, “Quantify How Much Time Your Company Wastes.”  Of course, I wanted to know how much time my company wastes and what I, as a Revolutionary Assistant, can do to stop all this shenanigans!

The article narrows in on how hard it is for an employee to get any time to focus.  They cited the example of one IT manager they followed, who interfaced with eight different teams a day, spent 35 hours in meetings, and spent 85% of the time in those meetings checking and responding to emails.  Thinking about just that example, it’s a wonder that anything gets done correctly and well!

Writer Ryan Fuller went on to say that, once interrupted, it takes approximately 15 minutes to return to productivity.  And, furthermore, it takes 30 minutes of uninterrupted time before one can call himself productive.  So, if you do the math, you need about two hours of time to get an hour of uninterrupted work.

So what’s to be done?  If those are two big reasons why work isn’t getting accomplished, perhaps we, as Revolutionary Assistants can do something about it.  Here are some thoughts:

Schedule meetings in blocks, either at the beginning or at the end of a day – It makes sense that larger blocks of time will encourage productivity, so try to create larger blocks of time by pushing all your meetings together at the beginning and the end of the day.  Even if you have six hours of meetings on one day, getting them all done by 3PM means at least two hours of productive time for your team.  Better yet, if you can schedule all your meetings so that you have a day of the week that’s open, that would give them a full eight hours!

Keep meetings on time – Nothing creates stress more than meetings that don’t end when they’re supposed to.  When you’re in attendance, make sure that everyone’s sticking to the agenda and keeping within their time allotment.  This will keep your hour-long meeting from becoming 90 minutes and running over someone else’s meeting.

Have a “computers closed” and “phones off” rule – If that IT manager is spending 85% of his meeting time answering emails, then he can’t possibly be paying much attention in the meeting.  You’ll get more done – and get it done faster – if everyone’s attention is on the subject of the meeting instead of their emails or mobile phones.

Protect your manager’s productivity with “office hours” – I actually learned this while I was at Google, and I don’t know why more companies don’t do it.  Just like your professors in college, block off an hour or so a day for planned interruptions.  Anyone can walk in and get your manager’s advice, get their problem solved…and then he can be left alone for the rest of the day.  Sure, that might not happen, but instead of 17 interruptions during your manager’s free time, maybe you’ll only see three or four.  And that’s not as bad!

Mind the context of your meetings and bunch like topics together – Apparently, some fragmentation occurs with employees when they have to shift gears from project A to project B and back again.  If you have all of project A’s meetings bunched together, this will help your employees be more productive around that topic.

All of this is easier said than done.  There are other, external factors that drive meeting times, like the availability of data and other resources.  But any attempt to take these steps is better than none at all, and the more you accomplish on this list, the more productive your team will be!

Next Post:  Wednsday, July 2

Managing Travel Costs

It’s never been cheap to travel, but it seems like nowadays we’re getting socked with resort fees and other little incidentals that we’ve never had to worry about before.  If you book a hotel room for $200 a night, is it really fair to have to budget for $300, just because you don’t know what kind of fees they’re going to hit you with?

Travel providers are champions of the practice of “drip pricing” – that is, disclosing only a portion of a price up front, and then revealing add-ons during the purchasing process.  Airlines have long been the champions of drip pricing, but hotels and even car rental companies are getting in on the act.

As the travel manager for my company, I’ve done a little research about how to save money on business travel.  I can tell you, most of the ideas I see in articles are unrealistic at best.  In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best you can do is be aware of these charges so you can plan accordingly, because there’s really nothing more that can be done.  Here are some common charges to plan for:

Baggage check fees – Unless you want to ship your luggage to your destination, you’re going to pay a fee to check your luggage with most airlines, probably to the tune of $25 each way.  Some airlines are still threatening to charge for carry-on bags as well, so watch out for that possibly coming down the pike!

Airline Taxes – I just flew overseas recently, and I was surprised to see that my $1200 airline ticket included $600 in federal taxes.  I thought, “It’s no wonder that airlines don’t make any money, they’re handing over most of my fare to the government!”  Booking sites like Travelocity and Expedia, as well as the business travel providers that you work with, are now required to disclose these fees, so they should no longer come as a surprise when booking.  Soon, they may have to disclose their baggage check fees and other incidental costs as well.  There’s a bill in Congress to that affect just waiting to be voted on.

