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Today’s PA Academy is our flagship PA course, held in Central London five times a year: March, May, August, October, and December. We understand that it can be difficult to justify a full week away from the office, but our flexible option means that if you’re unable to attend five days in a row, you can simply book the course, and then spread your training days throughout the year. And if you’re not sure you need all five days, just select the combination that suits you best.
In 5 days Today’s PA Academy covers the following elements:
Day 1 – The Assertive PA
Day 2 – Microsoft Outlook Masterclass
Day 3 – Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel Masterclass
Day 4 – Managing Successful Projects and Events
Day 5 – Minute Writing Made Simple
Whether you are a novice or an experienced PA, the Today’s PA Academy is the ultimate total immersion course for your profession. This course is designed for PAs and office professionals who want to excel in their roles. It’s where they become the executive assistant their boss needs, discovering how to work effectively with their managers to achieve strategic business objectives. Because Today’s PA Academy is so comprehensive, delegates also learn how to become truly valued, and gain the recognition and rewards they deserve. We also concentrate on helping PAs to embrace the advances in office technology to increase productivity, stay organised, save time, and achieve a greater life/work balance.
But don’t think it’s all work and no play because the course also includes an evening out with your trainer and your peers.
It’s not always easy to justify a week out of the office but we can guarantee you’ll be glad you made the commitment – and so will your manager!
Day 1 of Today’s PA Academy involves building up your self-esteem and sense of self-worth so that you see yourself not just as the assistant to an important person but as an extension of that person’s management style and vision.
As a PA, you ‘plough a lonely furrow’ at times. Your position is unique: you work closely with and have the ear of someone important and influential, yet you occupy a relatively junior place in the hierarchy. The orbit in which you move makes colleagues keep their distance and be on their guard about what they say in your presence in case it gets back to your manager, possibly to their detriment. So it’s hard to establish the friendly interpersonal relationships that allow office workers to work effectively together.
It’s a bit like being a royal consort – all the glory, but no power. Sometimes, however, you need some of that power to rub off on you, because today’s senior executive expects you to be able to act as a proxy and delegate accordingly.
These days, today’s PA needs to be more of an executive associate. We will help you acquire the confidence and assertiveness to be the assistant your manager needs. As a result, you will feel much more comfortable with asking colleagues to carry out tasks that advance the objectives of the organisation.You will begin to share your manager’s ‘big picture’ outlook, rather than the more limited horizons of the traditional secretary-based PA. Other major elements covered on this day include:
However you became a PA – and it’s surprising just how many PAs tell us it happened to them almost by accident – your position is unusual in many ways. No other role in business places so much reliance on the absolute capability of one person to provide unwavering and comprehensive support to a senior executive. Working in the shadow of someone important and busy, it’s easy for your own needs and aspirations to be overlooked – by you and others. This course brings you out of the shadows and into the light as you become aware of the critical part you play in your organisation’s success – and how you can give your career a boost as well.
We give you the knowledge and tools to ensure you become the indispensable aide and business associate your manager needs – so much more than a secretary. We also make sure you begin to appreciate your real worth – not just to your manager and yourself, but to the whole organisation – and arm you with the confidence and assertiveness necessary to be not just good at your job, but brilliant at it. The rewards for this fresh, new approach to your role and the enhanced outlook on your career and life that it delivers will quickly become apparent in the weeks and months following the course.
You are the gatekeeper to your manager, but who protects you from the interruptions that conspire to prevent you achieving what needs to be done each day? It’s tough enough working for someone who never seems to go home, without missing your lunch break or only occasionally getting out of the office on time. Our research suggests that PAs frequently experience interruptions totalling 90 minutes or more a day. Think what you could achieve and how much better you would feel if you could claw back two hours of lost time each day. Sounds impossible? Our course, we will show you how it can be done. And you will love us for it.
Protecting your manager from unnecessary interruptions is a critical part of your job and it’s one of the hardest, especially when there’s a steady stream of other, often very senior, people wanting opinions and decisions. We will show you how to handle these tricky encounters, diplomatically but firmly, whilst ensuring that you don’t create a bottleneck that threatens the success of the organisation. As your reputation for decisive action grows, people seeking your manager’s time will start to think harder and more thoroughly before doing so and will even begin bouncing their thoughts off you first. You will become a kind of executive ‘triage nurse’, deciding which ideas and requests really merit the attention of your manager and which can be delegated sideways or downwards to someone more appropriate.
