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Are conferences for administrative professionals beneficial enough for you to go?

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in Admin Pro Forum

Question: "I think it would be interesting to attend one of the larger conferences for admins and office managers, but I'm sure it would involve some travel, missed time from work and the company footing the bill. Can anyone tell me if it's been worth it to them to dive in and make appearances at events like these?" - Thea, Legal Librarian

See comments below, and send your own question to Admin-Pro@nibm.net.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnie Low-Kramen March 15, 2014 at 9:02 am

This is In response to Jabbmabb’s comment about being surprised about my statement regarding professional development still being a fairly new idea in 2014. It does seem shocking, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, 1 in 5 administrative staff receive no training at all and 2 out of 3 receive 10 hrs or less training per year. This study by Office Team was published in Jan, 2014. http://blog.officeteam.com/3-shocking-stats-about-training-for-administrative-professionals I train assistants all around the world and appallingly, my students back up these stats.They are starving for training and the smart leaders know that it is a priority. Many of the students pay for training themselves. The big admin conferences like IAAP, APC, LIVE and BEL all offer an “ROI Letter” which helps the admin find the language to “sell” the training to the manager. Jack Zenger is a leadership expert who wrote a brilliant article called “We Wait Too Long to Train our Leaders” for Harvard Business Review.http://bit.ly/UDGyUE In it he says that the average age that our leaders are receiving any training is a shocking 42 years old. There is an enormous learning deficit in the United States and in order to stay competitive both in leadership and in support staff, we have to act NOW to change that and blogs like this can only help so thank you.

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jabbmabb March 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

Thanks for sharing the study information. OfficeTeam does a great job on admin-type surveys. It would be interesting to see the break-down of the types of industries the study was based on, e.g., healthcare, insurance, etc. I would think (but nothing based on facts) that professional services firms are a bit more generous with and see the value of supporting/funding training administrative staff.

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SK March 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I am in an ongoing Admin training (one of Joan Berge’s) right now and being with “my peeps,” those who are admins in different areas has proven to be strengthening.
I also realized, those admins that are my age–45+, aren’t as savvy with techy equipment as our 20 and 30-something counterparts.
I have come to realize I need to get a smartphone (yes, I’m the last holdout on earth) and learn how to use it and not be afraid of AV technology for meetings. I need to know that I can master it, just as I’ve mastered all the other tasks around the office I wasn’t familiar with in the beginning.
Admin Pro has many newsletters and downloads I take advantage of as well.

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Gudrun McLean March 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

I too think that professional development for our field is no longer an option. Businesses are asking so much more of support staff these days and attending conferences and taking courses helps keep you at the top of your game. I try to attend the Canadian conference annually and always come back energised, re-engaged and with new knowledge in my back pocket. I highly recommend attending if you have the opportunity.

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Ava March 10, 2014 at 8:56 am

Sometimes it’s just worth it to go someplace where everyone is like you and dealing with the same problems every day that you are–it makes you feel like you’re part of a community and that you’re understood.

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SK March 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I agree. I’m in an on-going training for Admins right now and my ah-ha moments came when others spoke about their day at work and I realized I wasn’t alone.

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Bonnie Low-Kramen March 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I believe that professional development is not an option anymore given how complicated the workplace has become.The good news is that there are many learning options out there including the big conferences. The bad news is that investing in professional development, especially for support staff, is still a fairly new idea in the US in 2014. That said, supplemental learning is imperative (no matter who pays for it) in order to stay relevant, marketable, and valuable. I think there is great value in big conferences and I also think there is great value in online learning and smaller classes. For example, I teach a 2-day in person workshop that has 30 people maximum called “Be the Ultimate Assistant.” I welcome any questions as I know about the variety of workshops for assistants all over the world. Please contact me. I would be happy to help. http://www.bonnielowkramen.com

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jabbmabb March 13, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I’m a bit surprised about your comment “The bad news…..is still a fairly new idea in the US in 2014.” What sources do you have to back up that statement? I’ve been working in the A/E/C industry for many years, and I know and have known many support/admin staff who receive professional development support/funds from their firms.

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Christine March 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I have been to a few of them. I have found them to be beneficial. There are many tips and tricks you can learn not only from the conference but from the other admins as well.

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Gloria March 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Only the ones that are advanced, high level topics and well designed programs. Online is key. Live and recorded webcasts are great too. Topics similar to the articles covered in Executive Secretary and issues that high level assistants who support C-Level Executives face. It is more than your typical administrative responsibilites. Many EAs now work in dual roles and titles are changing. They’re involved in business strategies, financial forecasting, organization restructures, office placements, etc. Some EAs are now being called Business Managers. Training needs to match the experience level and obstacles each of us face along our career.

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Eliza March 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

So, it’s called ‘development’ and just like any other professional, attending conferences is all part of your professional growth. At these conferences you’re able to be around other admins, hear worthwhile lectures, get materials and other information that makes you going a benefit to your employer. Any opportunity for you to grow in your profession is worth it. Don’t hesitate to request a meaningful and applicable conference to attend. (Assuming you’re not just asking to attend conferences in Hawaii!).

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Diane March 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm

If you can foot the bill, by all means do it. I did, and I haven’t regretted it since. I met new people, found out about some new ways of doing things, and just new things altogether. It was worth the experience and it has made me a better employee and a better person. Even though my company doesn’t pay for me to attend the conferences, much less allowing me to use company time, the executive and managers I support see the difference. Opportunities have been given to me that otherwise would have gone to others.

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