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All members with something they wish to share can get an article published here - simply reach out to our Executive MarCom Officer.



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  • 25 Jan 2024 08:55 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    This article is from iBabs - our Gold Partner 

    In the 1870s, Henry Martyn Robert — an American soldier and engineer — created Robert's Rules of Order. Initially intended as a way to run church meetings, Robert’s Rules were, at first, inspired by the senate procedure at the time. Now, it’s the most widely-used rulebook for the parliamentary procedure in the United States. But many organisations around the world also use it for their committee meetings and board meetings.

    Read the article here

  • 14 Jan 2024 12:35 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    Get ready for our next instalment of our “Event Planning A-Z”. This time round it’s “C” for Communication!

    From understanding communication to challenges and the various stages of event comm, discover how strategic communication connects event planners and attendees.Get ready for insights on overcoming challenges, boosting attendance and supporting an unforgettable event journey.

    Read more here


  • 12 Jan 2024 09:00 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    AI is here to stay. Undoubtedly. Some think this is a profession to fade away in a few years, others think that AI will be a sole companion within the Admin Professionals journey.

    Written by Isabel Garcia, IMA Spain

    Whereas some think this is a profession to fade away in a few years now as AI will impose and will make evident the redundancy of Admin support, others think that AI will be a sole companion within the Admin Professionals journey - being a support to be more time-efficient, to run tasks with more accuracy, to help with proposals of a wide range of templates, texts, or even ideas to start drafting a presentation.

    Yes, all that seems to be true, but still, no one has yet dared to say that AI is going to emulate our soft skills and individual capabilities arisen from a combination of our knowledge, our naturally born skills, and our experience. That “thing” that makes us all unique even if sharing the profession of Management Support Professionals.

    AI will indeed help and be a great colleague to work with, however, the added value comes from us, the Assistants, and that lays on how good we are and will be managing and putting into practice our soft skills and that uniqueness based on our individual capabilities.

    IMA Spain AX (where AX stands for Assistants Xperience, inspired by the so well-known term UX, User Xperience).

    IMA Spain AX is in fact a mentoring program that will be run internally with our own resources, as well as led by one of our IMA Spain members, Elena Miralles, who counts with a long experience being an Executive Assistant within the Pharm Industry, Office Manager and in charge of the onboarding of new staff members with regards to the organization, administration and functioning within the company teams. Within her role, Elena is frequently appointed as “buddy” for new joiners, especially those who have less experience within the Management Assistant profession and represents a great support for them.

    When we proposed the project to Elena, she immediately embraced the idea, however, we let the idea settle for a while to be sure this is something doable on our own.

    Fortunately, the time arrived to start shaping what we understood should be done within this program, and the first thing we did was to identify what sort of “users” we would have and what could be the different necessities they could have.

    After a thorough brainstorming session, we came down to the conclusion that we needed to create this Mentoring Program divided into 3 main streams:

    Stream 1: Self-Assessment

    This is a 4-month program meant to evaluate where the mentee stands with regards to his/her/their package of soft kill using a professional tool, then define a route for the mentee to improve any skill and at the end of the 4 months, a new self-assessment will be done to evaluate the progress.

    Stream 2: “I’m your buddy!”

    This stream aims at naming a "buddy" within the organization to accompany the mentee during a longer time to help and support either a professional change, seeking for a promotion within their company, looking for a new position, or even to support the early stages of an Assistant within the professional path.

    Stream 3: Collective mentoring

    The IMA Spain AX team will conduct workshops during our in-person conventions + 1 more online. These workshops will be focusing on soft skills and will be linked to the topics discussed during the conventions and one more topic chosen with a comprehensive criterion to ensure a sound and beneficial session for all the participants.

    The program kicks off officially in January 2024 where we will introduce it to the whole IMA Spain members, although we already had a first collective mentoring session during the 1st Assistants Convention in Pamplona on 25th November, where in groups, we worked on identifying the soft skills needed to overcome last minute issues that may appear at the celebration of an event or even, during its organization. This was a very effective and productive session where we could already note not only the teams’ opinions and findings, but also helped us identify different types of behaviors within the workshop teams.

