As an executive assistant, you’ll know that communication with your executive, though vital, does not always happen as often as it should and that your job passes beyond the 9 to 5 hours of other jobs. A lot can happen over night, so it’s essential to stay in communication with your executive to update them. Taking just five minutes a day to debrief with your executive is an essential for any Executive Assistant. These few minutes will increase your ability to execute tasks quickly and efficiently, and allow you more time to strengthen your other executive assistant skills.
A daily debrief would be ideal, but with your executive’s busy schedule it can be difficult to find the time you need to have with them, even if it is just five minutes. So to help you, here’s our top tips on how to schedule an uninterrupted five minutes with your executive every day.
Why five minutes?
As executives often work outside of the regular 9 to 5 hours, a five-minute briefing each morning will help to align common goals such as your executive’s current projects and priorities, and clarify whether there are any tasks that must be prioritised that day. This short meeting can help reduce stress for both you and your executive, allow for better communication, keep you up to date and in sync with your executive and decrease the chance of last-minute chaos. Touching base with your executive each morning is a great way to ensure that you stay on task all day. Those five minutes will help save a lot of time that might otherwise be spent solving any later miscommunication.
Making the most of five minutes
- Schedule your meeting in the morning before the start of the work day and before your executive’s busy schedule fills up. Completing your meeting as your first task of the day will keep both you and your executive up to date and on track.
- Never accept no for an answer. If your executive claims to be too busy for your five minute meeting, remind them that this time is an investment in both you and your executive’s work performances.
- Create a consistent scheduled time every morning. Find a time that works for both of you every morning, and incorporate it into part of both of your daily routines. This way your executive can plan around the meeting, and there will be no confusion or cancelations of your five minutes.
- Plan what you want to talk about. Making notes before your meeting will keep you on task and organised during your five minute meeting, ensuring you make the most of the time.
Getting your five minutes
- Discuss the benefits of a five minute meeting, and suggest timing the interaction to reassure your executive that the meetings will stay within your suggested time.
- Tell your executive to prepare for the meeting by bringing notes. This way, you will both stay on task.
- Begin by meeting one morning each week so your executive can see the benefit of the one to one (a Monday or a Friday could work to discuss the week ahead).
- Increase meetings to two, then three days and keep increasing until you’re having your meeting once a day. Of course, sometimes travel or other engagements will make these meetings impossible, but having them scheduled in will ensure your next meeting will happen like clockwork as soon as your executive is able.
- Meet with your executive in their office (the easiest location for them). If they are away, speaking over the phone is another possibility.
- Continue holding meetings regularly until they become part of both of your daily routines. In time, they will become shorter as communications will be consistent.
What should you talk about?
Though tasks will of course vary from day to day, use this list for inspiration when outlining your discussion points for your five minute meeting.
- Calendars, updates and the day’s events. Going through your executive’s plans together before the day begins is a great way to make sure they are prepared. Ensure they know of any big meetings, events and essential information. An email of information just won’t cut it – make sure they definitely know what’s coming up, and always bring up important things in person.
- Emails comms. Let your executive know of any outstanding communications that you need answers to, or any clarification you require for specific emails.
- Visitors. Use some time to remind your executive of any family or VIP visitors they have coming to town, and discuss any events or plans for their visitors. Gain insight into their eating habits, preferences and any pertinent information that may be useful for you to know.
- Travel. Write down travel information or go over upcoming travel schedules. Discuss upcoming trips with your executive so you can anticipate schedules and prepare.
- Department Issues. As the executive assistant, you will be able to listen and learn more from within the department, and alert your executive to any problems or personal issues. Go over departmental problems that may have arisen if you need your executive’s input.
- Current Projects. Give your executive updates on projects and items you are working on, along with any other relevant information. Provide them with updates before you are asked to and keep on top of your own work. Also, ask if there are any special projects they are or will be working on that may require your assistance.
- Follow Ups. Bring up outstanding information or anything else that you may be waiting on from your executive to their attention.
Be confident. Ensure your executive can see the benefit of these meetings, and remind them that they will help both of you achieve more within your jobs. Good luck!
Written by Francesca Hadland