Hotel Resort Fees and Other Charges – These fees are cropping up all over the place, even when the hotel you’re using doesn’t really qualify as a resort!  A recent article in Forbes even spoke about mandatory bellman tipping fees.  Watch when you book a hotel to make sure that you’re aware of all the fees you’ll be charged.  And don’t be afraid to challenge a fee you don’t think is right.  (Bellman fees?  Seriously!)

Car rental fees – Car rental companies are getting into the act, too.  They’ll charge fees for extra drivers (I make sure that we have a designated driver when we rent a car for a group), and they’ll charge additional fees if you’re picking up the car at the airport.  Of course, you can pick up the car at a city location to avoid airport fees, but then you’re likely to be subject to…

Taxi surcharges – Oh, yes, taxis are in on the act, too!  They’ll slap on charges for extra passengers, and sometimes even add on a little bit if you have luggage to deal with.  And if it’s not enough that your meter is ticking along while you’re sitting in rush hour traffic, some ground transportation services will add insult to injury by tacking on a little extra charge if you’re using them during rush hour.

So what’s a poor traveler to do?  Well, not much can be done when you’re sitting in the office and your manager is doing the traveling.  Sure, you can call the hotel after the fact and ask them to credit your boss’ bill for that stupid bellman tipping fee, but it’s more effective if your manager notices it on his bill and does the arguing at the hotel when he’s checking out.

Airline tickets are always cheaper during non-peak travel hours, so if you can talk your manager into flying at 6AM or midnight, that’s also a plus.  But who wants to do that?  It’s best just to be aware of the fees, to plan accordingly so that you’re aware of how much your manager’s trip will REALLY cost!

Next Post:  Wednesday, June 18

Onboaring for Co-Worker Success

An organization is built of good people who are solid performers, and those solid performances start on the employee’s first day on the job.  That’s why “onboarding” is such an important piece of the employee life-cycle.  Any human resources department worth their salt certainly has an onboarding program in place for new employees, but even so, your manager and his team are responsible for a good part of that initiation process.

A Revolutionary Assistant can ensure that her manager’s new employees are prepared to deliver great results for the boss by overseeing the onboarding process and making sure that the newbie gets the “full treatment.”  Per the Society for Human Resources Management, onboarding is dependent on the “Four Cs:”

  • Compliance – The part of onboarding that deals with the rules and regulations of the organization’s industry and the company’s policy.
  • Clarification – Making sure that an employee understands the expectations of his new position.
  • Culture – Providing an employee with a sense of formal and informal organizational norms and giving him a sense of understanding for the company’s “personality.”
  • Connection – Assisting the employee in building the relationships and networks that will make him successful

Most companies will cover compliance and even clarification with a new employee, but there are many times when the last two “Cs” are overlooked in the process.  Here are some hints that can help move the onboarding process from good to great and give your new employee the foothold he needs to be a successful part of your team:

Complete administrative paperwork before the employee’s start date – Take advantage of technology and get those forms into the hands of your new hire before he starts.  This will allow you more time to cover important job information and introduce him to important connections.

Set up the new employee’s workspace – Making sure that the computer is ready to go, that the email account is up and running and the cell phone is in working order will help the new guy get up and running quickly.  If his work area hasn’t been used in a while, clean it up for him so that he’s not sitting down to a dusty, sticky desk.  That’ll definitely make a good first impression.

Schedule face-to-face meetings for the employee and his team – It’s important that he meets all his key contacts as soon as possible.  Two or three meetings a day will set a good pace without overwhelming him, as he’ll be trying to learn new names and connecting people with their responsibilities.

Allow for some social time – A team lunch or a cocktail hour at the end of the week to welcome the new employee will go a long way toward creating good will.  It will also allow him to establish a good foundation for work relationships.

Ensure that the new employee has all the team meetings on his calendar – Important company-wide and department meetings should be on his schedule, so he doesn’t look up and find that everyone is gone off to a conference room but him.

Sit with your manager about the new employee – Does your manager need assistance covering the expectations for the employee’s first 90 days?  Does he need your assistance in creating an outline of goals and objectives for the employee?  Asking these questions will prompt the creation of these documents and the discussions that your manager should have with the employee about them.

