Rockstars. Superstars. Superheroes. When those titles are mentioned we are immediately drawn to images of fame, heroism and the spotlight. However, if you are anything like me, you get a bit uncomfortable visualizing yourself as the center of attention or strutting your stuff on the runway. You may prefer the kind of Superstar status that occurs behind the scenes. I'm here to share with you several KEY characteristics to take your skills and utilize them as a SUPERSTAR ASSISTANT.
With all things virtual today, not all assistants are the first impression when you walk into a business. Many run the role of assistant further removed from the front of the business, or even remotely as a virtual assistant of sorts. The majority of the skills needed are the same regardless of the physical location of the position. That being said, let's get down to the nitty, gritty of the skills that will make you stand a head above the rest.
"Success is the Sum of Details" - Harvey S. Firestone
1. Impeccable Attention to Details. Details are what separate the good from the great. That, and the ability to almost supernaturally anticipate what the executive is going to need or encounter next. As an executive assistant, you are an extension of the executive and paying close attention to their preferences and how their mind operates, will save both you and them a lot of hassles in the future. And I'm talking about more than just how they take their coffee...while that is extremely important as well:) Place yourself in their personal shoes, and cultivate a sense of how you can create systems with those details of their personal preferences and character traits, that will enable them to work more efficiently and effectively. Ask questions if you are unsure. Collaborate with them. Having clear objectives makes it easier for you both to work together. Once you get a good grasp on it, be DECISIVE. Take ACTION. That is why they hired you to begin with.
2. Strategic Scheduling. Almost anyone can grab a calendar, fill in appointments, and add events where there is an available slot. It requires much more than that to be a planning guru for your executive. Scheduling is an art that needs to created with thoughts outside of the immediate black and white data that is already entered in the calendar. For example, what events are leading up to this time slot? Is it stressful? Will they need to prepare? Or maybe they do best when jumping from one appointment to the next with no breaks. Is there time for travel that needs to be allotted? Take a glance at the bigger picture, make adjustments where necessary, and prioritize appointments with all those facts in mind. Your thoughtfullness will not go unnoticed. I promise!
3. Time Efficiency Expert. Multi-tasking can end up being a disaster, however having Laser Focus and being able to accomplish the maximum amount of tasks in the most efficient amount of time is quite the opposite...it is VITAL! Just think of behind the scenes of any kind of production where there are numerous moving parts that need to coexist and work together in harmony. It is the same in this profession. So much is happening to keep that professional ball rolling so to speak, and YOU are the core that keeps that well oiled maching functioning. Get your Game Face On, Focus Laser Sharp, and put your LOVE of Organization to work!
Honestly, there are so many more skills that we could talk about, and maybe I'll save those for a later post. But keep in mind, there is a lot of trust placed in you with this position. Guard it with upmost care. Maintain confidentiality. Exude professionalism. And don't forget to Serve With JOY! Spread that quality wherever you go!