As an executive assistant, communication skills are not only important—they’re crucial. Your entire career revolves around effectively communicating, making it one of the most important qualities an executive assistant can master.
Assistants craft emails, letters, memos, agendas, meeting minutes, and many other things, making grammar, punctuation, and spelling a must-know. EA’s are also expected to speak with co-workers at all levels of your business, as well as members of the public.
This means EAs need to understand how to actively listen to the words of others, ask questions, and speak in clear and concise sentences to enable effective two-way communication. Moreover, assistants that know how to listen, speak, and write in a considerate, professional manner will help shape a positive image for their company.
Keep reading to learn more about how Base can help enhance your communication skills to help improve your life as an executive assistant.
Find Comfort In Two-Way Feedback
Feedback is a core component of any effective learning 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 know where you might be falling short. Without well-rounded constructive and positive feedback, it can be hard to improve and grow.
You may simply expect your executive to give you necessary feedback and support, but are you returning the favor? Engaging in two-way feedback with your executive is essential when it comes to creating a thriving partnership. Believe it or not, execs need and benefit from open, honest communication too!
Know When to Listen
Active listening is a skill we could all benefit from brushing up on—so we’re going to break down the basics. To start, we need to say that being able to listen is a huge component of healthy, effective communication. This means not talking when other people are speaking and not thinking of what you’re going to say next. Pay attention, and let others know you’re listening by making eye contact, facial expressions, and verbal sounds.
Knowing when to listen will enhance your communication skills and give you some major leverage when it comes to conflict resolution in the workplace. Throughout your career as an EA, you’ll likely be faced with a wide range of issues that require your prompt and intuitive attention.
Make sure you have the conflict resolution skills to de-escalate issues that come up, whether it’s office drama or an unhappy client. It can sound intimidating to take on these problems at first, but we urge you to think of every conflict as a great teaching/learning experience. Getting good at resolving problems is a skill that can bring a lot of benefits to both your professional and personal life.
Don’t Forget to Speak Up!
Perhaps most importantly, make sure you’re using those communication skills 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 love and attention to yourself.
Say your executive leaves out details in a request that causes you hours of extra work on top of an already tight deadline. Instead of sticking it out and stressing it out, consider discussing the problem with your executive and letting them know what you can and can not do. This communication lets your executive know about their oversight and gives you a chance to stick up for yourself in the process.
You’ll need to use this same skill set to establish boundaries in your work life. The truth is, executive assistant work-life balance can be a real challenge without proper communication. If your executive is sending you urgent requests after work hours repeatedly, you’ll need to use your communication skills to set boundaries.
Sit down with your executive and explain that you will have certain times blocked off that they should expect you to be unreachable. Make sure they are reasonable and align with your day-to-day work expectations. Your executive will admire your willingness to communicate and make your needs known.