    The IMA Spain AX program aims at reinforcing the mentees and mentor’s skills, as we consider that this will be a shared learning experience for both. Furthermore, we consider that being part of IMA, in general, is a fantastic opportunity to receive trainings or the chance to participate in events organized by the National Groups or IMA Global, but also, it offers a unique chance to use the platforms and resources that the Association provides to contribute with our own experiences and like that, capitalize all the knowledge that we already have within our national groups. IMA Members need to start looking at IMA not only as the place to learn but also as the place to practice, a sort of “sandbox” to test different topics, disciplines, or capabilities to ensure we can deliver a high standard and high-quality service to the Management Teams. We believe that this IMA Spain AX could be a first step in the right direction to R-evolution.

    The IMA Spain AX will be linked or will be the basis for most of our activities, namely, Social Media inputs, trainings to be organized, next Cross-Border events, and so on. This is a live program that will evolve while we evolve with it.

    To hear more, please reach out to Elena Miralles.

  • 5 Dec 2023 12:37 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    In this interview, we ask Maria about her background inside and outside of IMA, and we get to hear about what she will focus on as our new Executive Chair. 

    Click - and enjoy your read!
  • 27 Nov 2023 15:39 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    Get ready for our next blog post as we deep dive into 'B' for Budget Planning in the Trafo Baden Eventplanning A-Z series.

    From overcoming attendee count uncertainties to mastering Daily Delegate Rates (DDRs), we're breaking down the barriers to budget success. Stay tuned for exclusive insights, challenges, and expert tips to make your event financially flawless.

    Click here to read more


  • 20 Nov 2023 13:03 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    This article is written by our IMA Germany member Oya Karabulut.

    My first contact with IMA was overwhelming for me, a huge thunderclap into a completely new perspective on my job. Today I go to work in a completely different way than before I met IMA.

    My company Gleiss Lutz hosted an "Assistants' Networking Hub" at our Frankfurt office on 21 June 2023. My first thought was "motivational speaking doesn't make the job of an assistant any better". I've been working as an assistant in various law firms since I was 16 years old. My colleagues persuaded me to take part in the event and, I was proved wrong: motivational speaking makes every job better!

    We were able to attend great presentations on key competences for the assistant of the future, skills in the context of "new work" and digital transformation, the "winning team" and the right attitude towards one's own role and the definition of one's own "WHY". This was followed by an interesting exchange of ideas and a chance to get to know each other at the after-work event. This was the first time I heard about IMA.

    As part of this event, an annual IMA membership was raffled off, which was won by my dear colleague Christiane. I was incredibly happy for her because this enabled her to attend the international conference in Cape Town. When do you ever get the opportunity to travel from Europe to South Africa to attend a conference?

    For personal reasons, Christiane wanted to give up her prize and - although we didn't even know each other - thought of me, for which I am very grateful. Without her, my trip to South Africa would not have happened in this form.

    I spoke to my employer, who kindly gave me time off for the duration of the trip and then everything happened very quickly.

    I arrived in Cape Town on the morning of 26 October 2023 after an almost 12-hour flight. That same evening, there was a welcome reception where I met wonderful people from so many different countries. I felt very comfortable and warmly welcomed from the very first second. The community is really very special and radiates warmth. I was able to meet so many interesting people from so many different countries. I was overwhelmed.

    We had an exciting African evening in the Gold Restaurant and the get-together brought us even closer together. It was an unforgettable evening, which began with extensive drumming by all the IMAs and continued with a small performance by singers and dancers in very colourful costumes. Afterwards we were served many different dishes and at the end members of the staff sang for us on site.

    The presentations on the following 27 October 2023 were incredibly interesting. I was able to take away so many insights and valuable approaches. Sonja de Wet guided us so wonderfully through this interesting day. She was wonderful.

    Quinton Coetze - Business lessons from the wilds of Africa - Entrepreneur and Wildlife Conservationist

    The first speaker with the most entertaining presentation of the conference for me, as he skillfully drew parallels to the need for cohesion and cooperation between people in the business world using many examples of the simple but very efficient coexistence of the San San, where he lived for a time. In many short film sequences, he showed how these people appreciate nature on the one hand and make use of the resources on the other, acting in a very sustainable way. The audience alternated between laughter and amazement during his interesting presentation.

