Honing Your Executive Assistant Communication Skills

Effective communication as an executive assistant isn’t just important—it’s crucial. Your entire career revolves around how well you can communicate, making it one of the most important qualities an executive assistant can master.

Assistants craft emails, letters, memos, agendas, meeting minutes, and more, making grammar, punctuation, and spelling a must-know. EAs are also expected to speak with co-workers at all levels of your business, including members of the public. This means EAs need to understand how to actively listen, ask questions, and speak clearly to enable effective communication in the workplace

Moreover, assistants who know how to listen, speak, and write in a considerate, professional manner will be noticed for their ability to streamline communication. Keep reading to learn more and excel in your career as an executive assistant.  

Examples of Effective Communication for EAs:

Base can help enhance your communication techniques to improve your life as an executive assistant. Our platform and range of communication tools make the following easy:

Two-Way Feedback

Feedback is a core component of any effective work environment. While our executive assistant platform has the tools to help streamline two-way communication, two-way feedback is a skill that can take some time and practice to get right. 

We all know that feedback is crucial to the success of an executive assistant and CEO relationship. It’s important to know when you’re doing a good job and meeting expectations, but it’s just as important to understand where you might be falling short. Without well-rounded constructive and positive feedback, it can be hard to improve and grow.

You may expect your executive to give you feedback and support, but are you returning the favor? If you want to know what makes an effective executive and executive assistant relationship, consider this: Two-way communication helps build a thriving partnership—which means having tough conversations and asking for what you need. When you understand the importance of effective communication, your exec will have no choice but to do the same. 

Active Listening

Active listening is a skill we could all brush up on—so we’re here to break down the basics. To start, we need to say that listening is a huge component of healthy, effective communication. Knowing when to listen rather than speak is one of those underrated strategies for effective professional communication people tend to overlook. 

Contrary to popular belief, communication isn’t just about what you’re planning to say next! It’s also about paying attention to the small details that take place during your communications. As an EA, you’ll likely face a wide range of situations that require your prompt and intuitive attention. Active listening will allow you to know the full details of situations, giving you the ability to professionally de-escalate anything that comes up.

We understand that with everything you’re expected to remember in a day, ‘listening’ may not be an obstacle, but ‘remembering’ can be! With tools like Dossier, you have a designated spot to jot down key communications that will help you and your executive thrive.

Speaking Up

Perhaps most importantly, make sure you’re using the communication techniques you’ve learned to advocate for yourself and what YOU need. While we know that an average day in the life of an executive assistant is full of catering to others, don’t forget to show that same respect and attention to yourself. 

Say your executive forgets to utilize effective communication and causes you hours of extra work on top of an already tight deadline. Instead of staying silent and stressing it out, consider using the communication techniques you’ve learned to openly discuss the problem with your executive. 

You’ll need to use the same effective communication techniques to establish boundaries in your work life. Without this necessary communication, the line between work life and personal life can get blurred. If your executive repeatedly sends you urgent requests after work hours, you’ll need to use your communication techniques to set boundaries. 

Sit down with your executive and determine where you feel comfortable helping and where you don’t. Openly communicating is the only way to make sure you both stay on the same page—and your exec will admire your willingness to communicate and make your needs known. 

Ready to take your communication to the next level?

Here at Base, we’re all about helping strategic assistants do their best work. Our app is solely for assistants’ daily workflow so you can utilize your time more efficiently and support your leader more effectively. Base is a single place for you to create executive briefings, field emails, track projects, manage calendars, and more. 

Sign up today and start using Base for free!

Written by Bryn Smith

Bryn is the Senior Marketing Manager at Base, where she connects the EA community with top thought leaders, resources, and insights to support them in their careers.