Few people in business have to juggle as many different balls as a busy PA, which can be very stressful, especially if you work for more than one manager. On this day, we will show you a number of different strategies you can try in order to reduce this stress. These include managing your and your manager’s time more effectively and learning how, with tactful firmness, to deflect or defer tasks or priority interruptions that often turn out to be little more than fire-fighting activities.
Working for one demanding and exacting manager can be more than enough for most PAs, so if you work for two or more, you have our sympathy. But balancing their individual needs doesn’t need to be hell. Plainly you cannot give them the same level of attention they would get if they didn’t have to share you, but there is a better way. We will show you how it works and equip you with the tools and skills – and the patience – you need to make a great job of keeping them all happy and successful – and whilst keeping your stress levels down.
Your unique position as a PA means you often hear things that challenge your sense of discretion. Does your boss need to know about all of them, or do you decide what to pass on a ‘need to know’ basis? Do you remain as enigmatic as the Sphinx, or behave like a C-list celebrity on a reality TV show? We’re exaggerating a bit here, but the purpose is serious: winning the confidence of colleagues at all levels is vital if you are to function effectively and successfully. A reputation for utter discretion, except where to keep silent might threaten the organisation or your manager, will open new conduits of communication and information that will help make your job easier and give you the opportunity to present your manager with new business options to consider.
No-one likes time management courses, except the people who send you on them. PAs know that time management courses are for people who haven’t got enough to do, so we’re not going to give you one of those. But because this course has been designed by PAs for PAs, there are some very useful tips and wrinkles we can pass on to help you manage not just your time, but your manager’s time, more effectively and productively. One thing we will do before you attend this course is ask you to keep a log of your daily activity, so we can analyse it with you during the course.
Over the years, however, applications like Microsoft Outlook have grown in sophistication and refinement to the point where they really can help you do your job better, and take some of the pressure off.
Outlook is now a mature and fully-fledged assistant for you; learning to exploit its capabilities will help you make the most of your time and simplify and automate other office tasks that until now have been tediously manual or just impossible. In our experience, course delegates save an hour every day using our Outlook tips. That’s five or more hours a week – half a day given back to you to do other things!
You are going to love this. Instead of all that palaver toggling between an email and a new contact window, copying and pasting individual snippets of information from one to the other, which seems to take ages (and then sometimes copy or paste doesn’t work), we’ll show you how to add a new contact, plus any relevant information from their email, in less than two seconds! You won’t believe how much time this will save you.
Most of us have emailed a letter to invite delegates to an event. How about doing the merge direct to email instead? That’s right: send personalised emails to hundreds of people from one email message. No more anonymous ‘Dear All’ emails with the recipients dumped in BCC: after this course!
PAs are invariably inundated with tasks from their bosses, other managers, colleagues etc. How do you keep track of and prioritise them? Simple: you learn how to use the tasks function in Outlook to track EVERY task seamlessly. This session often leaves delegates literally speechless!
You get a call from a client who wants to meet your manager. You give yourself a crick in the neck as you try to match your boss’s calendar with your caller’s availability. Outlook provides a beautifully clear and easy way to view multiple calendars and dates hands-free!
Colour code incoming emails so you can see at a glance when your manager emails you.
Send out standard emails with just a few keystrokes.
Learn how to colour your appointments automatically without using categories.
Create multiple email auto-signatures for multiple managers.
Find out how to use voting buttons; a brilliant function when you have standardised responses.
This includes such incredibly useful rules as diverting CC’d emails to your boss into a separate folder so she can quickly scan them; automatically printing certain emails; making sure you never forget an email attachment ever again.
Link contacts into ad hoc groups, such as from management and project teams.
This is an excellent example of how Office can take some of the load off your shoulders. Your boss has asked you to invite 1,000 people to the Christmas party – how are you going to do it? Easy: enable Outlook’s voting buttons in the invitation email, creating separate folders for ‘Accept’ and ‘Decline’ replies, setting up rules to divert the responses into the right folders. Auto replies can also be set up so ‘Accept’ replies are sent an email with the venue, map and timing details while ‘Decline’ replies are sent a simple ‘Thank you’. The beauty of this is that once it is set up – which really is easy to do – you won’t have to lift a finger. Sounds great, doesn’t it? And just think how much time it can save you.
