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Emotional Intelligence – your key to success

As an Executive Assistant, it is key to have high emotional intelligence and have the ability to stay calm when everyone else is losing their mind.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

Have you ever noticed that some people stay calm under pressure much better than others? Would you like to become one of those people?

Everyone has a different stress tolerance, but with practice, you can become much more resilient in the face of adversity. Dealing with stressful situations is part genetics and part skill. You can’t do anything about your genes, but you can certainly enhance your coping skills!

Practice these techniques and learn to handle stress which will lead to ultimate emotional intelligence:

1. Take care of your body

A calm mind is best supported by a healthy body. Taking care of ourselves allows us to have greater awareness around ourselves of others and their feelings. What does taking care of your body mean?

  • Eat well.
  • Sleep enough.
  • Get some exercise.

When your body is out of sorts, your mind isn’t at its most resilient. A well-cared-for body is the foundation of a durable and stress, resistant mind.

You could make one small improvement to your diet each week, experiment with your sleep schedule or exercise daily in a meaningful way. These three simple things matter more than you realise.

2. Breathe and stay calm

Your breathing is the only aspect of your physiology that you can control easily. There are plenty of breathing techniques you can try when you’re feeling stressed. By mastering your breathing you will stay calm in a challenging situation. Consider trying the following:

  • Simply take long, slow, deep breaths.
  • Inhale for four seconds, hold it for two seconds, and exhale for six seconds.
  • Just breathe normally and keep your attention on your breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body.

3. Relax your body

When you feel stressed, there is a part of your body that is stressed, too. Find that tense, uncomfortable part of your body and focus on relaxing it. In fact, do your best to relax your entire body.

4. Focus on the positives

There’s a positive aspect to every negative situation. Look for the positive and your brain will feel more at ease. This sets you up in the right frame of mind for the situation head.

  • Most of us focus on the negative and ignore the positive. Do the opposite and feel the calm.

5. Focus on solutions

Focusing on problems is very stressful. Focusing on solutions is the best practice. Rather than being emotionally attached to the problem remove yourself from the issue and look at it subjectively. What has occurred, what needs to happen and by who.

6. Manage your thoughts

Thoughts can get away from us very quickly. Do you imagine the worst when something negative happens? Do you sit around and ruminate on your difficulties? Managing your headspace is necessary to stay calm regardless of the situation and will help you overcome the challenge and potential conflict.

  • Consider if your thoughts are helping you to remain calm or creating stress.
  • Most people imagine the worst and their brains and bodies respond accordingly.
  • Try putting your attention on your breathing until you feel calmer and then begin looking for solutions.

7. Communicate effectively

Calm communication throughout a situation is important to defuse conflict and escalations. Communicate to those people who need to know and keep them in the loop of the issue, resolution and timeframes. Depending on the situation it may call for key personnel to inform all staff. Knowing the escalation point in a situation is important and delivering the key facts to enable them to help you with a solution.

8. Take action

When you assertively deal with negative issues, you’re taking control. Sitting around and thinking is a passive activity. Only think long enough to find a good solution and then get busy implementing it.

  • Activity helps to dissipate stress and build confidence and optimism.

Stress, conflict and things not going to plan are unavoidable, but your ability to manage stressful situations can be greatly enhanced with effort. You might be surprised by how stress-resistant and emotionally intelligent you can become! When you can handle more stress with greater comfort, you empower yourself to make positive changes in your health, career, relationships, and happiness.

About Us

At Executive Entourage, we assist Executive Assistants with their emotional intelligence. We assist your Executive Assistant to find the gaps in their current experience and work on strategies to improve within our coaching programs. Do you feel your Executive Assistant needs some additional training? Contact Us today to discuss your needs and consider our Coaching programs.

Would you like to continue reading tips on emotional intelligence? Continue reading an article on LinkedIn with 10 tips to make you an emotionally intelligent Executive Assistant.

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How to stand out in a job interview

It’s exciting to make it past the resumé/CV and job application phase. Being invited to a job interview can feel exciting. It can also feel nerve-wracking. That is why we have provided some expert job interview tips below to help you nail your next interview.

Now that you’ve made it past the initial phase, it’s time to make the first impression needed to take the next step.

