Would you like to organize and lead meetings of administrative professionals within your company? Are you an administrative assistant or executive assistant who likes to attend meetings of administrative professionals within your company?
I was reading a discussion in which an administrative professional proposing monthly meetings of the company’s assistants was surprised to encounter resistance — not from management in the company but from the administrative professionals themselves. The admin pro also seemed surprised to receive feedback from the potential attendees asking why or what’s the purpose of the meetings.
I’m not surprised by either scenario.
Meetings of Admins Can be Good
I’ve studied and written about this topic of administrative professionals holding meetings in their companies. And I favor it!
Some Admins Will be Rightfully Cautious of Attending These Meetings
However, I know of many reasons why some administrative professionals would resist the idea –sometimes with good reason; one of them is below in the first item excerpted from the past report I did on this topic.
“Why?” is Sometimes a Good Question for All Involved
As far as potential attendees requesting “why” or “what’s the purpose,” I say “YES! Good question! I’m glad they’re curious and asking such questions and not just relying on telepathy from the meeting organizer to relay the purpose or importance of the meetings.
Meetings Without Purpose are Usually Bad Meetings
It’s never a good use of your time to attend (or even lead) a meeting that does not have a known purpose that the meeting organizer cannot succinctly tell you. And if that person does not want to tell you the “why” or can’t clearly explain “what’s the purpose,” then he or she should not be organizing or leading the meeting –and perhaps not even having one.
Good meetings serve a purpose. And your time is valuable. If it’s a purposeful meeting of administrative professionals, then your valuable time is being used wisely –serving both you and the company.
Three Tips for Organizers of Admin Meetings
Here are three tips excerpted from the still useful report I wrote several years ago on the topic. The Special Report is called Meetings of Administrative Professionals Within Companies: Who’s doing it? What are they talking about? How often?
This is from Section 4: Recommendations From The Effective Admin under the subtopic Meeting Attendees and Attendance –p. 29 of the report for those of you who have the report; if you don’t have the report, it’s one of many resources included with your VAAP membership:
Even when meetings are voluntary, attendance often will be high for “good” meetings. It’s “bad” meetings with poor agendas, leadership and facilitation that have given meetings overall a bad rap.
So a lot of times when you’re trying to initiate a meeting and convince administrative professionals about the value of attendance, you’re starting with this handicap. It’s a handicap that’s been handed down through the ages; unless you were guilty of leading and facilitating a bad meeting in the past, you are a victim of it. Unfortunately, you have to recognize and deal with this handicap regardless because “it comes with the job.”
Get more involvement from others in the agenda. Even if you’re the meeting initiator and leader, don’t consider it “my” agenda; perhaps consider it an organized “community” event. As a leader, lead but “serve” the group in attendance by ensuring everything on the agenda meets their needs and is relevant to them.
On the other hand, if the meeting is all about “your” agenda, which is quite possible depending on the topic and information to be delivered, then you may consider it “my” agenda.
However, it appears that overall from the responses gathered through survey research that the majority of meetings of administrative professionals within companies are intended to benefit all of the attendees and meet more than one person’s needs.
Deliver the agenda before the meeting. Often in a good meeting, everyone knows exactly what’s going to happen in the meeting before they get there, including what discussions will be underway. This also means they can come prepared. While it’s a good intent at involvement to open a general discussion and ask anyone to speak up about what’s on their mind, it’s not the most logical way to hold meeting discussion.
Instead, have attendees send you their discussion item topics to put on the agenda before the meeting. Then deliver the agenda to attendees before the meeting so they can come prepared with thought (perhaps even resources) on the issues. Then attendees know there will be a discussion on the topic and the meeting purpose (or at least that portion of it) is to have the discussion.
Look at it this way: You wouldn’t consider it a good use of your manager’s time and would probably turn down any request for her to attend a meeting at which there would be open discussion but on topics not known until the meeting is underway.
That’s what you’re doing when you wait until the meeting to open the floor for anyone to speak about anything. Know exactly what’s going to occur in your meeting of administrative professionals before it starts – not the details of a vote, discussion, etc., but the meeting topics, purpose, and goals.
Have meetings of administrative professionals within your company. But know their purpose and know how to professionally conduct a meeting. A lot of people, including administrative professionals, hate attending meetings, even with and of their colleagues, precisely because the meetings are poorly run, poorly facilitated, and with no clearly relayed purpose beforehand or even during the meeting. Learn to be a good meeting leader and organizer of administrative professionals in your company. Respect your meeting attendees’ time and provide value in the meetings you produce and your attendees will enthusiastically return meeting after meeting. As with anything, people (including meeting attendees) want to know “what’s in it for me” to attend your meeting. Can you tell them beforehand? If so, tell them; don’t rely on telepathy to get your purpose across to them. As an administrative professional, you know firsthand that there really is no such thing as mind reading in the office setting.
Get help with organizing your meetings of administrative professionals within your company through the tips provided in the Special Report: Meetings of Administrative Professionals Within Companies. It’s just one of 100 educational publications provided freely to members of the Virtual Association for Administrative Professionals, which is operated by The Effective Admin brand. Click here to start your VAAP membership now –you can join 24/7 and immediately access the resources for members such as that report mentioned above.