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

Tips to Help you Clean Up your Digital Chaos

We have come to rely heavily on our technological devices, apps, syncing programs and social media in order to function effectively. But, just as clutter and chaos can cause anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed in our physical world, we can experience the same feeling in our virtual world. In fact, it could even be worse in our virtual world. In the physical world, we may be surrounded by ‘stuff’, but these physical objects don’t suddenly jump up at us and demand our attention. Our chaotic work desk, filled with papers, stationery and coffee cups, doesn’t make a noise, or insist on our full focus. Our virtual world, on the other hand – does exactly that. Digital clutter shows up in many different forms. For instance, as we work on our laptops, email notifications pop up, push notifications from Facebook buzz on our phones, and calendar reminders for birthdays ping on your tablet. Another form of virtual clutter is what is commonly known as “virtual hoarding”. Just because we have the ability to store all the emails, files, pictures, music etc that we could ever need, doesn’t mean that we should. The most common reason for this storage is...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

Stay Super-charged this Winter

As the days get shorter, and the nights get longer, our bad habits start to form. Our exercise gets less, the bread, wine and chocolates get more – and our complaining never stops! As we head into our winter months, we would like to challenge you to keep #TakingControl, and to look after yourself. Last month, we had daily activities to cleanse the mind, focusing on mental health – and this month, we want to expand on the holistic view of health – and tackle the physical aspect. We all know how to keep healthy – we’ve heard it our whole lives: Eat right; Exercise daily; Drink lots of water; Get some proper sleep; blah blah blah…. So why is it so hard? Why are there so many temptations in and around our environment convincing us to the do the opposite? We know what to do, but it just seems like we never have the time to care for ourselves, or the will power to put in the effort needed. In order to achieve our goals, they need to be broken down into bite size chunks. So let’s try to focus on only 4 areas to improve our health: Physical...Read More

Agonizing Anxiety, and How to Keep a Clear Mind

The mind is a powerful force. It can enslave us or empower us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy. Learn to use this power wisely. With a mind so powerful, one would expect that anxiety and depression would not be as common as it is, and yet - 40 million adults in the United States alone, are affected every year. So What is Anxiety? Anxiety is a natural and healthy emotion. The feeling of anxiety is often the cause of the “fight or flight” adrenaline surge that we experience when we consider ourselves to be in danger. Since the earliest days of humanity, this was brought on by survival tactics such as avoiding predators etc. Nowadays, it's more common to experience anxious thoughts as a result of work, family, financial pressures, health etc. When the feeling of anxiety is severe, and out of proportion to the ‘danger’ trigger (or the duration is extended), one could be facing an anxiety disorder. Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder: Everyone reacts differently to certain events and has slightly different chemical balances resulting in a number of possible symptoms. Some of these include: RestlessnessUncontrollable...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

What’s all the Clutter Mutter?

Creating a rhythm can help your brain Makes sense of things to keep you sane Without rhyme or reason, would we hate As it limits our performance rate Clear reading, understanding and just plain space Takes us to our happy place Organised chaos can sometimes suit But time wasted is always proved…. Our brains are programmed to follow a path Of easiness and simplicity, for our own health By creating a simple flow of words that form a pattern (or routine if you will), I am confident to say that I have already proven my point of “less is more”. As soon as our brains recognise shorter sentences, simple words and a rhythmic flow – the 10 lines above are not as overwhelming as a normal article would normally be – and can even create a sense of joy (or possibly just a sneaky smile). So why do we insist on cluttering our lives, our homes, our offices or our email inboxs when it is clearly easier and more bearable to deal with simplicity? Research has shown that clutter can have many negative effects on a person, and especially on employee productivity. Effects such as unhealthier eating; poorer mental health;...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