Special Tasks

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As an administrative supporter, you will be tasked in organizing special and unique tasks that will require precise organization and execution. This module will give you the basics in handling several special tasks you may encounter.

Planning Small Meetings

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Small meetings could either be productive or total waste of time. People may come unprepared to share or participate. If your meeting does not have clear goals, objectives, and a clear time frames for each topic, you will surely lose control of the meeting and waste time trying to keep the group on track.

Having a set approach to planning small meetings will assure that you will set up your meeting to be the most efficient and effective. Here is a quick check list for planning a small meeting:

  • Purpose defined: your meeting should have a purpose. What is the reason for the meeting? What is this meeting going to accomplish? Defining the purpose will even help you determine if a meeting is necessary. Many times there are meetings called to share updates. This could be accomplished with a simple presentation sent via email. Subjecting project teams to constant update meetings decreases the power of meeting in general. Save your meeting time for brainstorming, problem solving, etc.
  • Objective of the meeting determined: state what the result or outcome of this meeting will produce. For example, you could say that the objective of this meeting is to brainstorm ideas on overcoming the shortage of widgets. If you have several objectives, set time limits for discussing each objective. If the objective is complicated, then use the entire meeting time to resolve it, but try writing an agenda that will keep you on track of the topics you need to cover.
  • People to attend identified: once you set your objective, then you are able to determine who to invite. If major decisions are going to be made, then invite the right audience.
  • Checklist of supplies created: you may need flip charts and other items or resources to facilitate the meeting. 
  • Organize the resources: make sure all resources on your check list are available and in working order. Make appointments with those you need to meet in order to acquire the resource. 
  • Reserve a place or room: make sure you contact the keeper of the room schedule. Reserve the room well in advance to avoid being block from that room. Make sure you get confirmation of the reservation.
  • Notify the attendees: send a meeting invite to those attending the meeting with at least a few days’ notice. Try avoiding last-minute meetings. In your message, state the meeting purpose, objective and place it will be held. Be professional in your invitation and avoid being too casual. 

Planning Large Meetings

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Planning for large meetings poses different challenges to that of small meetings. In large meetings, you will have to deal with vendors and other external entities that you will depend on to help execute your plan. 

Another issue is coordinating the travel arrangements of those who are traveling to the event. There are many details to cover and it really cannot be done all by one person. The FAST strategy helps you organize who, what, where, why and how for your large meeting. Let’s take a look.

  • Form: in this phase, you will form your meeting project team. There are many things to think about and organize, and doing all on your own is taking a big risk. Gain approval from your manager to enlist the help of others in planning for your event. Once the team is formed you should create project and budget plans.
  • Acquire: in this phase, you will acquire the necessary information to begin solidifying your plan. Here you obtain quotes from your vendors, caterers, entertainment provider, printing costs, and hall or hotel venue. In addition, you would acquire a list of resources you may need to bring from work like reports or a presentation.
  • Secure: in this phase, you will confirm the needed resources for your large meeting. Make sure you get these items secured in advance; waiting till the last minute could result in you not being able to secure the resource. Make sure you secure the venue, caterer, attendees, transportation, hotel accommodations, and the date for the event.
  • Take: in this phase, take the time to arrive early and verify all is set up according to your plan. This is when you test any audio visual equipment, and the presentation. You should take the name of the manager of the venue and get to know them just in case you need to contact them for an issue or problem. The same is true for the caterer and the entertainment provider. Take their names too. Finally, take down lessons you learned from this event for planning future events. This is how you get better at planning for large events.

Large events do not have to be complicated. If you follow the FAST steps, you should be able to handle this process with minimal stress one step at a time. 

Organizing Travel

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In today’s business environment, many employees book their own travel arrangements. With the advent of the Internet, making flight, car rental, and hotel accommodations can be easily done at the cubicle. Being an assistant may require you to book travel for your manager or other high ranking leaders. Becoming familiar with certain travel arrangement Internet sites will help you organize travel easier. 

Internet travel sites are a great tool for arranging travel to other locations away from your site. Events like training, conventions, sales meetings, board of director’s offsite are examples of travel to a location away from the site where Internet travel are very useful. If your travel group is numerous, you may want to call a particular hotel at the destination site and negotiate a good rate. 

For travel to your site, you should establish a relationship with a local hotel. You can call your local hotels and negotiate a corporate rate for those travelers coming in from other sites. Obtain a written agreement on the rate. It is also a good practice to visit the hotel and visually inspect the property. Here is a list of things you should look for when visiting:

  • Parking
  • Safety
  • Cleanliness
  • Proximity to restaurants
  • Hotel amenities

You could do the same with your car rental agent. The Internet has made travel arrangements easier to organize because they typically use emails to confirm all arrangements and you are able to access the reservation yourself and make adjustments as necessary. Travel agents are become less used by companies. 

Case Study

Peter works at a law firm where he is in charge of the local projects and requests which come in. From time to time, his boss asks him to plan meetings and organize different events. However, Peter used to feel out of his element whenever such a thing happened. 

Fortunately, he stopped worrying about such issues after a while when he finally had enough practice.  Peter understood what to check for before a meeting starts, how to make sure that the guests are engaged together with how to get a point across and make sure that everything is running smoothly. He has finally become one of the best employees in charge with organizing different events at his company.