Skills Required For Administrators In The New World Of Work

This article first appeared on the Skills Portal Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 09:36 Author: Catarina Allison As we sit and stare at the “new world of work” that has become a reality since the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are forced to face the fact that our job requirements are changing, and our skills are becoming “outdated”. As the market adapts, it’s imperative that we change with it. Staying relevant by attending industry Conferences and Events, that are specific to your job function, will help you to stay on top of the latest trends and will ensure that you are prepared for the changes to come.   Another advantage of attending a conference or similar event, is that they allow you to build a strong network and provide a great opportunity for you to connect with likeminded professionals. The 13th Annual Joburg Secretaries Day Conference will be taking place on 2 - 3 September 2020 and is an event specifically aimed at Administrative Professionals (AP’s), Executive Assistants (EA’s) and Personal Assistants (PA’s).  Catarina Allison, Director of KumaloGreen (the conference organisers) says that “Gone are the days of typing, proof-reading, making coffee and answering phones. AP’s, EA’s and PA’s need to be...Read More

The 3 Rules you Learnt in School that will Improve your Writing

This article first appeared on the Skills PortalWednesday, May 29, 2019 - 09:01Author: Catarina Allison Written communication can have a greater impact on our professional image than we realise. It assists in getting a message across to colleagues, staff, clients and community. By making even the smallest grammatical error, you could be portraying a message of unreliability, inaccuracy, and poor-quality service. Here are 3 basic rules we learnt in school, which still apply in business: Syntax Syntax is the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences.  English generally operates under the SVO order (Subject – Verb – Object). Below we have examples of correct and incorrect SVO order: The cat (subject) washes (verb) it’s paw (object) - correct                       The cat (subject) washes (verb) their paws (object) - incorrect Why is the second sentence above incorrect? Because the cat is singular and is only washing one paw, which is also singular.                              Punctuation There are 12 punctuation marks that are commonly used and using them incorrectly could change the entire meaning of the sentence. Ie: Lets eat Granpa! vs Lets eat, Grandpa! Have completely different meanings. So, unless you want to feast on your immediate family, I suggest you have a...Read More

5 Techniques that Make Minute Taking Easy

This article first appeared on the Skills PortalFriday, May 31, 2019 - 09:25Author: Catarina Allison Over the years, KumaloGreen has trained hundreds of people who come to us for help with their minute taking. Many delegates find taking down minutes very stressful and feel that because they can’t speed write and do short-hand, they are unable to take down minutes effectively. If you are one of those people, we’d like to help you and assure you that, minute taking is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice. Below we have narrowed down the top 5 tips and tricks of note-taking that our delegates have found most useful: Create an outline – This comes from knowing the agenda before the meeting takes place. Using this as a template can help you be prepared for what’s coming and speed up the time of note taking. Use the agenda points as the “headings” and make sure you have enough space under each one for any notes you may jot down.Listen before writing – If you start recording the point of order as soon as the speaker begins, you will be tempted to write down word for word what is being said....Read More

5 Ways To Be More Assertive and Less Aggressive

This article first appeared on the Skills PortalTuesday, May 21, 2019 - 09:32Author: Catarina Allison If you google “What's the difference between being assertive and aggressive” the first answer you will get is: Assertive people state their opinions, while still being respectful of others. Aggressive people attack or ignore others' opinions in favour of their own. Passive people don't state their opinions at all. As you can see, it’s essential to build your assertiveness skills, if you want to thrive in your diverse workplace. Here are 5 easy steps you can take that will help you to become more assertive: i) Be a good listener – They say that the smartest people, say the least. Listening to the other person’s perspective shows respect. To show respect, you need to be really listening and not merely thinking of what your own response will be, while the other person is talking. If you really listen you will get to know the other person’s view holistically, which will help you to make your point more effectively. ii) Make eye-contact, and keep a positive posture – Be sure not to stare – that can be a little aggressive, but if you keep eye-contact with someone for about 70% of...Read More

Building Resilience In Your Admin Role

This article first appeared on The Skills PortalThursday, May 16, 2019 - 14:40Author:Cindy Payle When you think about an administrative role, resilience is probably not the first word that comes to mind. But according to Catarina Allison, Director of KumaloGreen Training "being resilient is no longer an option, it’s a necessity, if you want to thrive in your role." Why has resilience become such an important trait in the administrative field? Mainly because of the speed at which companies need to adapt to environmental changes. "In today's complex and busy admin role, things change continuously and things change fast." What does it mean to be resilient? Having resilience means that you are able to anticipate risks and feel comfortable with change, explains Allison. Resilient people are able to "harness the power of change". Resilience refers to an internal strength and flexibility that is not threatened by external circumstances. "When you are resilient, you are able to limit the damage during turbulent times, absorb the hard knocks when things get tough and quickly regroup and bounce back when the worst happens." "This is exactly the kind of skill that will make you an invaluable admin and an asset to your team."   How can...Read More

