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In the summer of 2014 Today’s PA was asked to train a dozen PAs from software specialist company Objectivity. We asked the host for some feedback. This was how Joanna Limberger felt.
In comparison to current situation I can easily say I was only trying to be assertive.
My assertiveness often come down to holding off with own opinion, staying neutral and inactive during the meetings.
I almost always accept all the ad hoc tasks from the people coming to my desk which created a huge interruption to my own work.
I agreed with my boss on many occasions but inside I felt he was wrong but had no courage to say it out loud (even though I knew he does appreciate honesty)
How confident were you with Microsoft Outlook?
I thought I was quite confident, however I didn’t use all possibilities that Outlook offers.
I found the training very useful. I learnt I can have more control over my work and should not be afraid of using new tools.
I learnt how to introduce tasks into project daily management.
I learnt how to use outlook calendar in a more efficient way.
A lot of quick tips helped me to understand that using short cuts will only help to use time and I should not be afraid of using them.
The training was full of work life examples so I could compare the methods, check they’re working and apply to standards I’m using.
How did the training meet your needs?
The meeting was effective, compact with a lot of practice, case studies and useful tips
Everything was supported by examples
We’ve received the hand outs earlier (by accident) but actually having read some of the things helped me to ask proper questions and get the most of the training.
The training helped me to manage my boss better and with bigger confidence.
Did your assertiveness improve after the training? If yes how?
I’m more focused and of control so I stopped hesitating and I have more courage to approach people. This confidence is now more visible the way I deal with daily interruptions and difficult tasks.
I’m not afraid to say ‘no’ to by boss when I disagree. I tried and saw he does appreciate me being honest rather than me agreeing with everything he says. It broke the last ice!
I don’t have a feeling everything depends on me anymore. I realized I’m more effective when I cooperate, focus or sometimes delegate things.
I’m very confident in running the monthly meetings; I speak during the meetings, ask for actions, discuss things and appoint speakers, make sure the discussion is on right track. All meeting participants acknowledged the changes I introduced and said it was great. The meetings are more compact and ‘to the point’ now.
Did your skills in Microsoft Outlook improve? If so how?
My outlook skills improved a lot!
I’m using outlook task list as a main tool to follow up changes in the projects, update my boss and track actions appointed to other people
I’m not afraid to adjust the tool bar to my needs; I’m actually playing it, twisting around and trying new things so it’s more user-friendly.
I use key shortcuts, drag emails, create and assign tasks. I apply rules which saves me a lot of time with filtering emails. My outlook skills are now definitely more practical
Has the training made you more effective in your work? If so how?
I’m more confident, organized and have a peace of a mind at the same time
I’m quicker in responding emails
I’m not using my paper notebook at all
Having introduced ‘rocks & sand’ method, I’m now 85% more effective with my daily tasks and managed to improve effectiveness of my boss. I now have the full picture of what I’ve been doing for entire day.
I’m more effective as saving time allows me to focus on new things or just talk to people which is also important in my job ( I can now develop my interpersonal skills)
I’m less administrative and more managing now
As a part of this domino effect I also managed to finally understand what’s going on at different levels of our organization, simply because I have now time to investigate
I learn how to focus more in order to enjoy more time because all things are done
Has your manager or team appreciated the changes?
Yes he did, he thinks working with tasks is a brilliant idea
He is more calm now as he doesn’t have to dig in he’s Evernote notes anymore. It’s not crowded anymore as project we follow have been moved to tasks
He noticed my confidence in running the meetings, taking notes and making decisions.
He appreciated the fact I introduced a break during his working day and got convinced that’s necessary.
He feels the decision about having the training was a good decision