Welcome to Career Corner: a monthly blog series from ASAP that offers career advice from seasoned professionals, in response to questions from administrative and executive assistants.
A commonly asked question for those in the administrative profession is how to not only manage schedules for one executive, but two.
We brought this question to Shelli Wassall, an Executive Assistant at ADB Companies in Pacific, MO, as part of our "Ask an Admin" series.
Watch Shelli's video response and read more below!
Shelli Wassall: The role of an EA involves more than just scheduling meetings, but scheduling meetings is a very large part of the position. You are managing your Executive’s most important asset, their time. Managing multiple schedules shouldn’t be the hardest part of your job, but it does take some strategic planning and oftentimes, patience.
Color code your calendars so you can easily tell them apart when you have more than one open at a time.
If you need to set up a meeting with several people within your organization, you can use the “New Scheduling Poll” option in Outlook. As you add each person’s name to the email, the scheduling poll will begin to show you their availability.
Have you ever sent a meeting invite and realized you made an error? Maybe you forgot the attachment, you spelled something incorrectly, or you scheduled a meeting for the wrong date or time. This happens to the best of us, more than you can imagine. One way to check yourself is to set a delay on your outgoing email. By setting a delay, you allow yourself a chance to make the correction before the email or invitation reaches the intended parties. Note: This is great for most situations, but if you are in a rush to get a message to someone, this may not be ideal.
Communication is key for the entire Executive/EA relationship, especially when it comes to juggling multiple schedules. No two Executives are alike. Each Executive has preferences in how, when, and what is scheduled. Have a conversation with each of your Executives to find out what works best for them. Setting weekly check-ins is a great way to keep each other in the loop.
Executives receive a lot of meeting requests. More meetings than there are hours in the day. Sometimes an EA has to say no to meeting invites and that is ok. You are in a position to speak on behalf of your Executive. Once you know their preferences, this will become much easier. When in doubt, mark the request tentative and then have a conversation with your Executive. You may even consider reaching out to the meeting organizer if you feel their meeting request would be best served as an email to save everyone’s time. Be prepared that when you say no, you may take a few “bullets” here and there, but that is ok.
More About Shelli:
Shelli Wassall is an Executive Assistant with over 22 years of experience. Shelli is currently transitioning from supporting two Sr. Vice Presidents to two C-Suite Executives in the Telecommunications Construction Industry at ADB Companies in Pacific, Missouri.
While Shelli’s role as an EA in a rapidly growing company keeps her busy, it also offers several opportunities for her to follow her passion in helping others. Shelli is a mentor to several EAs within her company as well as across the U.S. Shelli is also the Acting Chair for the Health and Wellness cultural pillar at her organization and helps expand her passion for health and well-being by teaching a free cardio kickboxing class twice a week in her community. She enjoys helping the community in other ways by volunteering her time and talents at a local Youth Center and by spearheading the Salvation Army Angel Tree program at ADB Companies each year.
Shelli just celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary and has two daughters, ages 24 and 14 1/2. Shelli also has two grandsons who are two years old and eight months old.
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