The One Thing All High Performing Executive Assistants Have in Common

Executive Assistants (EAs) play a crucial role in keeping organisations running smoothly. They are the backbone of support for busy executives who don’t have time to scratch their heads and ensure that operations run seamlessly.

It goes without saying, but EAs have a lot on their plate.

You ensure that meetings begin on time with prep material delivered in advance. You enable remote decision making. You keep projects on track. You optimise travel schedules. The list goes on, but most importantly, you gatekeep your executive’s time. You filter the distractions that stop an executive from being a reactive type who spends all day answering e-mail instead and allow them to focus on leading the organisation to new heights.

At Rapid Circle, we prepare you for what’s next, so here’s what’ll help you take your impact and career to the next level.

Here’s what separates the professional EAs from the dabblers

Outstanding Microsoft 365 proficiency is the key. With the right understanding and skills of their M635 environment, EAs can take their effectiveness (and careers) to the next level, keeping them in the top 10% of the EA talent pool.

“The M365 suite, along with powerful collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, offer immense possibilities to bolster the capabilities of EAs, making their executive more productive, therefore benefiting the entire organisation.”

Jenni McNamara

Streamlined Communication and Coordination

EAs are responsible for managing calendars, scheduling appointments, and coordinating meetings. Microsoft 365’s robust calendar and email capabilities simplify these tasks, enabling EAs to streamline communication and coordination efforts. With features like shared calendars and real-time availability tracking, EAs can easily schedule meetings, anticipate conflicts, and ensure optimal use of executives’ time.

Microsoft Teams takes communication to a new level by providing a centralised platform for collaboration. EAs can create dedicated Teams channels for departments, projects, or specific tasks, facilitating seamless communication and information sharing. This eliminates the need for lengthy email threads and accelerates decision-making processes. EAs can use Teams to alert team members of upcoming meetings, assign tasks, and instantly share files, fostering real-time collaboration and expediting workflows.

Efficient Document Management and Collaboration

Document management is an integral part of an EA’s responsibilities. Microsoft 365’s suite of tools, such as SharePoint and OneDrive, offer robust document storage, organisation, and version control capabilities. EAs can leverage these tools to maintain a centralised repository of important documents, ensuring easy access and reducing the chance of misplaced or outdated files.

Collaboration is made effortless with Microsoft Teams. EAs can create and co-author documents in real-time using the built-in Office Online applications. This enables them to collaborate with executives and team members, bringing together diverse perspectives and generating high-quality outputs. EAs can also use Teams to assign tasks, track progress, and keep everyone informed about the status of ongoing projects.

Enhanced Virtual Meeting Management

As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, virtual meetings have become a staple in business operations. EAs are responsible for managing these meetings efficiently, and Microsoft 365 and Teams offer features that make this task seamless. EAs can leverage Teams to schedule and send invites for virtual meetings, eliminating the need for separate meeting applications. Integration with Outlook ensures that meeting details are synced across platforms, providing a streamlined user experience.

During virtual meetings, EAs can use Teams’ advanced features, such as meeting notes and live captions, to capture important discussions and ensure accurate documentation. With the ability to record meetings, EAs can create a valuable resource for future reference or distribute recordings to absent participants. These features enhance collaboration and enable EAs to support executives in making well-informed decisions.

Maximising EA Skills and Capabilities in Microsoft 365

Providing EAs with the skills and capability to maximise their efforts in Microsoft 365 and Teams is essential for organisations to thrive. By offering comprehensive training programs, organisations can ensure that EAs are proficient in using the tools effectively. Training sessions can cover a range of topics, including calendar management, document collaboration, virtual meeting facilitation, and advanced features like automation and analytics.

Continuous learning opportunities are also crucial to keep EAs up to date with the ever-evolving Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Organisations should encourage EAs to explore online resources, attend webinars, and participate in Microsoft’s training programs like Microsoft Learn and the Microsoft 365 training centre. Additionally, creating a culture of knowledge sharing and providing access to experienced EAs as mentors or champions can enhance the capabilities of EAs and foster innovation within the organisation.

By empowering EAs with the skills and capabilities to leverage Microsoft 365 and Teams, organisations benefit from enhanced productivity and efficiency. EAs equipped with these tools can streamline communication, facilitate collaboration, improve document management, and efficiently manage virtual meetings. As a result, executives can focus on strategic initiatives while EAs handle operational aspects smoothly.

What we think:

EAs truly make the world go round in organisations. With the support of Microsoft 365 and collaboration tools like Teams, EAs can unlock their full potential and become invaluable assets. By ensuring that EAs have the skills and capability to maximise their efforts in Microsoft 365 and Teams, organisations can reap the benefits of an efficient and productive workforce, leading to overall success and growth.

Jenni’s top three tips for EAs

Here’s a list of 3 quick, actionable things you should do after reading the article:

  1. Set up a shared OneNote notebook between EA’s and Execs to capture meeting papers, actionable emails, and meetings
  2. Set up their Outlook categories to provide quick and easy access to group key items together.
  3. Use Teams chat/conversations to communicate internally and keep email for external purposes

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Want to go deeper? Talk to one of the Rapid Circle team

Wilco Turnhout

Co-Founder (NL/EU)

Andrew Fix

Chief Technology Officer (AU/NZ)