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7 Ways to keep the boss focused

7 ways to keep the boss focused

These days, everyone has a hard time focusing. But when it's the boss who's afflicted with a short attention span, an administrative professional must take steps to ensure work moves forward and things get done.

Here's how to handle a distracted boss:

1. Always be prepared. With an inattentive or unfocused boss, you always have to be ready to drop what you're doing to handle sudden requests. Keep a notebook and pen handy at all times. Save whatever you're working on at every opportunity, so nothing gets lost when you're abruptly summoned to the boss's office. Bring a list of questions you need answered along with relevant documents or emails.

2. Take lots of notes. When you attend a meeting with your boss, write everything down. Afterward, send him a copy of your notes with a polite accompanying message, "Here's what took place for your records.”

3. Get your boss's attention. You may have to stand at your boss's desk until he or she gets to a stopping point. Let your boss know you're OK waiting. When your boss is ready to listen to you, tell him how much time you need. Then ask for whatever you need, and leave as soon as you're done..

Want to learn about working flawlessly with the boss from one of the world's most in-demand speakers? Lucy Brazier, CEO of Marcham Publishing—the publisher of Executive Secretary magazine—will give a keynote address at Admin Pro Forum 2016 called The Modern Administrative Professional as a Strategic Business Partner. She'll teach you how to get your boss to see you as an irreplaceable asset to be heard and respected. See what other training will be offered!

4. Don't overload your boss. To get more done, stay with one topic.

5. Know what communication methods work best. Is your boss a visual person? If so, print out his schedule to review while you ask your questions. Is your boss better at hearing things aloud? Try reading an email aloud instead of sending it. Pick your boss's most focused time to address major issues or decisions.

6. Email communication tips. Some bosses can't stay focused when you talk to them and prefer seeing your requests in email. In this case, craft the message with your boss's needs in mind:

  • Make your subject line count. Words like "urgent,” "important” and "high priority” are more likely to grab your boss's attention.
  • Use dates and times so your boss understands the time element involved in making the decision.
  • Keep the message short and to the point.
  • Use bullet points or highlight key sentences.

7. Give your boss time to make decisions. Your boss may be fully aware of his short attention span and appreciate time to sort out thoughts before making a decision. He may also appreciate polite reminders that the deadlines are approaching.

A conference for admins from far and wide demands a prestigious setting. The Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida will host star trainers like Lucy Brazier, Joan Burge, Julie Perrine and Laura Stack. You'll meet and learn from them all at Admin Pro Forum 2016 … and why not take advantage of the endless opportunities that the hotel and surrounding area offer to unwind? Learn more about what's in store at the resort.

Bosses with a short attention span require a great deal of patience and understanding. Keeping this in mind will make both of you happier and more productive in the long run.

On her blog, "Musings of a High-Level Executive Assistant,” Kiyomi Mizukami gives an example of how to successfully schedule a meeting for a distracted boss: "John would like to have lunch with you. Do you want to do it Wednesday or Thursday?” If the boss says, "Wednesday,” reply, "If you choose Wednesday you only get one hour with him, but if you pick Thursday you have 90 minutes.” Then ask where your boss wants to go for lunch. "[Provide] bite-size information, one step at a time,” advises Mizukami.

Come to the place where the best tricks of the admin trade will be discussed, traded and even created … come to Admin Pro Forum 2016!


Melissa Esquibel
Moderator, Admin Pro Forum 2016

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