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PA Matters To U Newsletter - March 2014
March 17, 2014
Dear Reader,


This month many women have actively observed international women’s day by posting and tweeting empowering messages, and networking with their peers. Our March PA Matters To U newsletter promotes PA empowerment and career progression with two articles that discuss how PAs can proactively add value in their role.

In this issue we look at strategies for sourcing cheaper office supplies and how success in this area can progress your career. We also discuss the importance of tackling ineffective office procedures that negatively impact your workload.

The ideal of women’s empowerment would not be complete without presenting opportunities for continuous professional development through executive PA training and mentoring. I have outlined three PA development options below which are currently offered by Personal Assistant Tips.

Marguerita King
Managing Director
Personal Assistant Tips


Reducing departmental costs is an effective way to add value in your PA role. As a PA, adding value should be at the top of your list of strategies for getting yourself noticed and moving forward in your career. Sourcing cheaper stationery is an obvious place to start because in small to medium-sized companies, sourcing good stationery suppliers is usually left to PAs.

To negotiate the best deal, do your research. Look online as well as in your local area to find suppliers that offer a wide variety of stationery and office equipment. You may find that small local suppliers are more accommodating than bigger suppliers, particularly if you take the time to build a good relationship. Small suppliers will often bend over backwards to secure and retain your business so they are keen to provide the best customer service.

In doing your research you will find a significant number of stationery suppliers offering various combinations savings and incentives. Low prices are important but look beyond that. One of the most important terms you can negotiate is free delivery with no minimum order size. If you tend to order small amounts of stationery on a regular basis, you should be able to negotiate free delivery.

A good supplier will offer prompt delivery and a free collect and return service. If the supplier only advertises the recommended retail price, give them a call to negotiate a discount. Ideally the supplier should offer a competitive corporate rate. Before entering into negotiations with suppliers, decide which items of stationery you order on a regular basis and try to negotiate a special deal on those items.

If you are successful at securing a good deal, be sure to mention it to your boss because it highlights your negotiating ability - this is a valuable soft-skill for a PA. It is important that this type of achievement does not go unnoticed by your boss because it provides measurable evidence that you have reduced costs in your organisation, which translates to added value.


To say "PAs are busy" is an understatement. For most PAs, a successful day is about keeping all the balls in the air without dropping any. Although PAs work frantically to manage the onslaught of emails, meeting requests and demanding bosses, they make it look effortless. This is a requirement of the job so the potential for burnout is ever present. Keeping stress at bay is about taking control of your workload so that it does not overwhelm you.

PAs can reduce their workload by organising their day and putting effective systems in place to reduce the amount of time spent on everyday tasks. Apart from having a To-do list and a system for responding to emails, PAs should see if they can tackle procedures and systems that are time-consuming and ineffective. For example, if it takes you and other PAs in your organisation hours to book a flight and hotel because of your company's rules and procedures, that's a pretty good indication that the current system is ineffective. Ineffective systems and procedures should be changed.

You're probably saying "There's nothing I can do about it, that's the way we've always done it". That may be so but there's always something you can do. This type of situation offers an opportunity to present yourself as a problem solver. You may already know that as a PA, you should never approach your boss with a problem unless you have a solution or have asked someone to look into finding a solution. Otherwise, you risk adding to your boss's problems and stress levels.

If you want to change an ineffective travel booking procedure, for example, the best approach would be to research travel management companies. Perhaps you could ask other PAs in your organisation how long it takes them on average to book flights, hotels, etc. Then compile some statistics for management that show how many man/hours are wasted every year.

You could use social media to ask your peers for their thoughts on the matter and to ask them to recommend good cost-effective travel management companies. With this information in hand, you can put together a business case that can be presented to your boss and management. Compiling this information will take time out of your busy day but it pays to look ahead at the long term benefits of your initiative.