At this point, you can also shift your perspective. At the beginning of the job application phase, you are just the words on your resumé/CV and cover letter. Being invited to an interview is an opportunity for a potential employer to actually get to know you, your personality, and how your experience relates to their business and requirements. It is an opportunity to showcase your skills and experience and sell your skillset. A job interview is a great opportunity to talk about yourself, your skillset, your ideas and career ambitions and make sure that they align with the business you are interviewing with.

Job interview tips to make a lasting impression on the interviewer

Spending time researching and preparing for the interview is essential to get over your nerves and make a good impression with well-crafted answers.

1. Research the company

The start of your interview preparation should be company research! Look at company values, their LinkedIn page, and the About page on their website. This research will help you connect your answers to the company values and mission.

2. Review your skills against the role

Show you have the skills the company is looking for in that role. It’s easy to tell the interviewer that you are “deadline-oriented” or a “team player”, but make sure it is supported with a relevant scenario that demonstrates those skills.

  • What is the company looking for?
  • How does your experience line up with the job listing?
  • What relevant results have you gotten before? Prepare numbers or percentages that demonstrate your accomplishments.
  • Think about specific experiences that show you have certain qualities or skills.

3. Prepare answers

Prepare an answer for “tell me about yourself.” This open-ended question interviewers ask gives them insight into who you are behind your resumé/CV, cover letter, and job conversation. It’s a way for interviewers to start the conversation and get to know and understand you. Here are some ideas:

  • Give a brief overview of your education, most recent jobs, and insight into short and long-term career goals.
  • Tell a professional story – what inspired you to pursue the field? Why are you passionate about your work?
  • Show your personality and interests (and make them relevant to the company).

4. Practice for the interview beforehand

Be sure to start by practising and preparing answers for the questions you may be asked during the interview.

  • Think about why you’re interested in that specific role and company.
  • Prepare to talk about the connection between your past experience and the current position you’re applying for.
  • Practice body language and making eye contact.
  • Consider recording a mock interview and reviewing your answers and body language.
  • Consider what you will wear to the interview to showcase your brand.

5. Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview

At the end of the job interview, your interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to learn about the company, as well as show your interest.

  • What does a typical day look like?
  • How is performance measured and reviewed?
  • Why did you choose to work with this company?
  • What professional development opportunities are available to new employees?
  • What are the goals for the first six months of this position?

By allowing appropriate preparation time you will walk into the interview calm, confident, and engaged. Being engaged and confident will help you build a relationship with the interviewer and make a lasting impression.

During your interview, make sure to engage with the interviewer and try not to just answer their questions. Try and have a conversation with the interviewer as well.

Preparing for your job interview might feel like a lot is on the line. Look at this as an opportunity to build a relationship with the interviewer and show how you would fit in with the company culture and sell your skillset!

About Us

Executive Entourage® has interview preparation services that help you develop interview strategies for nailing your ideal role. Guiding you through your next interview including resume preparation, interview questions/answers and LinkedIn updates to advance your career to the next level. Be sure to Contact Us today for expert advice and assistance.

If you wish to continue reading Forbes has some additional surprising job interview tips to consider for your next interview that you may wish to consider.

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Become an expert in your field

Perfecting Your Skills and Delegating Your Weaknesses

If you want to stand out from the crowd or competition at work, then you need to be seen as an expert in your field. This takes time and action on your part and not just walking around telling people that you’re an expert. You need to “show them” you are an expert in action.

Everyone has the potential to be an expert at what they do. Here are a few simple steps to consider.

Educate Yourself

First and foremost, make sure that you are educated on what you are doing. If you are working in a particular department of a company and want to be seen as the go-to person on anything related to it, you need to know what you are talking about.

  • Take evening courses at a local college (face to face or online) to help further your education and keep you up to date on the latest knowledge and technology.
  • Read more about the subject matter. It does not matter what you do as a profession, you need to take advantage of the vast knowledge in the library and online. You can always be an expert outside of your profession on a particular subject.

By expanding your knowledge, you will also build your confidence. With knowledge comes confidence.

Demonstrate Your Knowledge

It’s one thing to talk about what you know, but it’s something else entirely to do it and show them.

Experts do not walk around and brag about what they can do, they take action. If you encounter a difficult problem or situation, you will be able to take charge and find a solution.

  • Be proactive. If a problem arises, act right away to find a solution. If you are not sure of the answer yourself, search out someone who does. Even experts need to learn new things and they are not afraid to admit it to others.