Give an office tour – Take the employee around and introduce him.  Make sure he knows where restrooms are and who’s “in the know” about the office goings on (that’s you, right?).  When you provide the tour, point out the company’s charitable work and the activities and groups your company supports.  If there’s an employee group for women or diverse employees, let him know.  If there’s a bowling tournament in a week, clue him in: he might have a 250 average!

Onboarding your manager’s employees the right way will set up the whole team for success.  Make sure the new guy knows what’s what, and make sure he knows that he can come to you when he needs something.  You’ll really be helping to smooth out those new job jitters and ensure a productive start to this new chapter in the employee’s career!

Next Post:  Wednesday, June 4

Get Around To Kicking the Procrastination Habit

I am a champion when it comes to procrastinating.  I tell my manager that I’m a perfectionist and that I’ll get him that project when I take one last look at it, but in truth, I’m probably spending a whole lot of time treating that project like Pee Wee’s snakes in the burning pet shop.

Procrastination is leaving the undesirable things for a “later you” in favor of instant gratification for the “now you.”  For instance, when I have a PowerPoint to create that’s going to take time and energy, I will often put that aside and clean up my inbox, answering some pestering questions and deleting messages until it looks pretty and manageable.  It only takes about an hour to do that, but the PowerPoint will take three or four hours of uninterrupted concentration and creativity.  That sounds like something “later me” can deal with while “now me” basks in a glory of productivity.

But we’ve all heard about that Stanford marshmallow experiment.  You’ve heard about it, right?  It was a psychological study where children were offered a small treat now, or they could wait about 15 minutes or so until the researcher returned and get two treats.  Done in the late 1960s and early 1970s, these children were followed for years, and it was found that those that elected to wait for two treats were more successful in life.

The moral of the story: don’t put off that ugly project for “later you.”  Do it now, because procrastinators are less likely to be successful.  And that’s not you!

I have to admit, once I jump into that “snake in the burning pet shop” project, I usually find that it’s not so bad.  So how do I make myself get to it right away?  Here are a couple of helpful hints:

Start with the biggest, ugliest project at the beginning of the day – If you do the hard stuff first, you’ll be fresh and have a clear head, and tackling the project will be easier.  You’ll also have a lot to look forward to with all the fun, easier tasks at the end of the day.

Get up early – To go along with the hint above, if you get up early, it’s nice and still in the house/office.  You’ll get more done, and the work will go faster, if there are less interruptions.

Set up reminders – If you know you need to jump into a task and complete it, there’s nothing like a nudging iPhone our Outlook reminder to pester you into finishing it.  Of course, we could be like kids and have our moms do this for us, but if mom’s told you to grow up, this could be the next best thing.

Make yourself accountable – When other people are expecting you to have a project done, you’re less likely to put it off.  Shout your intentions from the rooftop and have some faithful friends and co-workers check in with you to make sure you’re following through.

Eliminate electronic distractions – Shut off your social network feeds and close your email program.

Make lists – I am a list-aholic, driven by accomplishment.  If the task is on my list, it’s going to get done.  I actually even fake myself out on the list – I’ll put “take a shower” on it, knowing that it’ll give me something to cross off.  A list with a bunch of crossed off items…well, it brings tears to my eyes, it’s so beautiful.

Are you a chronic procrastinator?  Well, maybe you want to dig a little deeper into why you do what you do (or don’t do).  I encourage you to take a look at “How to Quit Procrastination Once and For All” by Leo Babuta on fastcompany.com.  He’ll give you a lot to contemplate.

Allow yourself to be even more successful and stop procrastinating right now!

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 28

Helping Your Manager Encourage Meeting Participation

I’m back on my Harvard Business Review blog again, and I read a great article by Andy Molinsky, “Encourage Foreign-Born Employees to Participate More in Meetings.”  Here are some of the points he made about why our non-native counterparts might not chime in during meetings:

  • The culture of the country from which the employee came does not look fondly on, or considers it inappropriate, to speak one’s mind in front of others.
  • Joining in the conversation requires that an employee has a better command of language than he perhaps feels he has.
  • She just doesn’t have the personality that would allow her to speak up.

As I was reading the article, I could definitely understand why it might be a challenge for a manager to successfully encourage a foreign-born employee to talk.  But I know a lot of wallflowers born right here in the United States that could really have an impact on their organization’s direction if they just spoke up a little bit!  How can you help your manager get the most from his whole group?

