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Magic Dust Effect! We had new ideas this week …did you? Please share if you did!

By | Fresh thinking, New Ideas, Pitman Training EC2, Pitman Training international conference for PAs, Secretaries and Administrators, Uncategorized | No Comments

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!

 

Facing the Fear..the First Public Speaking Engagement – Andrea Medd, PA to Dame Kelly Holmes

By | Dame Kelly Holmes., Pitman Training EC2, Pitman Training international conference for PAs, Secretaries and Administrators, Uncategorized | No Comments

Last Friday was the Pitman International training conference.  Kelly was all set to do one of her motivational talks. The presentation and videos had been sent ahead, logistics were all sorted, the only difference was that for the first time ever I was going to join her on stage for the Q & A session talking about working as a PA for Kelly.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that the thought of public speaking terrifies me. I’m always very impressed by those people who have no concerns or nerves when addressing a crowd. I wasn’t too bad first thing on Friday but the nerves kicked in when I looked at Twitter and saw a picture of the conference under way. It definitely became real at that point. Instead of clock watching and getting more nervous I headed into London early and spent some time browsing House of Fraser. I could have easily bought about 10 handbags in my slightly agitated state, I wish I had now!

Still early to meet Kelly I sat in Costa and people watched across London Bridge which was strangely relaxing.

We arrived at the venue and were met by Maggie, Managing Director of Love and Tate and were shown around the venue. The Grange hotel was a great central venue and the conference rooms had been decorated with lots of flowers and plants by Jo the event manager. I was fitted with my mic and at that point there really was no escape.

I sat side-stage in the conference room where the PAs were all seated to hear Kelly’s talk. Kelly spoke about motivation and the importance of believing in yourself with examples from her own career in the military and athletics. As a double Olympic Gold medallist with an MBE she definitely knows the highs of success but also the real lows, so can share how to pick yourself up and keep the belief alive. She also stated that she knows ‘what an important job all PAs and your support team do’ a message that I am sure the audience appreciated hearing.

After this I joined Kelly on stage for the Q & As. Amazingly there was no tripping up the steps and falling on to the stage, yes that’s a scenario I’d pictured! It all went smoothly and once we got going I found myself able to relax into it and focus on the questions and share how Kelly and I make our relationship work. We decided the most important aspect of the relationship was developing trust and a mutual understanding of what we needed from each other to make the whole busy organisation of her diary and events work. So excellent communication is a must.

One of the nicest bits for me was meeting some of the PAs straight after the talk. They had clearly all been motivated by the day and I spoke to a few people about challenges they face in their roles as well as training that might be valuable to their job going forward.

Well done to Pitman for a great day and I hope there will be many more in the future. I also hope that more companies will start to see the benefit in investing in their PAs and support staff and encourage them to attend training conferences such as these. Not only does it make us all feel valued but we acquire new skills and ideas to take back to develop in the business. It is also great to get the chance to network with other PAs from all industries which will provide a support group to reach out to in the future.

I have now done nine blogs for Pitman Training at London EC2 talking about my role as Kelly’s PA. I have really enjoyed doing them and adding a bit of creativity to my day. I hope to do more blogs in the future either via Kelly’s café social media or as a guest blogger with Pitman.