6th Annual Australia National EA/PA Conference | Part Two: Conference

6th Annual Australia National EA/PA Conference | Part Two: Conference

The Brisbane, Clariden Global, 6th Annual Australia National EA/PA Conference was held at the Pullman Hotel. On arrival, I was easily directed to our conference room on Level 2 by the friendly staff. I also got a very warm welcome from the two workshop facilitators from the prior week.

The room was half full when I got there, so I found a chair, dumped my bag and headed for the ever-important morning coffee. (I was also greeted with a ham and egg wrap which was a great start to the morning.) The room was nice and large, yet this was another space with no external facing windows. There were 4-6 people seated at each of the large round tables, so the area was not overly crowded and well set out.

*Tip 1 – Find a space where you can read the screen with little difficulty. Try and separate from any work colleagues you may have also attending, after all, this is also a good networking event. Introduce yourself to the table with a quick: name, role and company.

I did an initial scan of the room to see who I knew, touched base with the one person I did, then took a seat at my table. As part of the Clariden Global 6th Annual Australia National EA/PA Conference, you get a wonderful guide on the schedule and attendees and then a comprehensive section on each speaker and their chosen topic, as well as a full notes page after each speaker so you can take down key points. This is all fabulously bound in a great booklet broken down into the separate days and scheduled forum events.

*Tip 2 – Use the provided guide to make notes about each topic spoken. This will make it easier to reference and will help you recall more about the topic if you can connect it with the speaker.

Our Program Director was Ross Fazel, and the longer the conference went, the more I liked him. He was genuinely interesting, summarised each section of the conference well, and gave some great additional information and insights.

Day One

Managing your Executives Schedule like a Mega Star with Dana Jackson

Key learnings: Dana relayed that while we all have the skills of managing a schedule, every role holds a uniqueness to it that affects the way we perform our role. We can always learn valuable tips form others. We also learned that there is invaluable knowledge in knowing your bosses role and the various difficulties involved in that role, especially on the occasions your boss is travelling and you are not there.

Key Points and tips:

  • Travel at least once with your boss to live the key issues they encounter and develop a greater understanding of their challenges.
  • Never assume every situation/boss is the same
  • Pre-empt those issues that may occur (after being on the road for a week – maybe schedule the boss to work from home the first day back)

From EAs/PAs to a Global Leadership: How to become a great Influencer with Lizzie Wagner

Lizzie imparted some great knowledge on turning your weaknesses into strengths, recognising and dealing with personality types, etiquette, influencing styles and expanding yourself into taking on a passion career.

Key Points and tips:

  • Know who you are and be true to yourself – don’t overdeliver and burn out
  • Practice win/win negotiations (If you allow me to do this thing I want to do, it will benefit you by…..)
  • Make sure you take time out for you and your partner/ family. Work shouldn’t get the ‘best’ bits of you all the time

The EAs/ PAs Role and Beyond – Moving from your role as an assistant with Ruth Kilah

Ruth gave us some useful information about expanding your current role, providing business benefits to maintaining your engagement in the company and ways to develop your career while staying in your current role. Ruth’s key tip was for you to find what you are passionate about and discover how you can how you can use that passion to expand yourself.

Key Points and tips:

  • Look for ways to lead
  • Look for ways information you gain can lead to opportunities
  • Make and maintain connections

Emotional Intelligence 2.0: Working Effectively with the Right Communication Styles with Anna-Lucia Mackay

Anna Lucia discussed complex problem solving, and ways to develop an Emotional Intelligence mindset. We learnt about self-awareness and self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Key Points and tips:

  • Continually develop skillsets
  • Look for opportunities to connect people

LUNCH BREAK: We were served fabulous food, so you certainly won’t go hungry at these events. Each day also included a lovely morning/afternoon tea that gave us a break. There was also food set aside for those with dietary requirements catering clearly labelled.

*Tip 3 – (As per my Workshops Tip 4): At lunch, go for a walk (Grab someone you just met and get to know them!) Eight hours is a long time to sit in a room and this will prevent that afternoon fade, as well as ensure you get a bit of exercise and sunlight

Finding your voice to handle challenging situations with Katrena Fiel

Katrena imparted some terrific tips on ways to word your sentences, your personal presence and ways to speak out without escalating a situation.

Katrena took us through a self-assessment challenge in order for us to work out what key items we personally need to work on and guided us through.

Key Points and tips:

  • Learn your weak points for your awareness
  • Know when to stop talking and walk away

Beauty Healthcare for Peak performance and Wellbeing with Kylie Smith

Kylie let us know her top app choices to aid in healthy living, gave us some health advice, talked about how all people are different and need to find what works for you.

