Why Personal and Executive Assistants Need to Nail 5-Minute Meetings and How to Do It

Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 by A Top London PANo comments

Communication matters. The communication between you and your executive really matters—to both of you. But fitting in actual communication, and making it constructive and productive, is not always easy. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could use five-minute meetings once a day to cover pretty much everything, quickly and efficiently?

We hear you saying “easier said than done”! But at our PA recruitment agency we know it’s possible. Here, we share why this is so important, how to get that crucial daily five minutes, and how to make the most of this micro-slice of time.

Why five-minute meetings are great

It’s rare for an executive to work a standard 9–5. But without turning your own schedule into their crazy schedule, you need to be able to align your missions. A briefing will enable the setting of priorities and improve communication overall. It actually helps to reduce the chance of last minute panic and unnecessary miscommunications.

Making your five minutes count

This isn’t much time when taken in isolation, but repeated often, once or twice a day, five minutes are incredibly powerful. You just need to know how to make every second count, and this is how:

  1. Schedule it in: It’s “just” five minutes, but it needs to be religiously scheduled in—ideally first thing in the morning, before your executive gets distracted by everything else they have to do. It should be one of your first tasks of the day, and is potentially the most important. 

  2. Get them onside: You need your executive to value these five minutes as much as you do, so that they can never claim to be too busy. Advocate for why this time will serve them and ensure that you stick to just the five minutes; they will see that just this tiny amount of time is guarded and works in their favour. If they’re reluctant to commit to it daily, get them to do it once a week until they can see the difference it makes. Make it easy for them—in their office whenever possible.

  3. Plan it: This isn’t a casual, meandering chat over a cup of coffee. It needs to be structured to be productive in the time you have. Have a mini-agenda and make notes beforehand so that you know exactly what needs to be discussed.

What to cover in five minutes

It’s remarkable how much you can cover in five minutes if you’re prepared. There will be some variety every day, but make sure you go over:

  1. Diaries and the day ahead: Ensure you’re both fully in the know regarding the day ahead, what’s coming up, and what’s needed for this.

  2. Comms Q&A: Run though any questions you have so you can reply to any outstanding communications. Asking these in one hit is much less irritating for your executive.

  3. Travel: Consider upcoming travel, ensuring you understand the requirements of their schedules, and show the research and planning you’ve done.

  4. Share: You are often the executive’s eyes and ears within the organisation and department. Share what’s going on in the wider picture and keep your executive informed.

  5. Current projects: Update your executive on what you’re working on (this helps your work to be visible if nothing else), and gain directional steer for progressing.

  6. Follow up: If things have been brought up about something else previously, use this time to find out if there have been any developments, or share the developments if they are at your end.

These five-minute meetings can really make a difference to both parties, so try to prioritise them, keep them on track, and use them with confidence.


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