24 May 2017

Who or Whom?

An easy way to remember when to use who or whom:

If you can replace the word with “he” or “she,” use who. If you can replace it with “him” or “her,” use whom.

See some examples at this link:

25 April 2017

Looking the Part

I attended an event today on minute taking.  Our organization set it up for Admin Professionals' Week.  Unfortunately, my first impression of the speaker was not very good because she was dressed down and looked rather frumpy.  I don't believe in judging a book by its cover, but I was amazed at how easily my mind went there and how I equated how she looked to what she had to say. 

I was happy that my first impression had been wrong.  The presentation had all the key aspects of basic minute taking, and because that was her audience, it was helpful and informative to the group.  I appreciated the work the speaker had put into the presentation and the fact she made herself available to our group.  She was however a paid speaker so I would have expected more. 

This incident today just reinforced to me again that whether we like it or not, how we present ourselves really does make a difference in how we are received.  We only have a few seconds to make a good first impression and whether we are speaking or going to a job interview, we should make it count, because it really does matter.

That is why I appreciate the charity Dress for Success.  Donations of business clothes are collected for people who are going on an interview or just starting a new job and otherwise couldn't afford clothes for the office.  It can make all the difference before you get your first pay cheque.

This Administrative Professionals' week, if you are able, why not consider donating to this worthy cause.  Or if you are in need, look them up in your city and take advantage of this very needed support.

Happy Admin Professionals' week everyone!

27 February 2017

Reading Other People's Minutes

It is important to read other people's minutes.  Especially from meetings that your boss may have something to do with.  It can be beneficial for a number of reasons:
  • It will give you a broader idea of what your boss is involved in and will help you assist him or her better;
  • It will help you understand the business better, which will help you in taking your own minutes;
  • It can give you pointers are how to minute better by looking at how they worded a sentence or handled a discussion.  You can use some of the words they used.  Whenever I learn a new word or phrase, I add it to my list and if I'm ever stuck, I go back to the list and choose something appropriate;
  • It will also give you good tips on what not to do.  Many times I have read minutes and there was a lot of he said/she said in it, or it was so point form it didn't make a lot of sense.  Looking at it as an outsider helped me to see how that was not the best way to record minutes.

23 January 2017

Annotated Agenda

It is very useful to prepare an annotated agenda when going into a meeting.  For those who have never used one (or heard of it), it is simply an agenda with notes on it.  For the agenda that I send to the meeting participants, I annotate it to let them know why an item is on the agenda or if there are any attachments.  In my example below you will see that I put brackets around the notes and italicize them.

Call to Order:
1.  Adoption of Agenda (Motion Required)
2.  Approval of Previous Minutes of December 25, 2016 (Attached) (Motion Required)
3.  ABC Matter (Deferred from November meeting) (For Discussion)
4.  Staff Communications (15 minutes to discuss any concerns from staff)

For the agenda for the Chair and myself, I prepare it as above, but with cheat notes so he will not forget some points he wants to make or that I want to remind him to bring up.  My new boss had never used an annotated agenda before so when I started using it he kept telling me how useful it was.  You will see in my example below that I use red font, but you can use any colour that stands out or highlight it in yellow.  Whatever works for you and the Chair.

Call to Order:
-  Remind them about the upcoming retreat on Feb. 10. 
- Finance Committee signed off on budget.
- Mr. Roberts will be the new Co-Chair of the Finance Committee (Mr. Brown is stepping down as Co-Chair of this Committee as of January 26, 2017).
1.  Adoption of Agenda (Motion Required)  
2.  Approval of Previous Minutes of December 25, 2016 (Attached) (Motion Required)
3.  ABC Matter (Deferred from November meeting) (For Discussion)
4.  Staff Communications (15 minutes to discuss any concerns from staff)
- Dress code
- Opening of new staff parking lot

I highlight it if a motion is required, just so he doesn't forget.  Some Chairs are good at that, while others are not, so it will depend on the Chair you are working with, but it doesn't hurt.