Key Points and tips:

  • Choose good foods to feed your body and mind
  • Take time out to relax and reset
  • Top apps: My Fitness Pal, Yoga Studio, Calm

Tips, Techniques and tools to take the fear out of minute taking with Robyn Bennett

Robyn gave the very condensed version of her 2-day course. Advised on how to ensure you get the information you need to write up your minutes. Gave some tips on how a meeting should be run and how you can play your part, and she set us all the homework of “minuting the news” for the first half of the news every evening and comparing that to the summary that the news presenters provide after the halftime break.

Key Points and tips:

  • LAW: Listen, analyse, write
  • Ensure your meeting is set for success by letting the chair know what you require to complete the minutes
  • Clear, concise, condensed – a summary after each agenda item using the DART principle
    • Discussion/Decision/ Deferred
    • Actions
    • Responsibilities
    • Time
  • Print out some DART guidelines for the meeting and place them on the table
  • Sit NEXT to the meeting chair!

Panel Discussion: Understand your bosses needs without being told

Question time for the panel and tips and advice on managing your boss

Close of Day – Champagne Networking: Around one-third of the participants stayed for the champagne networking event as well as many of the key speakers. It was great to get some time to speak to the various attendees and learn a bit about their roles and experience, as well as the current challenges they face.

*Tip 4: Even if it is a very long day, make the effort to stay for the one drink and some networking with either the speakers that interest you or someone you haven’t met. It may only take 15 minutes, but that short interaction shows your interest in the event and the people attending

Day Two

Roundtable Events

Day Two started with three roundtable topics which the participants elected which group to attend the previous day.

Each group had discussion time around their topic, wrote down their key take away points and at the end of the session and then each group presented back to on their findings.

We learnt skills on how to manage multiple executives, manage difficult personalities and situations and effective project management skills and multi-tasking

Getting the edge: How to build Service Excellence into your EA, PA or VA career by Ingrid Bayer

Ingrid discussed Solution Focussed thinking. As a Virtual EA Ingrid talked about the challenges of working remotely with your boss.

Key Points and tips:

  • Attitude is the most important part of your thinking
  • Think about how the business you work for operates and how you can assist

How to be the Ultimate Strategic ‘Business Partner’ by Audrey J Nolan

Audrey gave us an in-depth view on how to be a true partner to your boss; the value you add, key ways you can deliver for your boss and how to be the all-powerful go to person.

Key Points and tips:

  • Have effective communication with your boss
  • Remain calm and in control at all times
  • Be aware of the impact your role has on others

Impact Matters by Emma Bannister

Emma presented us with a highly engaging piece on the power of presentations. She covered the essential components of a presentation as well as the pieces NOT to put in! She gave us some interesting statistics on what people take away from a presentation and you can use that to your advantage.

Key Points and tips:

  • Less is more – don’t fill up a page with words, use key points and follow up with a handout/ post session summary
  • Content/Design/Delivery: Provide human connection to your presentation
  • Small movements on a page can attract the attention of the viewer
  • Reinforce your message through repetition

Building a Successful and Valuable EAs & PAs Brand by Lana Luise Thomas

Lana covered ways to establish and build your own personal brand. We learnt how to discover our target market or audience and develop the key drivers for our brand and learnt how to market how we can make ourselves stand out from others by defining our personal differences.

Key Points and tips:

  • Brand is not about what you wear, but who you are
  • What makes you different from every other person

Managing your time, dealing with interruptions and saying ‘No’ to unnecessary interruptions

Katie talked about the difference between necessary and unnecessary interruptions. She also gave hints on how to teach people to help themselves, rather than letting yourself be the ‘go to’ person.

Key Points and tips:

  • Let people know when you are not to be interrupted “I am unavailable when I have my headphones on and my skype set to do not disturb”
  • Switch off all distractions and clear your desk of unnecessary work
  • Give people the tools to help themselves

Panel Session: Managing your Executives Energy, focus and mind set

The panel discussion gave us a further opportunity to ask questions and receive advice from the speakers. We heard some great time management tips and about good communication.

Key Points and tips:

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day
  • Plan and schedule your work as well as your breaks
  • Make sure you fit in time to go for a walk during the day

The day closed with another roundup from Ross. Details were exchanged between various attendees and farewells given all around.

*Tip 6: Make sure you have a business card or some contact details you can hand out and make sure you follow up! Your fellow conference attendees are showing an active interest in their career and learning by attending, so these are the perfect people to stay in contact with in order to help develop your career.

Review by: Linda | Personal Assistant to CIO

About Clariden Global

Clariden Global is the pre-eminent and influential global business leadership institution. Today, we host more than 200 global executive education and major conference events around the world. We have partnered with professional organizations such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA) and thought leaders from prestigious universities such as Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government,Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. To see our credentials and global engagement, visit us atwww.claridenglobal.com.

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