Some people exude an air of quiet capability and authority. Sue France is one of them. We met at a recent CIPD Manchester branch event. Sue enjoyed a great career as an employee, rising from a secretary to, eventually, the role of “trainer, coach and Personal Assistant for an international motivational speaker, Bill Docherty MBE of Persuasion”. She was crowned The UK Times Crème/DHL PA of the Year 2006.
Three years later Sue started her own business. She has since delivered training across the world from Bahrain to Perth as well in Europe. Sue has an impressive list of professional qualifications. She is a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, is a Qualified Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development L&D Practitioner and a Certified TetraMap (behavioural Profiling) facilitator among other things.
Sue is also a best-selling author. The third edition of The Definitive Personal Assistant & Secretarial Handbook was released in August. The inclusion of neuroscience in the latest edition fascinated me. Sue kindly gave me some of her time to answer my questions.
What inspired you to include neuroscience in this updated edition of The Definitive Personal Assistant & Secretarial Handbook?
After attending several workshops and seminars on neuroscience with the CIPD and reading many books as well as watching lots of videos, I realised that this knowledge is useful for the assistants I teach and I am always looking for cutting edge information to help Executive Assistants to be spectacular assistants of excellence and also be more of a ‘business partner’. It is amazing how many myths about the brain people still believe and my mission and passion in life is to teach Assistants to be the best they can be. By understanding how the brain works optimally, it gives you an insight into how to maximize your brain for excellence and able to work with others with more understanding of why people behave in the way they do as well as being more self-aware.
What makes the Sue France ‘U-SOFAR’ tool so useful in the secretarial/executive or assistant profession?
“The Assistant of today needs to be multi-skilled, have a strong ability to connect and interact with all types of people at all levels and in all moods, be able to manage multiple activities with each day being different, understand their boss’s weaknesses and strengths and know how to make them shine, be professional at all times especially when under pressure which will be most of the day, align their values, goals and image with that of the company as well as their boss, be discrete and act as a confidante and be the eyes and ears of the boss plus much more. Their roles are massive in term of what they have to know, how they should behave, choosing the right attitude as well as keeping their emotions in check.
When an assistant realizes that brain breaks are a necessity throughout the day in order to maximize the power of their brain and be able to be at their most productive with clarity and brevity, then they can practice the U-SOFAR technique which helps them be more self aware and includes being mindful. It helps them remain stress free, in control, more productive, gives them the ability to focus and be positive and overall a feeling of well-being. It allows them to make sure that their conscious Pre Frontal Cortex part of the brain for logical, rational and decision making skills prevail and stops their subconscious emotional limbic system from taking over so they remain in control and able to think clearly.”
Why should someone want to purchase either of your books?
“Both of my books: The Definitive Personal Assistant & Secretarial Handbook 3rd edition and The Definitive Executive Assistant & Managerial Handbook have been endorsed by the Institute of Administrative Management.
They are written from my own 35 years of being an award winning Assistant as well as an international trainer of assistants. I have worked with thousands of assistants from all over the world and continually learn from them as well as being an active member of the CIPD attending courses and workshops to keep my skills current. I am also an active member of European Management Assistants and understand the role implicitly. I have also had the pleasure of having my own assistant so know the role from both sides.
I run a LinkedIn discussion group “Tips for office professionals worldwide with Sue France Training“ [which has almost 3,000 members] which helps me keep abreast of current situations and challenges and where I often offer advice. I write LinkedIn posts and blogs as well as articles for The Executive Secretary Magazine on which I am an Editorial Board Member.”
Penny Lewis Cert Ed, Principal of Lewis Secretarial College is one of many professionals to provide ringing endorsements of Sue’s books.
“We are very keen to include The Definitive Personal Assistant & Secretarial Handbook 3rd edition and the Executive Assistant & Managerial Handbook as part of the course material for our top PA and EA courses.
What makes these books quite different is the positive messages being sent throughout that directly relate to helping all office professionals develop both themselves and their careers. They are full of useful hints and tips as well as solid deep thinking behind ideas, approaches and concepts such as how to keep on top of the day-to-day workload and how to maintain effective working relationships. As a result, our students have a lot more to offer their employers, are better able to cope with demanding roles and they can enjoy happier and more rewarding careers!”
Thank you Sue.