Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.
Hello and Happy New Year FlyPrivate readers. I’m delighted to lead off the 2015 FlyPrivate blogging series by sharing some tips for how we can stay connected to each other through effective communication. Shall we commit to effective and meaningful communication as one of our New Year’s resolutions at work and at home? I have a new book coming out in the Fall and will share extracts from it with you throughout the year. I look forward to being in touch with you.
I’ve just completed a book for executives, showing them how they can maximize productivity by working effectively with their assistant. I interviewed many, many dozens of business leaders, executives and assistants for the book. When I asked assistants what is the one thing the executive can do to help them, without fail, they all responded “communicate”. “Make sure the assistant knows all she needs to know in order to do her job,” said one. “Give me the big picture and keep me informed of current projects” said another. One young assistant told me “I get stressed because I don’t know what he wants and I keep second guessing myself”. “Let me know your opinion, which will help me to make better decisions on your behalf”, said the assistant to a high-profile entrepreneur. Fortunately, many assistants shared examples of their executives who were truly great communicators and always kept them informed and in the loop, which really helped their productivity and confidence in getting the job done.
Since communication and the ability to communicate effectively are vital skills, yet challenging for so many, I asked some of the popular speakers represented by my speakers bureau about some of the characteristics a good communicator, particularly one who is delivering a presentation, must possess.
Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick are the bestselling co-authors of several books, including The Carrot Principle, and their latest work What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work. Chester said: “The speakers who get my attention are first of all, experts in their field. They share real stories of real people in real companies. They aren’t afraid to confront tough issues and make the audience feel a little challenged. But most importantly, they don’t speak in platitudes – they give us real tools we can use immediately to make our workplaces better.”
Adrian added, “The best communicators are people who are transparent. These business leaders share even hard truths with their co-workers, employees and clients as soon as they can, and they encourage open debate of ideas and issues, even if it rattles harmony. Others come to trust communicators like this, because they know they will be truthful and direct, and that builds trust and a larger culture of openness.”
Jones Loflin, is a busy speaker who crisscrosses America and the world delivering talks for companies such as FedEx and Microsoft. He told me great communicators have a passion to see people improve their lives in some way. They should also be willing to be transparent and let people see who they really are. Jones said “I am always seeking better ways to meet audiences where they are, and develop strategies to take them to a place they can’t seem to take themselves.”
What I’m hearing from executives, assistants, successful authors and speakers is that you can develop trust and rapport with your employees, or your audience, by engaging in direct and honest communication, being willing to be “real” and helping others to succeed by sharing knowledge and information so they are well informed and equipped to get their job done. As Elton & Gostick shared, communication helps organizations build robust cultures where employees are not only productive and profitable, but also engaged and energized.
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