Four Misconceptions about EAs

How can you stop wasting energy on everyday decisions, improve your work-life balance, and still stay on top of your professional life? Get an executive assistant! When asked what an assistant does most people can only name a few things and can’t see the real benefit. Given all the time we spend talking with and thinking about assistants, we thought we should share some of the biggest misconceptions we hear about this profession.

 

1)  You only need an assistant if you are scheduling a lot of meetings

Busy Calendar ImageAssistants perform lots of useful tasks – their job is to help you stay organized, find ways to save you time, and perform tasks you wish you had time to do but never would have done. Spending time on contact management, fact checking and proofreading, expense reports, or car/home repairs means you have less time to focus on the high-level, high-impact decisions that shape your business. An assistant might help send cards for friends’ birthdays, set up exercise sessions, or keep track of your communications to make sure you’re checking in with key teammates and contacts.

 

Those of us who travel and take meetings might use an assistant more, but there are hundreds of possible uses for a great assistant!

2)  An assistant can only help you with your professional life

This is one of the most common misconceptions, and it seems to come out of previous generations’ boundaries between work and home. In reality, most busy professionals have blurry lines between their personal and professional lives.  And regardless, we’re all strapped for time.  

balancing

A great assistant is on top of everything in your life that you’re comfortable sharing. This does not mean you should forget important birthdays or anniversaries, but it does mean that there is another person there who can help make sure you’re on top of and dedicating enough time to your family and personal life. Whether they are saving you from having to coordinate with the person who picks up your dry-cleaning, ordering the right baseball bat for your child, researching a fun event for your house guest, or booking your back-up babysitter, a great assistant is on top of whatever it is that you need to make your life function more smoothly.

 

3)  An assistant isn’t supposed to deal with your stress or problems

That’s not very helpful!  A great assistant understands when you have a tough day. They want to know what’s stressing you stress v productivityout and what they can do to make things better. If you’re in a bad mood, it’ll likely have negative effect on your organization. Your assistant wants to make sure you are performing at your best so you can lead your organization to success. If you’re worried you’re going to be late, they can send you a reminder. If you aren’t sure what’s going on with your team, they can check in on key projects and report back. Some of the best assistants will even make sure you have a snack bar, so that you won’t get cranky in your afternoon meeting (which benefits both you and the rest of the team). Whatever you have on your plate, there are ways a top assistant can help.

 

4)    Only a top executive can afford a great assistant

Gone are the days when the CEO in the corner office was the only one with an assistant. Since most people in the knowledge economy are primarily paid for their thoughts, energy, and time, it’s become even more important to make sure everyone has a great assistant. Silicon Valley will give perks ranging from shuttles to and from work, free food, and massages, all in the name of making people more effective. Esper believes that everyone needs a high quality assistant. An assistant will give you more productivity gains anything else. In a freelance, sharing economy finding a well priced EA is easier than ever.

We at Esper are focused on creating the most productive and highest quality assistant workforce for your company. We have top-tier technology and training that can empower everyone at your company to reach their true potential. So why not get an assistant?!

Communicate Like an Executive Assistant

Forget about communicating “like a boss.” Here are some successful communication tips from the best Executive Assistants:

  1. Create a Successful Handoff

A good Executive should call out the Executive Assistant by saying something like “Blake will help us schedule a time/place (thanks Blake!)” Clearly calling out who is in charge of next steps prevents items from falling through the cracks.

  1. Establish Autonomy

An Executive Assistant immediately takes control of the conversation and establishes their autonomy. “Certainly! I’d be happy to help…”

  1. Maintain Inside Knowledge

An assistant always displays specialized knowledge related to not only their bosses preferences, but also knowledge for the other parties involved. “Dinner at The House restaurant would be great. If you’re a fan of distinctly Asian American flavor, I think you’ll be in for a treat.”

  1. Positive Personality

We all know Assistants are never negative. More important though, Assistants are also not overly formal or formulaic. Templates are fine, as long as they have personality. “Congrats on the promotion Amy. Did you hear that sound? Leslie Knope said – ‘it’s the sound of the glass ceiling cracking!’ 

  1. Keep it short

Whether it’s e-mails back and forth or extraneous conversation, a great assistant will decrease interactions to maximize time. Providing relevant information and making clear what you need from the other party minimizes the need for extraneous emails.

  1. Give Passive Updates

To give an Executive peace of mind, a great Executive Assistant should give passive updates to the executive. Whether it’s the completion of a project or key milestones along the way, knowing when and how to update the relevant individuals is critical to effective communication.

Executive Assistants are masters of communication! Use these six skills to up your game or use Esper to help your communication- personalized templates, task updates, and much more to help you achieve these skills!

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Executives and Assistants

When we’re talking to executives and assistants, we frequently get asked at Esper about the tricks really amazing executive assistants (EAs) use to make their workflow more efficient and maintain the highest quality in their work. After talking to more than fifty executives and EAs, we noticed several recurring tactics the best EAs use and several niche tricks we think more EAs should consider adopting. Whether you’re a new EA looking to launch your career or a seasoned EA hoping to pick up a new tactic or two, we hope these seven habits help you to be more productive.

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