My boss will tell me things he wants on the annotated agenda throughout the weeks and days leading up to the meeting.  The day before the meeting I then print the Chair's annotated agenda and take a copy with me as well. 

The annotated agenda is also helpful for me to refer to when I am typing up the minutes.  Since I know what he is planning to talk about, I am one step ahead of the game when I draft the minutes.

21 October 2016

Then or Than?

I have always had trouble knowing when to use the words 'then' or 'than'.  Sometimes it is easy to figure out, but other times I struggle.  Well, today I came across a sentence where the person used 'then' and I was pretty sure it should have been 'than', but wasn't positive.  Rhymes like the following have always helped me like:

- 30 days have September, April June and November, all the rest have 31 excepting February, which has 28 days clear, 29 days each leap year
- 'i' before 'e'  except after 'c' (but there are exceptions)

- or what a school teacher I worked with taught me about when to use 'I' or 'me' in a sentence.  If you can change the sentence around and use 'we' then you would use 'I' in the sentence, if you can change the sentence around and use 'us' then you would use 'me' in the sentence.  For example: "We went to the store."  Because you used 'we' it would be 'Robert and 'I' went to the store'.  OR "Darlene walked to school with us."  Because you used 'us' it would be Darlene walked to school with Robert and 'me'.
Well, thanks to Google Search, I have found a little trick about using the words 'then' and 'than' that I thought was worth sharing to help remember when to use these two words.  I hope you find it helpful.  It worked for me!!
"A good trick to keep track of these words is that then is usually used to indicate time. Both then and time have a letter “E” in them. Than is used to make comparisons. Both than and comparison have a letter “A” in them.

Then vs. Than: What's the Difference? - Writing Explained


23 June 2016

Advanced Minute Taking webinar on July 6, 2016

After a wonderful experience at the AdminPro Conference in Orlando, Florida on June 14-17, 2016, I feel invigorated and ready to go.  We can learn so much from each other and learn with did.  Especially at the roundtable event where participants had 25 minutes to sit at the various speaker tables and ask questions.  The questions asked really helped me to focus my webinar on the areas that were most needed.  The next webinar is on July 6, 2016 at 1 p.m.  I hope you can join us.  Click on the following link for more information and registration details: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/plp/64676/index.html?campaigncode=1309PR

12 April 2016

Sharing your Skills

Do you want to get better at what you do?  Share it!! 

You wouldn't believe how much I learn each time I give a minute-taking or travel webinar.  Because I am giving the webinar I have to review the material and make sure I know my stuff.  The audience will certainly know if I don't. 

The same can apply in your workplace.  If there is sharing of information among the admins, then we can learn from each other and we all grow.  You can do it formally in a teaching setting or informally talking to each other at a team meeting.  Some things that the more experienced admins could teach would be minute-taking, travel arrangements, meeting scheduling, event planning and organizing your boss.  Some of the younger workers could teach us new tricks with technology to do all of the above. 

The next time you figure out how to do something, send an email to your team and share it.  They might already know, but then again it might be just the thing they were trying to figure out.  Especially when it comes to technology.  If you throw it out there, it gets others thinking about what they can share and then you have an environment of sharing information and growing.

Here are a few tips I will throw out:
  • If your menu bar disappears in Internet Explorer, press F11 to bring it back again. 
  • If you find yourself all of a sudden churning out weird characters when you're typing along, try pressing the left CTRL + SHIFT keys at the same time to switch it back over (You might need to press them a few times).
  • If you are at a meeting and have a PowerPoint presentation on screen (in Slideshow mode), but are not ready to show it yet, press B and the screen will go black, or W and the screen will go white.  When you are ready to start the presentation, press any key to bring the presentation back on screen. 
  • In Excel, if you want to go to the next line, but stay in the same cell, press Alt Enter.
Do you have anything to share?