We met with sixteen PAs who had a well spent 90 minutes out of the office this week at our Magic Dust sessions to catch up with each other over coffee and croissants. It was a chance to share how things were going after the conference, how the action plans were progressing and it turned into a really great session of sharing thoughts, ideas and tips.
Margaret was with us at Pitman Training to facilitate the meeting and to help with the principles of SMART action plans!
She says, “It was heartening to hear good use was being made of skills and the extra confidence and motivation which PAs had picked up from the conference. We shared and celebrated successes and heard lots of motivational and inspiring stories.”
Laura from Pearson told us the heart warming story of Sugata Mitra who pioneered his Hole in the Wall project. Sugata first experimented with putting a pc in the wall in remote parts of India. Within minutes young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own — and then taught other kids, learning English in the process! Sugata spoke as a guest speaker at a Pearson Conference where Laura heard about it. Laura found the idea interesting and ingenious and it’s one of the reasons that she particularly loves working in education. It is worth watching Sugata’s TED talk to see how he developed the concept and impact it has had.
Someone was looking for a better way to efficiently schedule meetings with colleagues operating in different countries and time zones. An instant answer from Louise and Laura was to use The Doodle app or look at Meetingschedule.com (currently under construction). Other people who also used these tools were able to explain the various merits of each one.
One person shared disappointment that she had tried to connect with another PA from the conference day and had not heard back. As most of us have been in a similar situation, the group encouraged her not to give up but perhaps try a different method of communication. Perhaps the first attempt had ended up in junk mail, or maybe LinkedIn was not visited on a regular basis. The person may have been on holiday or sick – don’t give up and just try again.
Kelly also shared how she had the opportunity to speak out in support of new mental health structures which were being put in place in her organisation. Since the conference we have had Mental Health day and Dame Kelly Holmes also chose to speak on the subject as she did at the conference.
Laura also mentioned the experiences at her company of a PA/EA group discussion. “The group decided that it would be a good idea for us to centralise our information and our experiences, an internal EA/PA training and information page on our internal Social site has been created by an enterprising group member, Jackie, who has gone on to organise internal training and group information days.” So a great example of ‘internal’ networking!
Chloe admitted that she felt super shy when networking, but having to attend the International Pitman Training conference gave her a great deal of confidence. She has broken out of her shell and quite courageously gone to networking events on her own and actually made connections – something she was not able to do in the past!
Finally the general feedback was that the chance to reconnect with other conference delegates was seen as very positive thing and pretty unique. Training or conference events usually just finish and if there are some promises to keep in touch they generally get forgotten when everyone gets back to work!
So far only 16 out of about 70 people attending the conference took up the offer but we will put on future dates. However there will be other opportunities so watch this space and keep in touch through this site or direct. If your company has space and would be happy to host a Magic Dust networking meeting, then just let us know as we do not always have enough space available.
And any of your stories, thoughts, tips, just send them in please!
PS Why do we use the phrase Magic Dust? Because we know that in 90 minutes of quality discussion, everyone takes away that little sprinkle of a new idea or confidence to do something differently!