Whew – what a conference! It’s the evening of the last day of APC, and many of you are on planes, in trains or cars on the way back home. First, let me say, it has been an honor and a privilege to have met, chatted with, laughed and learned with you all! I hope that you have found the blog and Twitter coverage helpful in recapping the conference.
So let’s dive into Wednesday’s goings-on at the Administrative Professionals Conference. Everyone looked surprisingly bright-eyed in sessions this morning after last night’s great party! It was such fun to see so many of you at the session I moderated, Tricks of the Trade: The Mobile Assistant, with panelists Amelia Maxwell from Microsoft and Christopher Whibley of Elsevier.
If you attended any of the Tricks of the Trade sessions during the conference, you’ll know that they are slightly different from the other sessions. They are meant to be peer exchanges, so our panelists weren’t’ professional speakers, but professional assistants! Our audience consisted of folks who manage bosses who are in different locations, travel a lot, admins who telecommute and others wanting to learn about becoming more mobile. And our session wasn’t all about remote locations, but also about finding efficiencies (even if you're in the same office!) through mobile and cloud technology.
We talked through a variety of topics from technology to data security to “the admin of the future”, starting with what the catalysts were for prompting Christopher and Amelia to become more mobile (from bosses leaving paper documents behind to creating efficiencies), and what some of their best practices are (always have charging devices!). The audience shared a number of tips and tricks and tech tools. Our favorite moment was having one audience member share a tech tip about an expense tracking app, and within 15 minutes another audience member had contacted her boss and had him downloading it while she sat in the session! From Evernote and Todoist to taking calls from your boss in Beijing who wants you to get him a cab…when you’re in the US, we covered it all!
Our high-energy day continued with Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African-American female combat pilot. Having faced many obstacles in her climb to the cockpit, Armour reminded the audience to “acknowledge the obstacles…don’t give them power” and to cultivate a “breakthrough mentality” of refusing to settle, even in the smallest of moments. As she switched from flightsuit to business suit, Armour lifted the crowd with a message of inspiration, to engage fully with life, and wherever you find yourself in life to “lift off” from there. I was lucky enough to meet her in person after the keynote and snap a quick photo!
Then after a quick lunch it was off to the final workshops of the conference. Rhonda Scharf led a fantastic workshop on The Amazing Assistant – Charisma, Credibility & Confidence. After instructor-led roundtable discussions about each of those aspects, Scharf led us through a deep-dive into each area. Did you know that body language can really feed into your credibility? And that talking to someone in from the distance of the “social zone” (4+ feet) indicates disinterest on your part? Or that if someone is hearing your name incorrectly means you actually could be speaking too quickly?
Scharf cautioned the audience against overuse of the “that’s so easy I could do it in my sleep” commentary as that actually diminishes your skill set and the power of your work…don't take your credibility away by making it look so easy that you're not needed.
And with that, the 22nd Annual Administrative Professionals Conference came to a close…But we’re not done yet! Stay tuned because on Monday I’ll be doing a final recap of some of the themes and key observations of the conference, and sharing how we can all continue to stay connected until next year’s Administrative Professionals Conference in in Grapevine, Texas.
Safe travels home or to your next destination, and I’ll be chatting with you Monday!