Administrative Professional Today

Not surprisingly, there are better ways to persuade others to listen to your message. Communications expert Jennifer Benz, of Benz Communications, advises sticking to the “four corners” of effective employee communication.

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Much more than a gatekeeper, a good executive assistant can double or triple a boss’s efficiency by staying one step ahead of him or her. The more an assistant can predict an executive’s needs, the less he or she will need to interrupt.

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In Working Girl, Melanie Griffith overhauls her appearance so others will take her seriously. In the real world, it takes more than a wardrobe change to lift your on-the-job reputation from “wet behind the ears” to “wise beyond your years.” Indeed, changing the perception others have of you at work can take up to 18 months …

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Emily Morgan works 60 to 70 hours a week and doesn’t even get a steady paycheck. You would think she’d loathe her boss, but you’d be wrong. Morgan is a virtual assistant (VA) and chooses how much work she takes on and how many hours she works. Ever wonder whether a VA career might be right for you?

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The trouble with that New Year’s resolution to declutter your desk is that it didn’t stick. It’s back to its old cluttered self. “You want to create new habits that last more than a week,” personal coach Miranda Kennet says. Five habits worth adopting:

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Create a cheat sheet for emergencies and leave it on your desk … Monitor spending with online tools … Reach out to someone who has been laid off … Be a valuable connection from the moment you invite someone into your LinkedIn network.

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Try to track the details of a complex project on a whiteboard, and you may quickly run out of white space. Here are five project-tracking software tools that can come to the rescue.

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Fewer employers may be hiring in 2009 (only 14%, compared to 32% last year), but the outlook isn’t entirely grim. Some employers will increase salaries, while others plan to offer flexible work arrangements.

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Use your laptop to squeeze more productivity out of meetings: Share data; brainstorm better; take and distribute meeting notes digitally.

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Saving your employer time and money is one of the few measurable ways to demonstrate the contribution you make at work. Here’s how Amy Gurren, winner of OfficeTeam’s Administrative Excellence Award, proactively found ways to save her employer some of both.

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