Look behind a great executive and you will find an amazing EA – the one who makes things happen.
No…it’s not making the perfect cup of coffee at exactly 10am or learning to move the keyless BMW or remembering to buy personal gifts for their loved one because your executive doesn’t have the time. A strong EA provides a high level of administrative support ranging from preparing reports, scheduling meetings, handling correspondence, booking trips and yes, even scheduling the Beemer for its service. Everything a good EA does comes down to a simple philosophy. It’s all about keeping things running smoothly – keep the pressure off the executive and everyone will be happy.
End of the day, if you are disciplined, super confidential, an amazing time keeper and are superb at juggling then the job is yours.
Write down everything! Even if you think ‘No way in the world I’ll forget this meeting time” get it on paper, a napkin, a post it note…anything! A good EA doesn’t miss a thing! Keep track of the executive’s calendar, meetings and activities and scheduling conferences and business travel. An EA also must prepare and organise reports, letters, presentations and other documents, balance and schedule all appointments (remember the meeting you said you wouldn’t forget, the one you didn’t write down on that napkin the other day at the restaurant…well your executive is double booked!)
BE ORGANISED (OCD if you have to)
It’s like this, be systematic in your approach. Emails and tweets first thing, check your executive’s calendar and schedule for the day, confirm appointments and make yourself a cuppa all before your executive gets in. Create systems – processes and procedures that you can follow and stick to. Prioritise! Do your emails before your coffee.
If you miss a deadline or lose a document due to the mountain of unbridled paperwork or the 150 emails that are still sitting unread in your inbox – that’s not so good. Label it, file it sort it. Touch it once and put it away in the appropriate file, folder, add it to the calendar or delete it! Actually here’s a good tip, stay ahead of it all by setting reminders days in advance of the due date so you can’t get caught out!
Another simple housekeeping rule, if you can do it now, DO IT! Don’t put if off because I can assure you won’t have time later – you’ll have a ten page report to write!
The way you speak and write can define you as an above average EA and in turn define the company you work for. It’s not your executive’s job to take out his little red pen and mark your spelling out of 10! You need to have a deep understanding of punctuation and grammar. Most of the time you will be writing reports, memos, letters and taking minutes for the company. On behalf of your executive you need to speak to people at all levels and liaise with members of the public, so you should be approachable and easy to understand. Be polite and eloquent. Pay attention to what people are saying and address their concerns or questions immediately (remember if you leave it for later you’ll forget…trust me). Oh yes, eye for detail. Read it again and again before you send it.
FINAL WORDS OF WISDOM
A good EA is comfortable with every piece of technology. From database to word processing to syncing the new IPhone with the Beemer, it will all be up to you, so keep your skills up to date! Anticipate problems and solve them before they become an issue. A good EA is autonomous and able to make the right decision without too much fuss. Corporate grooming at all times. And just as a reminder, it’s called “Casual” Friday, not “I’m going to the beach” Friday. It’s an important role.
Take pride in your work and be the most efficient and professional best that you can be. Remember…You are the “GATEKEEPER”!