Here are a few suggestions:

Help those who are not clear understand what participation in a meeting looks like – As Andy Molinsky mentioned in his article, “Make it clear…what effective participation looks like:  point them to models of others who participate [in meetings] effectively and connect them with mentors who can help them learn the tricks of the trade.” Additionally, your manager can start the meeting by providing participation guidelines and expectations.  Write out some bullet points to give him a head start!

Frame the quiet meeting attendee as the expert in his area and solicit his response – Your manager might be more successful with a quiet meeting attendee if he points out to that attendee and the rest of the group that his perspective is unique and his opinion valued because of the knowledge he possesses on the subject.  When you’re preparing the agenda, you can star areas where you feel your manager might be able to coax participation from certain quiet members.

Link the results of group participation to actual business results – Help your manager do this when you’re preparing the agenda and reviewing the minutes from the last meeting.  Did John or Sue mention something in last week’s meeting that was put into action and resulted in an uptick in numbers?  Remind your manager to say something about that in the next meeting.  The group will realize very quickly that participation equals results.

Acknowledge – don’t discount! – participants’ contributions – When your manager says, “That’s a good point!” or “Please go on,” he appears to be engaged with what the group is saying and will encourage the meeting attendees to say more.  Conversely, saying, “That’s irrelevant,” or “Is there anything else?” will discourage participation.

Intentionally keep quiet during a meeting – People hate silence!  If your manager poses a question, he might be tempted to keep talking when no one comments.  Sometimes the pregnant pause is just enough to get other people talking.  And maybe they’ve just been waiting for a chance to speak up!

Give people who are reluctant to participate an extra boost – An unusually quiet person might need to be encouraged and supported more than your manager thinks.  Schedule time for him to sit down with his direct report and find out exactly what’s so intimidating or unpalatable about participating in meetings.  Is it the high level of assertiveness, the directness?  Finding out more about it, and talking about it one-on-one, might be the start of solving the problem.

Everyone is walking around with a good idea, and it’s that good idea that might take your organization’s success to the next level.  Help your manager get people talking in meetings, so those ideas are uncovered sooner rather than later!

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 14

Dealing With Change in the Workplace

A fear of change certainly isn’t a new thing.  People will stay in jobs, stay with companies, stay in marriages…all because it’s familiar and they’ve invested time they don’t want to “throw to the curb.”  Sometimes that’s a good reason to resist change, but most of the time, it’s not.

Change has to happen in order to keep up with the times and keep things fresh.  Your business has to navigate change to stay competitive in today’s market.  So how do you help your employees understand that change is good – not something to be scared of?  We already talked about helping your manager understand the benefit of leveraging change agents, but there is more that can be done!

Your manager has a big job on his hands when he’s initiating change in his area, but here are a few things he can do to make sure that he’s successful (and that his people don’t freak out!).

Make sure everyone understands the need for change – If your team doesn’t understand that change is necessary, they won’t be behind it.  Ensure that your group understands that if you don’t make some changes, you won’t stay competitive or you won’t stay in business.

Assemble a team of people to lead the change – Like having “change agents” in your corner, you should have a team of people – including team leaders or even senior leadership – that helps put that change into motion.  Your team should represent all areas the change will touch.  If the change is company-wide that means you should have someone from every discipline from finance to distribution in the room.  If you know of someone who’s an agent of change, help your manager by suggesting that this person is added, even if he’s not a leader.

Communicate the change as a vision – A sentence or a even a slogan that sums up the goals of your change and the future vision of your area will do wonders for keeping people on track.  Communicate it often.  As a Revolutionary Assistant, you can help your manager by taking charge of these messages, the cadence with which they’re broadcast, etc.

Be compassionate – Your manager should understand that people have legitimate concerns and fears, and he or she should do everything possible to quell those concerns.  Not only is it the right thing to do from a human standpoint, but worry is unproductive and can get in the way of the project.

Remove obstacles – A manager clears the way for his team to get work done, and executing change is no exception to the rule.

Measure results – Your manager should have plans to collect and interpolate hard data in order to support the change initiative.  That data will go a long way toward continued buy-in from upper management and his team.  If hard data isn’t a part of the plan, encourage your manager to think a little harder about it!

Celebrate wins along the way – It’s better if you don’t just have the big goal in your sites.  Break the whole change project down into bite sized pieces, and celebrate when each one of them is complete.  That will increase your team’s buy in.