156 Time saving tips within 50+ pages (MS Office versions: 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016)
This Time Management course focuses on using Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint to save you time. As with all computer-based office tools, we tend to use familiar features and functions and ignore the rest. You will learn how to really use these effectively to produce amazing professional documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and with the use of our breath-taking shortcuts, it needn’t take you hours!
Many office professionals use Microsoft PowerPoint frequently, but few use this program to its full potential. To illustrate, have you ever struggled to line up your images in your slideshow? Next time press shift + F9. This will display gridlines for you to line objects up perfectly.
What else will you learn on the day?
Many office professionals have a fear of using Microsoft Excel. However, this program is not just a useful tool for accountants and actuaries! To illustrate, have you ever struggled to come up with just the right formula for your work? Next time press shift + F3 and ask Excel what you want it to do. Want to create a chart instantaneously? Select your data and press F11. You will also learn:
Most people go to their ribbon (or toolbar) to increase the size of their font. If you highlight your text and press Ctrl + [ or Ctrl + ] your font size will decrease/increase. You will also learn:
420 Time saving tips within 100+ pages (MS Office versions: 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016)
Today’s PA’s duties do not end with looking after your boss’ calendar. Top PAs are now taking on more responsibilities such as managing projects and events. This course will take you through a project life cycle and show you how to make it a shining success, earning you praise and gratitude from your boss and respect and admiration from your colleagues.
Often without specific training, you have to be not just good, but great at so many diverse tasks, while all around you colleagues with specialised functions only have to concentrate on doing one thing well.
Isn’t it funny how often what seemed like a simple task (at least to your boss) when you were given it, can easily turn into a project, gobbling up your time, as well as resources? If you need to be more effective in managing your tasks and projects, want to feel more in control of involved colleagues and deadlines, and get help from project planning tools, then this one-day course for non-project managers is for you! During the first half of the day your trainer will take you through the main steps of project management process:
The second half of the day is dedicated to managing successful events. Since every event is a project of its own, at this stage you will already have a clear picture of the main steps you need to take to make the whole process run smoothly. The afternoon part will cover some specifics of organising events:
You will also learn:
We will provide you with comprehensive checklists and other useful materials that will turn the process of managing a project or organising an event into a simple task.
No PA considers taking minutes to be pleasurable, but it has to be done – and done well. Not everyone working at PA level has come via the traditional route, which means that if you don’t take shorthand, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s being said. If it’s also a less-than-interesting meeting, it can be hard to maintain your attention so you don’t miss anything. And then when the meeting’s over, it’s all got to be typed up and circulated – about as much fun as watching paint dry. You might find it hard to believe we can make the job enjoyable, but after this Today’s course, your will know how to write minutes that are beyond reproach – and even enjoy doing so! We will show you how to:
Sitting in a meeting and listening is easy enough, but actually hearing what’s being said is not just a matter of concentration, it’s about filtering the discussion so you can note the significant details. We’ll give you tips on effective hearing – with both ears.
The chairperson manages and directs the meeting, but needs to work in harmony with the minute-taker so that the flow of the meeting is noted properly. On occasions, this will require assertiveness from you – we show you how.
Research suggests that 16% of the adult population has literacy problems. We’re not suggesting that includes you, but today’s organisations can no longer assume that employees come to them fully-equipped to write grammatical English. Where help with the basics is needed, we provide it.
Different audiences have different needs and expectations from minutes. A CEO may just want an executive summary while a project team may need to see detail. We’ll show you several methods of filtering your notes so you can zoom in on what needs to be included in the minutes.
This is a tough one, especially if you’re not directly involved in the subject of the meeting. You may not even understand the terminology being used. Relax: our special techniques for improving concentration will help you breeze through the meeting – without dozing off!
Ideally, you write up meeting minutes straight afterwards. In practice, it could be a couple of days before you get round to it. By that time, the meaning of some cryptic comment with arrows pointing to a doodled diagram may have evaporated. Once you start applying one of the several note-taking methods we’ll show you, such nightmares will be a thing of the past.
