Look at your event and determine breaks that you can share among your team. Could an administrative assistant in your office print all your reserved seating cards? Maybe a colleague could assist you with creating your guest packets or setting a table. These little helps can make a big impact on your time.
For larger events, divide and conquer your guest list. Let someone else collect your RSVPs or manage all of your VIP guests (who tend to be the most time consuming). Guest management is important, but so is your time to execute the event.
The Benefits of Student Assistants
By Sarah Settlage
As a student assistant myself, I may be a little biased as to how great we are as a group; however, there are many benefits — both for the assistant and the employer — of hiring a student to help around the office.
Primarily, there is a large convenience factor for the employer. On a college campus, there is no short supply of potential applicants. Hiring a student assistant gives the employer the opportunity to train the student personally. Additionally, the student assistant position is an affordable alternative to another full-time position. Finally, a student assistant brings a young, lively attitude to the office.
For students, the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience while still in school is invaluable; we are eager to learn and mature in the workplace. Personally, I am very excited to be working with experienced professionals and to get a taste of the office atmosphere, and I am sure I am not alone in those sentiments. Also, working on-campus ensures that the employer understands the time commitments of being a full-time student; they will work with individual students on a schedule that is mutually beneficial.
In my opinion, there are two types of students looking for on-campus positions. First, you have the students who are looking to make some extra money while they are still a full-time student, and many positions fit this mold. Other students are looking for a position related to fields they are interested in; they are seeking work experience that will help them in the future.
Personally, as a Georgia Tech student involved in Greek life, my time is limited after classes and sorority meetings, so an off-campus job is not a valid option for me. However, like many other Tech students, I am motivated, hardworking, and interested in being involved in something that would be professionally beneficial. The Special Events and Protocol Student Assistant position allows me to exercise my organizational and creative talents in a professional setting.
When looking to hire, consider which of the two types of students would best fit the position.
Now that I’ve fully sold the benefits of a student assistant in the office, how should one advertise for a student assistant?
On a daily basis, I walk over multitudes of chalk advertisements on the sidewalk, receive dozens of emails, briefly see signs in hallways, or have food and candy handed to me around campus. Obviously, there are many ways to reach potential applicants on campus, but are all these methods effective?
With any form of advertising, people can ignore it or forget about it, but if someone is an interested applicant, he or she will make an effort to follow up. That being said, I think the most effective way to advertise is via word of mouth.
I heard about my current position through a friend via email. I receive multiple emails with job opportunities weekly, and I admittedly typically gloss over them; however, this position interested me, and it stood out.
Emails also are great because, if interested in the subject matter, the recipient can reference the email again and again. Emailing the heads of clubs and organizations so they can pass the information along is extremely effective in reaching a large pool of potential applicants quickly.
Tips for Conducting Effective Meetings
From Books 24x7
Begin with a Positive Message
Regardless of the purpose of a meeting, encourage and uplift your participants by sharing with them what’s going right in the organization. If the point of the meeting is to evaluate an event, let your volunteers and committee know what you think they did well first.
Create an Agenda, Share It, and Stick to It
It’s always useful if participants know the goals of a meeting and, generally, what to expect. While it may be easy to create an agenda, it’s usually much harder to stick to it. Try adding time frames next to your agenda items to stay on track, and focus on the most timely (and time-consuming) action item first. You can always schedule a follow-up meeting, as a last resort.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Ultimately, you have goals in mind for your meeting such as making decisions, assigning tasks, creating an action plan, etc. Keep sharply focused on the meeting’s goals for the duration of the meeting, bringing attendees back to the task at hand if they stray from the meeting’s objectives.
Be a Good Listener
After you’ve set the tone for the meeting and communicated the goals, listen to what others have to say. Let them feel like active participants in the process, but be mindful that you may have to reel in those who try to take center stage for too long or stray off course.
Look for Ways to Avoid In-Person Meetings
Do you really need to meet again, or could a follow-up decision be made via email? Everyone’s time is valuable, so try to avoid convening if doing so is truly unnecessary.
Communicate the Meeting's Results
After a meeting, send minutes to all participants to ensure the meeting’s outcomes are understood and next steps have been clarified. Everyone will then have a record of what was discussed and an idea of what to expect as the team moves forward.
Tips for Implementing New Ideas
As you evaluate your events and implement new ideas, you may want to keep the following tips in mind:
Ensure the Appropriate Players are Involved
Before you decide to make a large change, think of all the people you will impact and who may need to contribute to the decision. If you are making a change that affects students, definitely include a representative from your department or the SGA to serve as the students’ voice.
Develop a Communications Plan
Identify all your target audiences, both primary and secondary, and then when, how, and where you will communicate the change to them. I have found that sometimes it’s necessary to communicate to your key support players first so they will be knowledgeable and able to support you when their bosses or other leaders come to them with questions. Communication may need to be more personal if the change is significant and controversial; face-to-face meetings and/or personal phone calls can make all the difference in these circumstances.
Communicate as Early and as Often as Possible
Although we don’t always think so based on RSVP responses, people do still tend to make plans early; therefore, if your change could impact travel plans or other schedules, it’s best to tell interested parties as early as possible. Also, think of other messages that might conflict with or complement yours and different times during the year that your change could be communicated, reinforced, and best received. Don’t be afraid to let your audiences know of the change via multiple methods and time frames.
Provide Valid Reasons
Be honest and transparent in your communication. The changes you make might be positive and/or inevitable, but they still might be hard for your audience to accept. By being as forthright and truthful as possible, your audiences will respect the way you handled the change, even if they don’t necessarily agree with the outcome.
Consider Providing an Outlet for Others to Voice Their Opinions
Everyone likes to be heard and to know someone cares about what they think. Consider providing a comment form or email where your audiences can provide feedback or suggestions. They may or may not change your opinion, but they will give you food for thought and your audience will appreciate the opportunity to be heard. Try to respond to as many comments as you feel you can that truly warrant a response.