    Prof Thuli Madonsela - Shaping an ethical workplace - advocate and professor of law at Stellenbosch University

    The soft-spoken woman has a strong professional background as a professor of law and was involved in drafting the new constitution on equal rights laws, equal treatment in the workplace and various post-apartheid constitutional laws, among other things. She spoke about the principles she has established in the world of work, which she also passes on to her students. As a single mother and former ANC member, she courageously took action against corruption in the country years ago.

    Alinda Nortje - "Employee Engagement" - Founder and CEO of Free to Grow

    The former social worker and community worker spoke about company culture. With her organisation, she wants to encourage and enable people in communities and organisations to realise and connect themselves. She did a learning exercise with us using Japanese numbers, which I found very interesting. “Free To Grow” now specialises in employee engagement and related learning and development activities.

    Helen Monument - Chair: World Administrators Alliance

    Helen Monument, who is well known to most IMAs, presented the Global Skills Matrix set up by the organisation, which is a good compass for assistants around the world on how to position themselves when applying for jobs, negotiating salaries and so on.

    Ronald Samuels - Building Bridges - CEO: Botswana Insurance Life and author

    His presentation about his own eventful and sometimes tragic story of his childhood and youth during apartheid touched me the most. He is the author of the book "The bitter olive", his biography, and based on extracts from it he taught us the following lesson:

    In the end, it's not what happened to you that counts, it's what you do about it that matters.

    In his presentation, he also spoke at length about the role of assistants and how we can achieve better results in our daily interactions through communication, mutual appreciation, cohesion and confidence in our own high value.

    In the evening, the traditional gala dinner also took place in the Congress Centre with the theme "Denim and Diamonds". The hall was beautifully decorated and the tables were set in an unusual way. We danced for a long time and it was a very exuberant atmosphere, which also spread to the service staff.

    What touched me the most was the immense solidarity and goodwill among all the participants. You rarely experience something like that in life. At least I do, working in the shark tank that is Frankfurt, where there is always a society of elbows.

    My first contact with IMA was overwhelming for me, a huge thunderclap into a completely new perspective on my job. I am no longer just the little assistant who follows her boss's instructions. I am a key person, an ambassador between two worlds (I do build bridges!), my job is important and significant. Today, I go to work in a completely different way than before I met IMA. I am eternally grateful for that.

    The event has massively boosted my self-confidence, my self-worth as an assistant. I feel like I'm an important link in the chain, having spent the last 25 years literally wandering through various offices in Germany. I am someone. And I am infinitely grateful for that.

    My onward journey through South Africa only reinforced this feeling. I hired a car and bravely drove 2,557 kilometres along the Garden Route and Route 62 through left-hand traffic. I encountered many friendly and warm people and the most exciting animals. It broadened my horizons quite a bit and I am so grateful for this enrichment.

    Oya Karabulut, member of IMA Germany


  • 7 Nov 2023 18:02 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    This is the second edition of our platinum partner https://www.trafobaden.ch/enTrafo Baden's series on event planning. 

    "A" for AV Services, which play a pivotal role in ensuring your event is a memorable and engaging experience. However, along with their importance, AV Services come with their own set of challenges.

    In this article, we dive into the world of AV services and explore how to overcome common hurdles.

    Click to read more

  • 2 Nov 2023 17:55 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    This is the first article of 12 in a series from our platinum partner Trafo Baden. 

    In this first edition, we delve into  conquering the notorious challenge of No-Shows.

    Discover strategies, expert tips and effective solutions that will help to fill most seats.

    Don’t miss out on optimizing your events!

    Click to read more


  • 30 Oct 2023 16:15 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    An article by iBabs - our Gold partner

    Let’s take a look at what the process is with executive session minutes and how executive session minutes differ from taking board meeting minutes.

    If and when the time comes to take executive session minutes, they must be treated separately from the minutes of the main meeting before or after which the executive session occurs.

    This is a type of confidential meeting that doesn't tend to involve ‘outsiders’. In this case, outsiders are considered those that aren’t members of the board, such as staff or advisors, but this can vary. However, unless explicitly stated, minutes should still be taken to keep a record of the session.

    Read more and see examples on iBabs:

    How To Take Executive Session Minutes (With An Example) - iBabs

    You can try iBabs Board Portal for free.