I used travel management as an example but you could substitute travel management for any ineffective system, such as a malfunctioning document management system or a time-consuming meeting room booking system - the list is endless. The important thing is to find a way to stop wasting valuable time during the day, while securing the resources necessary to reduce work overload.

This is another example of adding value to your role because you will positively impact the efficiency of other PAs in your organisation, which reduces costs to your organisation. This will ultimately highlight your leadership skills and commitment to organisational excellence.


Tues 29th & Wed 30th April 2014
Rydges Kensington Hotel, Kensington, London, England

The next Advanced Executive PA Masterclass is fast approaching. This is an excellent course for Executive Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Senior Administrators. Learn practical strategies and soft-skills that are essential for the professional development of a world-class PA. Book your place now for the next course which will take place on Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th April 2014 in central London, England.

What Others Have Said About the PA Masterclass
“For the PAs who think they know it all, think again! Would highly recommend all Executive PAs attend this masterclass. You'll come away with valuable tips and knowledge."
Julie, EA to President, Alstom Renewable Power, Paris

“An extremely good course for senior PAs, with good practical exercises, which were well delivered."
Corinne, Marks and Spencer, London

“Anyone thinking of doing this course should definitely go ahead and book! Marguerita is the fountain of knowledge and really knows how to get the best out of you! Very useful course content that I will carry with me throughout my career."
Project Manager, Leeds, England

More 2014 Course Dates
Thurs 19th & Fri 20th June
Thurs 11th & Fri 12th September
Thurs 20th & Fri 21st November

Visit our website to review the full course outline and download a brochure:

Tuesday 20 May 2014
Rydges Kensington Hotel, Kensington, London, England

This PA refresher course is for PAs who have not attended a PA training course for a while or have picked up their PA skills along the way and would like to fill in the gaps in their knowledge to optimise their skills. This course is taught at intermediate level. It also introduces some advanced-level themes through practical case studies. You will learn the latest PA best practice in the following subjects.

This Course Covers:

- Working productively with management

- An in-depth look at the email & diary management process

- Comprehensive meeting planning techniques

- Tips for taking actions points at meetings

- Practical suggestions for producing well written minutes

- Strategies for time managing & prioritising your workload

- Going the extra mile when planning executive travel

- Practical business writing skills

What Others Have Said About the PA Duties Course
"Extremely useful course which has provided a high level of information which I could use as a launching pad in my career. The information was so poignant and will enhance me as an individual."

"Very pleased with the course and new tips/thinking outside the box."

"Very informative information on PA duties and detailed lists of ways to progress myself and improve my skills."

More 2014 Course Dates
Friday 26 September
Tuesday 2 December

Visit our website to review the full course outline and download a brochure:

PA MENTORING OPTIONS - Tailor-made solutions for developing your PA skills

PA mentoring is an excellent choice for PAs who would like to develop specific aspects of their PA skills-set. We offer a number of PA mentoring programmes to suit every pocket and experience level.

What Others Have Said About our PA Mentoring Programmes

"My coaching session with Marguerita has changed the way I approach my work. She has given me some excellent tips on time management, managing working relationships and making the most of my role. I came away from the session with new-found enthusiasm and an eagerness to put into practice the advice she shared with me."
Anya, Senior Administrator, London

"...I have to say since the moment I got in touch with Marguerita she was very helpful. A plan was put together and the months mentoring support started in November. I found the action plan created for me a great benchmark to help me be more successful in my role and it was invaluable to have an outside, independent person who understood the pressures and work required from the role..."
Dawn, EA, Fujitsu, Ireland

Visit our website for more details and to download a brochure:

We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you have any questions about our services please contact Marguerita King on +44 (0)845 862 2687 or at the email address provided below.

Marguerita King,

Managing Director,

Personal Assistant Tips,

Suite 16413, 145-157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PW,

Tel: +44 (0)845 862 2687,

Mobile: +44 (0)7771 648521,

Fax: +44 (0)207 183 9899,




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