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Harriet Kempton

Blog: Essential PA Skills - Managing the Unmanageable

  • by Harriet Kempton
  • 26 May 2016

Managing the Unmanageable

This week we held the first of our Essential PA Skills events and the attendee’s were treated to an insightful and interesting talk by Bonnie Cookson, EA to CEO and Chairman at Hailo and Rosie Cannon, a creative PowerPoint pro and PA at a leading creative agency. Both women gave a deep understanding into their worlds and provided the attendees with some wonderful tips and tricks into how they can not only improve their own work but also how they can make their lives easier with shortcuts and various apps.

Bonnie has worked predominantly in the tech space for some well known companies, including Skype and Microsoft and recently was a finalist PA of the year, 2015 (Executive PA Magazine). As anyone who has worked in the PA/ EA/ admin space will know, your role is a juggling act. As Bonnie said, you are a ‘gate keeper, mind reader, plate spinner, travel agent, life organiser, social secretary and keeper of secrets’ and consequently you never know what your day will throw at you.

Some of the top tips that Bonnie gave us:

  • Ensure all details are handed out for upcoming meetings/ events – the more information the better. If people don’t know where they are supposed to be or something unexpected happens, it will come back to you. Cover your back!
  • Diaries – block out time for lunch, additional meeting time for those that are likely to overrun and travel time. Even if it doesn’t all get used it will buy you time and anyone looking at the diary will see that it’s full, therefore giving you control over booking in additional meetings.
  • Depending on if it is an external or an internal meeting will depend on what details are needed. For example, if it is external send them info on how to get to the venue.
  • For large meeting groups, make it as easy as possible to get as many attendees’ there. Send out a chart so the PA can fill in a YES/NO for availability.

 

Tuesday 10am

Thursday 4pm

Thursday 10am

Friday 2pm

David

 

 

 

 

Sarah

 

 

 

 

John

 

 

 

 

Helen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 10am

Thursday 4pm

Thursday 10am

Friday 2pm

David

No

Yes

No

No

Sarah

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

John

No

Yes

No

Yes

Helen

No

No

Yes

No

 

  • Colour code the diary so you can see what meetings are happening quickly. The colours can only be seen in your diary and therefore allows you to see what is coming up at a quick glance.
  • If you and your boss use different systems (i.e. PC/ Mac) set aside a few minutes in the morning to ensure calendars are synced and you are on the same page. This will also give you time to debrief and go over anything urgent that needs to be attended to
  • Use technology and apps to your advantage – especially when making travel arrangements!
  • Your contacts and social media, i.e. Twitter and Facebook can also be super useful when booking things in locations you haven’t been – a recommendation is always the best point of reference!

Thanks Bonnie! There is some fantastic info that we can all take away from that.

As always, please do contact Sarah or the Office Support Team if you have any questions or would like to discuss potential career opportunities.

Contact us:

t: 0207 758 4308
e: sarah@careermovesgroup.co.uk
w: www.careermovesgroup.co.uk

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