  • 25 Sep 2023 17:40 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    An article by iBabs - our Gold partner 

    Without a proper meeting follow-up structure, projects can take much longer to complete. Board members likely won’t be able to keep up with any meeting tasks without clear notes and due dates.

    A meeting usually covers a lot of topics and discussions. So, it’s human to forget to follow up on quick actions made during its course. But if this issue persists, it can significantly hinder board productivity and waste everyone’s time and energy.

    Without a proper meeting follow-up structure, projects can take much longer to complete. Board members likely won’t be able to keep up with any meeting tasks without clear notes and due dates.

    So, how can directors and secretaries prevent this issue? A good approach is to note all action items in the meeting minutes and ensure their proper management. This simple change will make your meetings far more productive.

    But that’s just the start — let’s explore the best ways to keep track of action items and ensure a sound meeting follow-up process.

    What are meeting action items?

    A meeting action item is any task that has been discussed and approved during a meeting. It could be simple, such as setting a time for another meeting, or more complex, requiring research and planning. In any case, the details and expected outcomes should be finalised during the task assignment and highlighted in your meeting notes and minutes.

    An action item should be assigned to an individual or a team along with a responsible party. For example, creating social media posts should be assigned to the digital marketing team, while the marketing manager should be tasked with ensuring its correct and timely execution.

    Their importance

    Meeting action items allow projects to proceed faster. With a robust follow-up process and deadlines, everyone does their part to keep the momentum going.

    Sometimes, action items follow a sequence — one task’s completion leads to the initiation of another. For example, if the sales team create a spreadsheet of their monthly activity and reasons for missing revenue targets, subsequent actions could include:

    • Setting up a formal meeting with the department head.
    • Organising a sales training session.
    • Researching new sales technology.
    • Creating performance scorecards to break down each member’s performance.

    Examples of action items

    Here are some examples of common action items that arise from a meeting:

    • Following up with a potential client, customer or prospect
    • Preparing a presentation
    • Exploring new tools and technology
    • Putting together the next board meeting agenda
    • Finalising a plan
    • Organising files and folders

    How to optimise action item management

    Here are the best ways to manage action items and ensure a sound follow-up structure:

    Add clarity and detail

    Keep every action item clear and detailed. For example, allocating a task with just a title, ‘Prepare sales presentation’, is too vague. Add further information about what it should entail. A well-written, descriptive action item will help avoid confusion.

    Keep all action items in one place

    If various action items are kept in different places, it can lead to confusion between teams. It can also be demoralising for anyone who accidentally missed their responsibilities. To avoid mix-ups, store all action items in one place so they are easier to manage and track.

    Sort your action items

    There are multiple ways to sort your action items, such as by:

    • Status (in progress, not started, completed, etc.)
    • Priority (low, medium or high)
    • Deadline (closest to furthest)

    By sorting your action items, it’s easy to visualise pending tasks and catch up with assignees.

    Mention deadlines and assignee(s)

    Assign individuals or teams to each action item and set a reasonable delivery date. Communicate with the assignees before setting a deadline based on urgency and their current workload. Giving clarity ensures that individuals are aware of their responsibilities.

    Maintain open communication

    Within a meeting, action items can be assigned without full knowledge of the entire process. Sometimes, an assignee will only realise the absence of essential elements once they start the task. They should be able to communicate this information and add a preceding action item before theirs can be done.

    It’s also vital to inform them of any changes to an action item or its priority. This will impact the individual/team responsible and may also extend to other action items.

    Track progress

    Utilise tools to track the progress of action items. Check on the action item tracking document regularly, and don’t hesitate to give the assignees a nudge on incomplete tasks ahead of or on the deadline. If they haven’t updated the tracker, remind them to do so.

    Meeting action item template

    Lots of businesses use project management tools to track action items. We recommend using a board portal, such as iBabs, so everyone can update their task status easily in a secure environment that protects your sensitive information. It’s also good practice to colour code for a clearer picture of progress.

    Here’s a simple template that you can use for your business:


    Conclusion

    Utilising an efficient and organised follow-up process keeps everyone aligned and on track with their responsibilities. Sound action item management leads to productive meetings and increases momentum.

    If you want to optimise your follow-up strategy, iBabs can help. This virtual board meeting software provides a dashboard where administrators and directors can see the progress of each action item, communicate and exchange documents.

     

    You can try iBabs Board Portal for free.



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