How to Boost Your Career with IQ and EQ

The debate, of what is more important for success in the work place “book smarts” or “street smarts”, continues.  Some scientists say that a higher IQ is the only contributing factor to success in the workplace, where others will argue that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) has a more powerful hand at creating success. So, which is better? Can one work without the other? How does each make an impact on your success? What is IQ? An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. In a company like Microsoft, one can certainly argue that “smart people make for better workers”. In this instance, the company needs workers with a higher cognitive ability, as the work is complex, and changing at a rapid rate. If the employee is unable to learn new skills, or develop new programmes at a fast pace, Microsoft runs the risk of losing their competitive edge. Wharton Psychologist, Adam Grant, has concluded after several studies that “Cognitive ability (IQ) was 5 times more powerful than emotional intelligence (EQ). The average employee with high cognitive ability (IQ) generated an annual revenue of $ 195 000, compared with the $ 159...Read More

Progress Pilgrimage

Amazing speaker, Siphiwe Moyo, who we were privileged to hear at last year’s Joburg Secretaries Day Conference, focused his talk on the importance of Progress. Things were not always easy for the super successful Siphiwe and many ideas he shared at his talk, he learned personally, through his own experiences. We loved his straight forward and honest approach. He shared the following 3 life lessons, that were hard-hitting and encouraged a bit of soul searching: Life is difficult – get over itContrary to popular belief, the world doesn’t owe you anythingTalk is cheap – people get tired of all your promises We were really inspired by his talk “Position Yourself for Progress”, so we’d like to share some thoughts on how you can do, just that. According to the Collins Dictionary, progress is classified as “the process of gradually improving or getting nearer to achieving or completing something”. This could be relevant to a specific task, or your life as a whole – but it seems to me, that the key point here, is to have a goal. If you are not working towards anything, how are you ever expecting to progress? There are plenty of 'self-help' books, guides, articles...Read More

Taking Care from Head to Toe

Each ‘FRIENDS’ episode reminds us that: ‘no-one told you life was going to be this way’. However, YOUR friends, family & colleagues, constantly remind you that you need to look after yourself. It seems like such an obvious notion, but as a PA, you are driven by the idea that you need to look after others and run their daily routines. For many, it’s in your nature to put others first, and consider yourself last (which is probably why you’re so good at your job). However, not looking after yourself can lead to lower energy levels; anxiety or the feeling of uncertainty; dwelling in guilt that you haven’t done enough; or performing your functions with less vigour or competence than what you are used to. Don’t worry – we’ll be there for you… We have a couple of techniques for you to use to pamper yourself (at a cost-effective rate) at home and PIVOT the way you feel about yourself, and #BeFabulous. SKIN: Your face is the first thing that you look at each day, and is the first thing that people notice about you. It holds the power to show your emotion, express yourself in conversation and create a...Read More

Captain Consistency

The very definition of a Personal Assistant is an ‘assistant who works for one person in particular’. Never mind working for yourself. You’re running your own life, and someone else’s (and often, more than one persons) at the same time as yours. To do this effectively, organisation is vital. In this day and age, PA’s have one of the most diverse job descriptions out there. Often their skills, abilities, talents and focus are not only shifted between executives, but could possibly range from running personal errands to conducting a staff meeting on the behalf of the chief executives. This versatility was emphasised during the economic struggles of the 2000’s. As most companies were forced to retrench staff, secretaries became responsible for more than one manager and started taking over tasks that were generally assigned to middle-level management. This would not be possible without some sort of organisation. As much as we would all like to believe that we are a secret super-hero, we are only human and are bound to forget something every now and then. Developing your own system of organisation can assist in avoiding this imminent forgetfulness, and assist in keeping the façade of a Marvel Avenger. Find...Read More

6 Tips for First Time PA’s

With each new year, comes new beginnings. For some, this includes a first job, a different position or an unknown executive. This unwritten chapter of your life provides fresh opportunities of adventure, hope and challenges. Although it takes courage to grow, and become who you really are – no one has ever said that you should do it by yourself.   As a personal assistant – other people’s priorities become your own. Their wants, needs, likes and dislikes fill your day and capture your attention continuously. Walters People have developed and advised on 6 tips for first time PA’s. Set priorities Scheduling is a vital part of our job, as you keep someone else organised and on top of their game. This will not be possible if you are not organised yourself. Using checklists can help with providing a clear overview of your tasks; the appropriate time allocation of each one; as well as deadlines that need to be adhered to. Visit your checklist every morning and evaluate if there should be any additions; postponements; or removals of tasks. Effective time management can assist in understanding and fulfilling your role in the workplace; developing the ability to remain committed to...Read More