Learn To Be a Great Communicator

People must understand what you can do and why you are the best one to do it. This means that you must understand and foresee the questions and concerns of others, then prepare and articulate the answers and solutions to them.

  • Great communicators do not just boss others around. They use communication skills to teach and empower co-workers but also are ready to pull up their sleeves and do the groundwork to earn the respect of colleagues and get the job done.

Always Act with Integrity

Always display leader qualities and give credit where credit is due to your team and colleagues. Great leaders build up their teams and lead them to success.

There will always be things we are not so good at. The trick is knowing what these are. In those circumstances, you have to learn how to delegate those responsibilities to others who have the skills required to get the job done. Part of being a good expert is seeing the strengths and weaknesses of others and how their talents can be put to good use.

  • Give others credit for a job well done. Wise leaders and the most incredible of experts don’t do everything themselves. They have a talented team around them who have the skills they lack.

By following these simple steps you’ll become the person with the answers. These are the experts who become irreplaceable and well respected because they take action.

About Us

Need assistance finding your niche and becoming the expert in your field?

Executive Entourage® can coach, train and mentor Executive Assistants to be the expert in their field. We help Assistants to evaluate the gaps in their knowledge to work on and identify where they can focus their energy and become an expert. Consider our Coaching Program or join our Executive Assistant Network to collaborate with like-minded individuals.

Feel free to Contact Us today to arrange a discovery call on how Executive Entourage® can help you become an expert in your field.

If you want to continue reading how this skill set can propel your career read this great Forbes article on 6 steps to become an expert and accelerate your career.

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How to find your next role by networking

Have you ever wondered how that friend of yours that really wasn’t qualified for a job received an offer for their dream job? You could give them the benefit of the doubt that they interviewed well, but in all likelihood, this probably was due to their networking skills to the right audience. Follow along for strategies on how to find your next job by networking.

Networking is one of those lost arts that social media has, more or less, watered down. In a world where people value followers on Instagram more than actual job performance, it can be hard to network based on your resume/CV alone.

In the modern work environment, networking is more important than ever. Consider these tips to find your next job through networking.

Avoid Being Shy

This is the first and most obvious step to landing your next job by networking. To be honest, it’s rare to see someone in a very high position of power when they are shy. Through experience, they learn to be assertive and confident in their abilities and you can too.

If you’re looking to take your job to the next level, it’s important to look at complete measures of success and understand that, in most cases, one simply cannot be shy.

You’ll need to exit your comfort zone and take on tasks that might not be geared to your strengths. Only by stepping out of your comfort zone will you begin to see that networking really isn’t that difficult.

Plan your approach

Those people on the shy side of the scale may need to be slightly more planned in their approach, which is completely OK. Planning your approach can make you feel confident, knowledgeable and ultimately remembered in your networking experience.

One way to avoid being shy is to write a list of people you wish to connect with. First of all, find out a little bit of information about them on social networks (without stalking!!) and about their business on LinkedIn to see what they do and how you might relate. You can then plan your interaction about what you wish to say and how you are going to approach it. Be sure to network with the right people and make them meaningful interactions.

If you are going to a conference, try and obtain a list of attendees before attending. Take some time before the event to look at the attendees and whether they align with your current role or future role and plan to start those meaningful conversations.

Update Your Social Media Profiles

In the modern world, very few people use word of mouth anymore. Virtually all communicating is done online. For this reason, making a professional and striking online presence is essential.

Think of the social media game as an opportunity to show potential employers who you are and what you do. After all, the hiring staff and HR reps don’t only look at LinkedIn! If concerned, consider locking your social media accounts to friends only. LinkedIn is your ultimate platform to share what you know and your accomplishments.

Consider becoming an Expert in your field

Are you an expert in your given field or want to be known as being an expert in a particular field? Research and show colleagues, friends and acquaintances your knowledge and use your social media accounts to channel valuable information about the subject.

Keep an eye on the market

Do you have a particular workplace you wish to work for? If so, keep up to date with their company profiles and their social media articles to be sure to pounce on any hiring opportunities. Or better still, consider making a direct approach and introduction to the company to let them know you are interested in working for them for their next available opportunity.

Friends of Friends

For some companies, keeping a tight-knit idea of hiring is important and they have in-house referral incentive programs. For that reason, friends of friends can be an important step in networking for your next job.

