Gatekeeping Strategies for Administrative Assistants

Administrative Assistant Resource
August 13, 2012 — 2,634 views  
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Administrative assistants are often the foundation of an executive’s success. By keeping their cool and maintaining records and the details of an office, department or individual, these professionals are integral in the information flow at a company. As a result, many executive assistants interact with people in a wide variety of moods. While many professionals seek to keep things civil even when they are in a rush, some people lose their cool and are rude. Unfortunately, it is the job of an administrative assistant to remain respectful and handle these situations as best as possible.


Here are three tips on better screening practices for executive assistants:


1. Know your limits. An administrative assistant is often asked to complete a few dozen responsibilities before the clock even reads 10 in the morning. As a result, it is vital for them to understand their own limits. While travel arrangements may need to be completed, the phones answered, mail delivered and informational packets condensed into bullet points, an individual may be unable to complete all of the tasks clamoring to get done.

2. Remain professional when screening calls. Undoubtedly there will be one time that requires an administrative assistant to screen calls coming into the office. A professional will know how to conduct himself or herself during the exchange in order to ensure the person on the line feels as if they are receiving the appropriate amount of attention and being treated with respect. Rude or blatant gatekeeping can often rankle people’s nerves. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a clear, firm and respectful tone. For example, consider using the phrase “May I tell Mrs. Smith who is calling?” instead of “Who is this?” before paging the person in question or taking a message. The response is succinct, polite and provides the information you require.

3. Don’t antagonize. Regardless of how large an organization is, there will be someone upset and vocal about their problems on the phone. While sometimes people are venting to blow off steam and others trying to bully their way into a phone conversation with an executive, it is up to the gatekeeper to keep his or her cool and appropriately handle the situation. Remain calm and listen to the individual, but refrain from patronizing the person.

Administrative Assistant Resource