how to make connections with skill at professional meetings and networking events this year: Shake smoothly. Get off to a great start. Win the name game. Make yourself memorable. Keep it light. Be upbeat. Put down your smartphone. Exit gracefully. Follow up.
“So he hired a personal assistant who was profoundly deaf, did not have oral speech, spoke only American sign language, which Bill did not speak, nor did anyone else in the production. But Bill said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to learn sign language.’
Typically, we use the term ‘office politics’ to describe our colleagues’ behaviour (never our own) as scheming and manipulating, whereas when we do it we are building relationships, developing strategies, and communicating!
Tip from Sue Robson: ‘When bosses arrive at the office, either first thing in the morning or when returning from meetings, don’t stop them as they pass your desk to give them their messages and so on. Give them a few minutes to settle in instead of demanding immediate attention. They may have other things on their minds before they are ready to see you.’
To be a successful assistant you have to be willing, able, flexible and proactive. Think ahead and plan, carry out tasks before they are required, anticipate problems and try to solve them. Use quieter periods to pre-empt requests. Be organised and prepared in advance (including updating and organizing paperwork and files). A successful assistant deals with as much as possible to prevent it landing on the boss’s desk, and endeavors to always exceed expectations.
Zelda la Grange, Madiba’s long-term personal assistant, has penned this must-read letter to the late Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa with whom she worked for two decades of her life…