This doesn’t mean that you must start sending out friend requests to every random mutual friend. However, the next time your co-worker asks you to come to a dinner party or zoom drinks, don’t stay home and watch Netflix. Go enjoy a glass of wine or champagne with some like-minded individuals.

Who knows? A friend of a friend might become your best friend and a colleague at the job of your dreams!

Start networking today! You’ll likely make some pretty amazing connections!

About Us

Did you know that 80% of Executive Entourage’s roles aren’t advertised and are filled within our candidate network? Be sure to register your interest in working with us and Apply Now for a confidential conversation.

Are you interested in how to find your next job by networking? If you are an Executive Assistant and looking for making connections in your network with like-minded individuals, be sure to sign up for your free access to the Executive Entourage – EA Network. This network is a safe environment for Executive Assistants to collaborate and help each other achieve success in their roles.

Executive Entourage also assists candidates with Interview Preparation, including reviewing and selling those key skills on your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to Contact Us for a confidential conversation on how Executive Entourage can assist you with your next role.

Wish to find out more about networking, consider reading this Forbes article 10 reasons why networking is important to your career.

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Leave work stress behind – even in lockdown

When your workday is done, do you still carry much of the stress of your work with you into your off-work hours? Be sure to leave work stress behind – even in lockdown!

During lockdown, it can be difficult to switch off due to the blurring of the lines between work / personal time in our new working from home arrangements.

Whether you work at home or go to an office, it’s important for there to be a separation between your work and personal life. Without a clear gap, you will not be able to de-stress. Being able to leave that stress behind is crucially important to your quality of life.

Keeping your stress with you can also result in chronic stress, which contributes to many serious health issues.

If you are finding that you continue to think about work events after working hours or you are having difficulty with letting go of your stress, consider these tips to de-stress, so you can enjoy your time away from work.

Try these activities to melt away your workday stress:

1. Pause your work email and social notifications

As soon as your day is complete, turn off your tech notifications for a couple of hours while you have dinner and enjoy the company of your family. You’ll feel less stressed and your relationships and social life will benefit. Eating your dinner in peace also helps digestion.

2. Exercise

Hands down, the best way to limit stress in your life is to exercise. Not only can exercise help to lower cortisol (stress hormone) but you’ll also be focused on the exercise and not what’s going on at work.

3. Get a plant

Having something very simple to take care of and nurture can be a really easy way to limit your stress. Most plants are great for feng shui, as long as you care for them well. Plants with soft and rounded leaves are typically best, as they promote gentle and nourishing energy.

4. Vent when necessary

If you tend to keep things bottled up inside, consider making a healthy change in your life and discuss the stressful issues with a close friend, family member, support group, or counsellor when you feel it’s necessary. They can help you work through and maybe even resolve the issue.

5. Avoid stimulants

Coffee, tea, energy drinks – they all contain stimulants like caffeine and taurine which can make you feel wired, and in some cases, more prone to feeling stressed out. Avoiding or limiting your consumption of stimulant-rich foods and drinks can help your body to feel more balanced and lower your cortisol levels.

6. Engage in an activity that you love

Whether it’s a hobby, dancing, or playing with your kids, doing something that you enjoy takes your mind off work and melts away your stress. Taking time to do these things is never selfish, but a vitally important part of healthy self-care! Best of all, find an activity where you move around. In my case, this is Mountain Bike Riding as I get a double dose of relaxation from the exercise and the enjoyment of riding with family and friends or solo.

7. Meditate

Meditating can reduce stress, strengthen your mental and physical health, and bring you the serenity of greater inner peace. All it takes is practice – daily is best! Meditating for a few minutes when your workday is done will give you that much-needed gap between work and free time, so you can leave your work stress behind and fully enjoy your off-work hours.

Don’t feel continuously tied to your work any longer! Make sure to schedule in “you” time while working from home and add in elements suggested above to ensure you get the downtime you deserve.

Do you need assistance evaluating your role and where things are going wrong or just need a little kick start to get you on the right track? Do you find you struggle to leave work stress behind?

At Executive Entourage, we have Coaching/Mentoring programs that can assist you to regain a successful work-life balance. We are here to listen and guide you with your chosen path if that be:

  • increasing work-life balance;
  • working on your career plan;
  • evaluating the gaps; or
  • finding out what is holding you back from your dream role.

Be sure to Contact Us for a confidential conversation on how we can best assist you.

