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 has 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


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?

15 March 2016

The Executive Assistant

Being an Executive Assistant is more than just a title.  When you get to this level it is expected you will take on leadership responsibilities. 

I am in an Administrative Assistant role again and am really enjoying it, but having just finished my career as an Executive Assistant, I am appreciating the work that they do.

Now that I am looking at it from an Administrative Assistant's perspective, I see the EA role as being someone to look up to and seek guidance from.  It should be someone who has experience and knows their way around an office.  The person should also have initiative and be an ideas person.  When I was an EA I loved coming up with new ideas, but I also had to listen to what others on the team thought because together we came up with the best ideas.

Some things that an EA can do to show leadership:
  • chairing (or starting) an admin team
  • planning for and organizing a schedule for replacements when other administrative staff are away
  • organizing educational events for the other administrative staff and/or teaching them
  • succession planning to ensure someone will be able to take over when people leave
It can include any number of these things or all of them depending on your organization, but don't be afraid to make suggestions if your organization isn't there yet.  Sometimes it takes time to build the reputation of the Administrative Team.  Most bosses know the value of their Assistants, they just need to see how it can work as a team and the added value to the organization.

The last place I worked was very progressive in that way and looked to the Admin Team as professionals in our field.  It was probably the best model I have ever seen in all my career, but it came about by having the support of senior management.  Most Executive Assistants work for the CEOs, Presidents and Vice Presidents of the company and what better place to be to initiate change.  Having your boss on your side goes a long way to paving the way for implementing some new ideas.  Some of the best ideas I received were actually from my boss.  He saw the value of the administrative staff and helped me to see it in a new way too.  It helped that he was the CEO, but he expected me to be a leader too.

However you are showing leadership in your role as EA, lead by example.  If you are a professional in your position, the others will look up to you and want to learn from you.  Be willing to do the work you want them to do.

Yes, being an Executive Assistant is much more than just a title.

Minute-taking Q&A

In preparation for the AdminPro Forum on June 15-17, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, here is an article with some Question and Answers about Minute taking

For more information on AdminPro Forum 2016, please click on the website and if you are able to join us, please register at this linkI hope to see you there! 

30 January 2016

The little things

When learning something new it is usually the little things that can seem overwhelming.  I just learnt a new program to search patient names for information and medical records.  I recall the person telling me how to use the program and it seemed very complicated: Log in, enter your password, press F1 if you want to do this, F2 if you want to do that.  When you get to this screen, look on the right-hand side and press F11 ...  You can see what I mean.  I thought I was never going to get it as there seemed to be just too many things to remember.  But after a few times using it, the little things started to become common place.  I didn't need to think about them anymore as they were now part of how I used the program.  What seemed hard at first is now very easy.  And isn't that how it is when starting a new job or taking on a new task? 

I only knew one person when I started my new job, but now I am putting names to faces and don't even have to think about it anymore.  I was nervous the first day I had to take minutes at an advisory committee meeting.  It was a big group and I wasn't sure how I was going to get the attendance straight when I hadn't met most of the participants before.  Now after my second meeting, I only had to ask my colleague who one person was.  Everyone else has become familiar.

That also goes for new processes and tasks.  I support two meetings and there is lots to do for each meeting.  Some of the things are becoming routine.  Now all I have to concentrate on is taking the minutes, everything else is falling into place.

So if you are starting a new job or have something new to learn, keep in mind that in a relatively short time everything will start to make sense and become part of the routine.  Give yourself time to learn and you will eventually get it.