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Yvette Pearson

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East Midlands Trains

So today I had to journey up from London to Leicester. A trip I’ve only taken once before, this time it was there and back by lunchtime. A little over an hour each way with East Midlands Trains  is pretty convenient for a meeting to be honest, and there are bag fulls of taxis at Leicester station so you can easily get to wherever you need to be (in my case, the Space Centre – a story for another day!). Being the keen bean that I am, I arrived at the magnificent St Pancras station about 45 minutes early so made my way straight to the first class lounge (obvs). I’ve been in several lounges in my time, and this one was probably around average. A couple of tables, some tea and coffee, juice, and the obligatory bowl of individually-wrapped cookies: “perfect for breakfast” was clearly the feeling of one…

Do you Promote your Company?

We hear time and time again that EAs, and all secretarial staff want to be included and to feel part of their teams. Mainly because we are a part of the team – a super important one at that! But how often do we go out of our way to help promote the company for which we work? From my experience, surprisingly little. So where can you start? I work in financial services, and have done for more than 10 years. When I was working for a global investment bank, I didn’t think there was possibly a way I could promote my company, basically because they were too big and I was the tiniest fish in the biggest pond. But I still did. Social Media I utilised my network, including LinkedIn as well as past employers, to help build connections. By understanding what my company did (one of my tips…

A-Z of PAs – A is for Agenda

Every trip and meeting needs an agenda. With the travel ones, even if you don’t give it to the traveller, it’s always good to have one for your own sanity to make sure you’ve not missed anything. For meetings, it is a great way of keeping everyone on track, they can help with the minutes if you are taking any, and they also remind you at a later date what the meeting was about. Save them with a Naming Convention Historically, I’ve used a simple Word template to create my agendas. Nowadays there are cool apps like Travo for your travel ones if you like to keep things electronic (I’m getting there!), but if you keep with Word, you need a naming convention to save them. I know this might sound a little unimportant, but trust me, when you have 20 people travelling at one time and you need to find…

The Malmaison Hotel, Birmingham

Walking up the road from Birmingham New Street Station (notably the wrong road as I, of course, came out of the station by the wrong exit!) I turned the corner to see a very modern looking, rather imposing building; The Malmaison Hotel. (and part of the shopping centre!) I arrived mid afternoon and some of my colleagues had been there all morning so I checked in on my own. When I asked if I could take the room keys for my colleagues so I didn’t greet them empty handed, my request was quickly met by the Malmaison receptionist. Everything had been pre-prepared and I was told that their rooms were ready. Awesome! I made my way to the Work & Play area to find my colleagues. I opened the door to meet a group of disheveled management who had been sitting in this small, windowless room since 9.30am. It was…

Why SMART Objectives Aren’t SMART At All

I’m sure we have all had to make SMART objectives in the past. Either at school or at work, or even for our personal lives. We are taught from a young age that objectives must be SMART. The reasons for this sort of make sense, but all they do is encourage us to be average. Mediocre, even. We are scared to fail, so we make up targets that we are likely to reach. Attainable. So if we work hard and reach them in less time it takes than we thought, what’s the incentive to carry on with that momentum? What’s the point of putting more effort in now when we can wait until next month or quarter or year when it will count towards the next target? I once worked with a guy who was set Attainable targets. He was a trader, and he was tasked with making X…

Revealing what the body language means around the Board Table

One of the most effective ways to make sure your meeting is productive is to know how everyone in the room feels about being there. With that information, you can learn who to directly engage with, or even think about wrapping up the meeting early. If they are all listening and engaged, great. But if not, you might as well not have the meeting at all. How many times have meetings been progressing where half the people in the room are staring at their phones? Staring at phones is a relatively obvious way of recognising that people aren’t engaged. But what else can you look out for? Body language is a more subtle way of working out how they are feeling. For example, if you are standing having a chat to someone look at where their feet are pointing. If they are pointing towards the door, then it means they…

CEOs: How Do You KNOW Your Employees Are Happy?

You’ve done staff surveys, you have regular meetings with employees to discuss their goals and objectives. You even give them free beer on a Friday. Well done, CEO, give yourself a pat on the back. But what do you know about the frustrations that your employees experience on a day-to-day basis? Do you know that your employees will come to you when they have an issue, confident that you will listen? The chances are this is not the case. They might be trying to resolve the issues by themselves but not getting anywhere. They get more and more frustrated and before you know it they just throw in the towel and resign. I’ve been the frustrated employee. I’ve let little things wind me up so much that I’ve ended up crying on my way home, feeling like a total failure. I was trying to do the right thing. I was trying to…

Traits of a Great Manager

Anyone can be a manager. I’ve seen people given managerial responsibilities by their superiors so that they can tick a box on a promotion form. But it takes a certain type of person to be a Great Manager. I think about all the people I have worked for over the years and think about what made them a good or bad person to work for and with. I use that experience to try and be the best manager that I can be. 1. They Absorb Not just listen to you. They absorb what you have to say. They learn about how you feel about what you are doing, and they understand that your opinion is very relevant. They understand how your role affects them, and also how their own role and the decisions they make affect you. 2. They Could Do Your Job Not replace you, because what would be the…

Something To Shout About

I meet with event planners and venue finders on a regular basis. Over the years they have saved me from the humiliation of hosting a bad event and found me some of the most fabulous venues for which I have, of course, taken all the credit for finding. So when I met Stuart and Ben from Shout About London, I was interested to find out how they might differentiate themselves in a very competitive market. They have taken a tiny portion of the market (namely London) and absorbed information about every bar, restaurant and hotel. They seem to know when new bars are going to open before the owner even does! (Well, almost). And the integrity of these guys was evident when I joined them on their Party Bus Tour of London when I was told by no less than three separate people that these guys have helped them out…

Independent Review of Travo

I started to write this review of TRAVO, and I thought to myself: there’s no value in giving my opinion about something when there’s no context. Yay, I can see how long it’s going to take me to get across town. Yay, I can see that there’s a cheaper hotel around the corner. So what? It would be like when I studied Business Studies at college and had no clue when or where I would ever need to know about ROI. So I thought about how best to review this product, especially for those assistants who are perhaps new to the profession, or new to booking travel. I started thinking about all the times over my career that this could have helped me. So that’s the direction in which my review will be taking; Where In My Career Could TRAVO Have Helped Me? 1. When I spent hours trying to…