Skills Enhancement

Donnelly-Shelagh-2018-Copyright-Shelagh-DonnellyEvent planners: Here’s a sampling of Shelagh’s presentations on skills enhancement, any of which she’ll happy customize for your conference or onsite training needs.

For details on any presentation, just click on the “+” sign alongside the topic title. To collapse a presentation abstract, just click “-“.


If you’ve ever found yourself playing catch up in the office or struggling to get out the door at a reasonable hour, this interactive session will help you work smart and not just hard. You're no doubt highly committed, but are you proactively managing your time and priorities?

Sometimes it's an issue of workload. Perhaps you support multiple committees, supervise challenging colleagues, or find yourself approaching burnout. When you have a lot on your plate, it can be easy to slip into a reactive mode.

Be prepared to assess the difference between being busy and being productive, and to consider strategies that support efficiencies. Shelagh will also discuss how use of an annual calendar and work plan can increase your capacity to be proactive, and also have a positive impact for your colleagues.

  • Learn to manage yourself, not just your time
  • Recognise when you've reached a career plateau, and how to move on
  • Identify organizational practices to increase efficiencies
While recording standards have evolved, one thing hasn't changed: many assistants are uncomfortable with the task, or uncertain about getting minutes right. You want to document information that's relevant for institutional purposes, and meeting participants want concise, accurate records. This means you need to distinguish between what should and shouldn't be recorded.

Shelagh can help you elevate the quality of your minutes as well as your confidence when it comes to this important aspect of the job. Anticipate discussion of purpose, accessibility, context and organizational needs. We’ll also look at the recorder's neutrality, how best to record resolutions, and the art of attribution.

  • Enhance your confidence when it comes to recording meetings
  • Ensure that your recording practices have evolved and meet organizational needs
  • Tips to assess your minutes for neutrality
  • Understand what should and shouldn't be recorded
You may not chair the meetings you record, but you can certainly take the lead when it comes to organizational systems that will benefit you and your colleagues.

A good agenda can impact meeting success, and that includes effective use of participants' time. We’ll focus on agenda design as well as the use of consent agendas and report templates.

Since securing colleagues’ agenda deliverables in a timely manner can sometimes be a challenge, we'll also look at communicating with work plans and calendars to ensure that colleagues know what’s expected of them and when. These tools also help you increase your efficiencies, as they eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to agenda planning and recurring meeting items.

  • Understand how consent agendas work and help make the best use of meeting time
  • Tips for agenda templates that help people better prepare for meetings
  • Encourage efficiencies through the use of briefs/report templates
  • Why a work plan/forward calendar is a win:win for you and your colleagues
  • Tips for developing your own work plan/forward calendar
This interactive session will challenge you to assess the impact your writing skills have on your career prospects. Whether you’re comfortable in your current role or want to enhance prospects for promotion, you’ll benefit by considering what your business writing says about your credibility, currency and professionalism.

Join Shelagh to enhance your ability to write for multiple audiences and demographics, with concise content that’s underpinned by good grammar, proper punctuation and organizational knowledge. Even the best assistants will benefit from revisiting how to structure business communications with clarity and logic. We’ll also focus on your choice of words, and how your writing can either convey or toss away power and influence.

Through this session, you’ll reassess your writing skills from the perspectives of executives and other colleagues as well as clients and recruiters. In the process, you’ll gain insights on how to ensure your written communications yield positive reputational impacts for you and for your employer.

  • Writing with your audiences in mind
  • Be concise: write so that people will read your work
  • How to structure your communications with clarity and logic
  • How to ensure your grammar and language enhance, not diminish, your reputation
The best assistants are recognized as extensions of their executives. They’re well informed and acquit themselves with confidence. Despite this, even C-level assistants sometimes hesitate or experience discomfort when asked to speak in front of a group.

Whether it's a planned presentation or a request to provide a project or event update during a meeting, each such occasion represents an opportunity to enhance your reputation and your capacity to influence decision making. Shelagh studied speech arts and was winning public speaking competitions at the age of 13, and shares the strategies that supported her success in interview situations and as an EA.

Focused preparation goes a long way, and this session will position you to tackle speaking opportunities with greater skill and confidence. You'll come away with Shelagh's step-by-step process to prepare for presentation success.

  • Tips on preparing and polishing a presentation
  • Why flipping your perspective helps you speak more effectively
  • Proactive strategies to ease unwanted nerves
Assistants often excel at advocating for others and taking care of their colleagues’ needs, but may not be quite so comfortable when it comes to advocating or negotiating on their own behalf. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert (reflecting qualities of both introversion and extroversion), you can impact your career satisfaction, performance and progress by thinking like an executive.

Honing these skills can benefit both you and your employer, as you can achieve greater clarity of communications and reduce misunderstandings and frustrations.

If you’re ready to enhance your ability to speak up for yourself and refine your negotiating skills, join Shelagh in this session. Plan to explore why and how self-promotion needn’t be an unwelcome concept. We’ll also look at visibility and recognition, and how to achieve these for all the right reasons.

  • Self-promotion: how to make it work, rather than backfire
  • How to enhance your visibility and recognition of the value you bring to the organisation
  • How to negotiate like an executive

To have Shelagh contact you for a discussion of your needs, click here

Click here if you’d like to see what assistants, conference organizers and clients have to say about the training Shelagh delivers.

Shall we talk? To discuss your plans and needs, drop an email to or click here to send an online request.

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