The Bridge - August 2011 - (Page 17)

WHY IS THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE IMPORTANT? Jason Santiago, Office Administrator Jackson Lewis LLP If we find ourselves asking whether attending a national conference is important or worthwhile or whether attending can in fact enhance our skills and help us meet our professional goals, we can begin to get an affirmative answer by looking at the Annual Conference class schedule to get a glimpse of all the available practical tools and insights many classes provide. However, looking at the available classes is just the beginning. We may also ask for a review from someone who did attend. Having recently returned from the 2011 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, I submit the following three non-networking examples for your consideration in support of the view that attendance is not just worthwhile, but that it is important because it is relevant. As our firms become increasingly dependent on technology, we have found that our dependence on technology has also increased. We have become increasingly bombarded by new email alerts, instant messages, ringing phones that we cannot immediately answer and have forgotten the quieter days when mail arrived in the morning, when we had time to draft more thoughtful responses to inquiries and were able to return phone calls in the same day. Our modern day office life is fractured in many directions and we rarely get to start and finish a task in one go, let alone two or three. The QuietSpacing ™ class on email management is a perfect example of a course offering that can provide a direct impact on how you manage what is an increasFirst row from left to right: Suzanne Lawler, Susan Bonner, Diane Camacho, Kim Coates ingly time consuming task; receiving and responding to email. Getting your inbox down to zero seemed to me to be an improbaSecond Row: Matt Ogden, Ceanne Herndon, Doris Alexander, John Hegna, Nichole Kohake, Jason Santiago, Tim Blevins, Gina Macuila, Jim Schwarz, Steve Morris ble goal, let alone a possible one, but that is precisely what the course advertised. With its system of work in process folders and Outlook reminders, QuietSpacing™ has made it possible to get my inbox down to just about 15-20 emails on any given day from well over a couple hundred emails (I know some of you have thousands). Following this system’s procedures is easy and effective and I may not have come across this useful method but for having attended the national conference. I may not have whittled my inbox down to zero emails, but 20 is a far cry from 200, and the decrease in stress is tangible. Avoiding crucial conversations with colleagues and supervisors can lead to loss of momentum, loss of opportunity and loss of confidence. From almost every angle, not talking about what you need to talk about (on account of timidity or a weak grasp of subject matter, for example) leads you to ground. Remember, we must move forward at a fast pace just to hold the ground we have and we must run in order to gain ground. Avoiding a crucial conversation about a decision that is not being made or about a topic that is sensitive to a decision maker can lead to frustration, job dissatisfaction or worse, loss of a job. The VitalSmarts® class on crucial conversations aimed directly at this issue in an incisive and entertaining manner. What better way to get people talking about topics they are squeamish about than to get them to relax and laugh a little? The aspect of the course I found most relevant was the section covering how to create pools of shared meaning within a space that is made safe for discourse. I found this helpful because it drew my attention to creating safe spaces for open exchanges. If I need to create safe spaces in order for me to have conversations important to me and my career, don’t I need to create safe spaces for others to communicate openly with me? If you know how important it is to be an accessible administrator, then you know the answer to this question is “yes.” And, speaking of crucial conversations, why create safe spaces for dialogue if one is not a focused listener? Dr. Rick Bommelje’s presentation on the listening leader was incredibly eye opening (or should I say ear opening?). Before his class, Iconsidered myself to be an above average listener. Not a stellar listener mind you (my teachers and parents would agree), but a good listener at bottom. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I am actually a below average listener. Imagine my surprise when I learned that one of the characteristics of being a good listener is finding interest in the topic being brought to your attention. Imagine my surprise when I learned that taking notes is an indication that you are not listening. Listening, as it develops, is more than hearing what one has to say. I think we all have a good sense of that. Great listening is about taking in a wide array of information not limited to but including eye contact, body language and tone in addition to the verbal content a person presents. Grasping all this, interpreting all this, evaluating it and then responding thoughtfully to it are the cornerstones of being a great listener. When a speaker senses that he is being heard, he is more amenable to being led. And, that is what administrators need to be able to do, lead. If gaining insights and practical tools on leadership, on using technology, on the importance of creating safe spaces for dialogue are of value to you in your career path, then attending the annual conference will lead towards professional enhancement and development. I plan on attending the 2012 conference in Hawaii and hope to see many of you there. 17 Golden Gate Chapter August 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - August 2011

The Bridge - August 2011
Contents
President’s Message
Business Partner Appreciation Reception
A Tribute to Gayley Moore
Leadership and Committee Column: Region 6 Conference Leaders
Food From the Bar Update
Test Yourself
New Opportunities for Chapter Service
How Not to Get a Seat at the Table
2011 Annual Conference Recap—Orlando
Why is the Annual Conference Important?
Annual Conference Update
Member Appreciation Get-Together
CLM Exam Was Not an Overnight Decision
Operations & Technology Section Meeting Announcement
Annual & Regional Conference Announcements
Hot Topics From the List Serve
Member Anniversaries
Salary & Benefit Survey Order Form
2011—2012 Business Partners
Job Bank
Golden Gate Chapter Leadership
August 2011 Calendar

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