Where the meeting includes a lot of technical jargon and detail, it’s easy to lose track. There are ways around the problem, however, so even if you’re a complete technophobe we’ll make sure you’re covered in glory when your minutes are circulated.
With five days to impart so much information effectively, we use a variety of training techniques to ensure that PAs retain what they have learnt and return to work able to implement their new knowledge immediately. Providing direct after-course support via email and Facebook, therefore, plays an essential part in this process. The techniques for our courses include:
All Today’s PA delegates are asked to evaluate the course as it finishes. Delegates regularly give us 5 out of 5, and 1 in 6 have said it’s the best course they’ve ever attended.
Today’s PA was named “Best PA Training Provider in the UK” five years running, having been voted for by thousands of PAs in the pa-assist.com Members’ Voice Awards 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Your principal trainer, Paul Pennant, is the founder and Managing Director of Today’s PA. Paul started Today’s PA with a clear vision: to take his own experiences as a PA, office manager and business director and create PA training that meet the challenging real-world needs and aspirations of modern business professionals.
With the rapid advances in technology, Paul has specialised in helping PAs to utilise this technology to save time and reduce stress. He covers all Microsoft Office products at all levels. He is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master. With a post-graduate degree in business studies, few, if any, trainers are better qualified to deliver and lead the workshop for Today’s PAs – for you.
Your investment is £2400 + VAT.
Investment for non-profit organisations is £2150+VAT.
When you commit five valuable days of your time to Today’s PA Academy, we want you to know that we understand and recognise that commitment. We want to do everything we can to ensure that our courses are thoroughly worthwhile for you. Being properly prepared will play a key part in achieving that success. Indeed, your success is our success.
If you get what we promise from the Academy – and we know you will – we are confident you will recommend it to peers and colleagues. So we would like you to complete a short questionnaire, just before you attend this workshop, in order to give us a snapshot of the kind of person and PA you are, how you became a PA and what are your issues, frustrations, hopes and ambitions.
When you arrive at the course, you will feel that you are among friends who understand you – and you are because your trainers and course designers have all been where you are now. Doesn’t that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling?
Once the course is over, we don’t just wave you goodbye and close the door. When you leave, you take with you our ongoing commitment to your success, which includes:
You may want to look at the history of PAs before attending at www.wikipedia.org
Days 1 – 5 9:00-17:00
Marriott Hotel Regents Park
128 King Henry’s Road
This course will change your PA for the better:
You value your PA, of course, but don’t you sometimes wish she – or he – would be a bit more assertive, a bit more in tune with your needs, perhaps – without having to be prompted or asked? Do you sometimes feel that you could accomplish more for your business or organisation if your PA was able to anticipate your wishes, or come up with ideas that help meet your strategic objectives, thereby improving the effectiveness of your working relationship?
Life at your level is not always easy for PAs – quite often they come into the role organically or by accident – maybe your PA started out as a secretary or office junior, for example. This isn’t necessarily the right formula for the kind of person you need by your side in today’s tough and competitive business environment. Even if your organisation is non-commercial, there are unprecedented pressures on it to deliver results and justify its existence to stakeholders.
In five days, the Today’s PA Academy will provide your PA with the skills they need to achieve what you want and expect from them. That’s because, unlike other Personal Assistant courses, this one is designed by experienced, successful PAs, for today’s PAs. Today’s PA lead trainer has been a highly successful PA and Office Manager and is now the company’s Managing Director. With a post-graduate degree in business studies as well, the success of Today’s PA is a testimony to the fact that no trainer is better qualified to deliver and our courses.
Your PA is prepared to commit five days of valuable time to become better equipped for helping and working with you. That has to be a worthwhile investment – the companies below certainly think so.
Even if you can’t make it to one of our venues, don’t despair – why not let us come to you?
There are many good reasons for keeping the course in-house: it makes for greater efficiency and ensures everything is focussed on your organisation’s business. The courses can be adapted to your organisation’s specific needs so that it perfectly aligns with its culture and values.
Your PAs can also network and share their experiences of the course, thus strengthening the PA role within your organisation.