Bringing about change in your business can be easier than you thought, even if your culture is one that’s naturally resistant to change.  Give these hints a try and see if you and your manager can’t create something fabulous that helps your business grow and get to the next level.

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 14

We’ve Got A New Look for Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Happy Administrative Professionals Day, and welcome to the NEW Revolutionary Assistant.  We’ve got the same great content, but now we’re adding so much more!

Our blog entry is still front and center on our new home page, so you can check out what we’re talking about every week, right here in this spot.  But now we’ve added new Revolutionary Reference Pages to make it easy to find helpful administrative information that will help you be a better partner to your manager.  All our information is organized there for easy, at-your-fingertips research on topics you need to know more about.

We also have three more new areas at the bottom that we think you’ll really like:

Revolutionary Quotes are quotes that we really like here at Revolutionary Assistant.  An inspirational saying or thoughtful observation is sometimes just what we need to get through the day.  On top of that, we’ll pull a link to a related article from our wayback machine to go along with it!

Revolutionary Tips will hone in on a handy practice that you can put into action right away.  It might be a quick key stroke in MS Word or a clever calendar management trick, but it’ll be guaranteed to make your life easier!

Revolutionary Apps highlights a cool mobile application that is guaranteed to make a difference in how you do your job.  Mobile is here to stay and growing every day.  Keep up with the apps that can help you look like a movie star!

We hope you enjoy our new look!

Next post:  Wednesday, April 30

Help Your Manager Stop Flying Around The Office Like A Maniac

There are never enough hours in a day to accomplish all we want to, and that’s especially true when you look at your manager’s list of tasks and try to fit every part of it into the day.  Sometimes, it just can’t happen.  Sometimes you have to prioritize and let some people down easy.

Even when you prune your list to the bare minimum, it still seems there aren’t enough hours in the work day to conquer it all.  After all, sometimes things HAVE to be done.  Your manager is needed in two places at once.  A presentation needs to be completed, an RFP filed with an organization your company really wants to do business with.  Time stops for no one.

Sometimes time management tips aren’t enough.  If you need time management magic, here are some suggestions you and your manager might want to put into action:

Take 20 minutes every morning to plan your day – Sit down with your manager and your morning coffee and figure out what you need to do and when.  Block your manager’s calendar, and dedicate the time blocked for the task to which it’s dedicated.

Don’t answer the phone or check your emails compulsively – Plan time for phone and email just like you would any other task, for both you and your manager.  Phone and emails compete for attention with important projects, and they have to be prioritized as well.  Unless you see someone very important pop up on your caller ID, let it go to voice mail.

Try establishing office hours for your staff and co-workers – Office hours, just like your professors had in college, are for planned interruptions.  It’s an hour or two of your manager’s time when people can file in without an appointment and start that conversation that’s going to take 20 minutes of his time.  This is a very successful habit I learned while I was at Google. Not only does it save your productivity time, it cuts down on other meetings your manager might be dragged into.  Give it a try!

Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your doorknob – If your manager is seen sitting “idle” he’s likely to be interrupted.  Let everyone know he’s  working on a project and need to focus.  They’ll understand, and maybe they’ll adopt the habit, too!

Build in margin time – If you build slack time into your manager’s calendar, you’ll have something to go to when that important meeting comes up.  It’s the breathing room he needs when meetings run over and unexpected issues rear their ugly heads.

Be the bulldog for meeting start and end times – Your manager might take an extra five minutes here or there to meet with someone, and it’s your job as the Revolutionary Assistant to make sure that meetings start and end on time.  When the first meeting of the day runs 65 minutes, the next meeting has to start five minutes late (and probably end five minutes late, too!)  Pretty soon, your manager’s stressed out and missing important face time with people on his calendar.  Nip the “running over” in the bud to keep the stress at a minimum.

Keep your time estimates accurate – I’m forever being told to put 30 minutes on the calendar so that my manager can meet with our investors.  Those meetings never run less than 45 minutes.  I will purposely not book anything for 60 minutes just to make sure that he has enough time to have the conversation he needs to have.  He underestimates that time, but I give him a much needed cushion.

If your manager is flying low in the office, these helpful hints might be just what he needs to come in for a stress-free landing and get some work done!

Next Post:  Wednesday, April 23