Find that you wish to read more on the subject – head on over to the Forbes article 12 ways to eliminate stress at work

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Working from Home – 10 ways to be more effective

Working from home is now more common since Covid. With Greater Sydney going into lockdown 2.0 for the next two weeks it seems an ideal time to share strategies for making the most from working from home.

On the surface, working from home sounds ideal. You can work in your pyjamas while you talk to your dog. Zoom like a pro with business on the top and party down below. You might even have your favourite movie or music on in the background.

But working from home has its disadvantages, too. It’s not as easy to get things done from home as you might think. You can also go a little stir-crazy if you are not careful!

Be sure to consider these strategies to make working from home productive and enjoyable:

1. Stick to a schedule.

  • Get up at the same time each day.
  • Stick to your normal grooming routine.
  • Sit down to work at the same time each day.
  • Plan your lunch time.
  • Stop working for the day at a set time to avoid overworking.
  • Enjoy the extra time you have with no travelling to and from work and plan your spare time.

2. Dress effectively.

Some people can work effectively in their pyjamas and others might need to dress in their normal work clothes in order to get things done to a high level. Dress in a way that works for you and challenge yourself and question if you are being productive.

3. Set boundaries with the other people in your home.

Try and set boundaries for your kids, spouse, friends, other family members to ensure you have limited distractions to work effectively in blocks of time during the day. You might set the kids up for the day with fun activities or tasks and have break times eg morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea etc together. Friends and family might need to be told to visit after 5 pm to allow you to finish your day (depending on the type of covid restrictions that apply in your area). Consider adding a bit of fun if you have kids and as soon as 5 pm hits cooking dinner together or making a dessert together as a treat for the day. Alternatively, go for an afternoon walk or prepare a fun gym workout for you all to really tire the kids out!

4. Put in face time.

Use video conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams to catch up with team members to feel connected. Even schedule a daily catch up or a coffee catch up with friends to maintain a connection.  It is beneficial to see your co-workers, boss, employees, and clients or customers regularly if possible so try and change phone calls to Zoom or Teams meetings. Arrange Friday night drinks or cocktail sessions via zoom with your friends or colleagues. Consider a new signature drink, play music and make it something to look forward to for the week!

5. Plan breaks.

The only way to stick to a schedule is to arrange and plan breaks for yourself. It is a good time to clear your head, check on the kids or take the dog for a walk.

6. Get out of the house at least once each day.

It helps both your mental and physical health to get out of the house for at least a little while each day. You could run to the shops for groceries, take a walk, walk the dog or do anything else that takes you out of your home for a bit in the fresh air.

7. Communicate more.

Communication can be less effective when you don’t have face-to-face contact and the usual availability to discuss things quickly with people at work. That means you will likely need to communicate more to make up for the lower quality of communication. Communicate as much as necessary to ensure that everyone knows what they need to know.

8. Have a dedicated workspace.

It can be tempting to spread out on the kitchen bench. But are your papers going to stay where you put them? Can you have a decent phone conversation? Are there too many distractions? Set yourself up somewhere to create a productive workspace that has a good desk, chair and access to all of the information you need close by. Also away from the pantry and fridge away from eating distractions!!

9. Get some exercise.

You might not think that you get a lot of exercise at work, but walking around the office going to see staff members and dropping off deliveries etc you do a lot more walking than you will at home. At work you walk from the car or train, go out to lunch, walk to meetings or another department and the kitchen maybe all the way up the hallway. At home, you will find that most things are close and convenient which limits exercise so be sure to set outside for some fresh air and go for a walk. Gyms are now quick to turn on virtual training sessions so be sure to look into your local gyms for times that suit your working day. You may even be able to include the kids!

10. Limit social media.

Plan your social media times so you don’t get caught in the vortex and find yourself still there hours later. It is natural and normal to check your social media channels as long as it isn’t affecting your productivity. Consider turning off social media notifications if you are finding yourself becoming too distracted.

Every person is different and works differently so it is important to know what works best for you to be productive at home. Most of all create a schedule, limit distractions and have regular breaks and you will be on your way to working from home success!

Need additional help to keep you on track. Consider coaching or mentoring or follow our socials for inspiration. Contact Us today for a confidential conversation regarding your needs.

Looking for more information regarding tips for working from home – Forbes article – Work from home tips to stay motivated

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