Team Building should have a Business Purpose

Team building exercises at the beginning of meetings and training sessions or at retreats can give employees the shot in the arm they need to feel rejuvenated about their organization, their fellow employees and the work they do. Not to be overestimated however, ice breakers and team building cannot be long term solutions to an organization’s problems.

Avoid team building sessions that have a glaring disconnect from the reality of the company and it’s employees. Honesty in the way these sessions are dealt with will go a long way to how relevant they are deemed by those participating.

Don’t lose productive hours at the cooler with employees complaining about the irrelevance of the team building activities. Don’t invest time, energy and money into team building for team building sake.

Use team building sessions to reinforce what is positive and healthy about your culture and your company’s stated vision and mission. Encourage employees to share motivational stories and philosophies that align with that vision and mission.


In Honour of the Ever Evolving Administrative Professional

TORONTO, ON, June 13, 2012 – Food, fashion and fascinators were in abundant supply at the Rostie Group’s Second Annual High Tea celebration held on Thursday, June 7 at the meeting and office space provider’s 20 Bay Street WaterPark Place location in Toronto’s thriving south core. The High Tea, which was originally held during Administrative Professionals week in April last year, is an appreciation event in honour of the city’s hardworking executive assistants and admin professionals. Read more

Canadian Art Fans in for a Treat at High Tea

An original work of Canadian artist, Audrey Garwood one of the country’s very finest of landscape painters will be part of a collection being auctioned for charity at the Rostie Group’s second annual High Tea on June 7. Curating the auction will be Colette French, Director of Cooper’s Fine Art Gallery, who initially exhibited Garwood’s paintings at Painted City Gallery and currently represents the artist’s estate.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Association of Administrative Assistants (AAA) and to ‘The Freedom Walk – Journey for Justice’ which hopes to educate Canadians on the impact on victims of crime, abuse and bullying. The Rostie Group’s second annual High Tea is an appreciation event for Administrative Professionals and Executive Assistants from Toronto. Patrons can expect free massages, live music, a fashion show, prizes and much more according to organizers.

French, whose own successful painting career included shows at the Equinox Gallery in Vancouver and the Nancy Pool Studio in Toronto, said she was “delighted to offer an original work of art created by Garwood for the upcoming Charity Auction” at the High Tea which will run from 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. French will be on hand to speak briefly about the artist’s exceptional work, as well as answer questions about collecting and displaying art in personal and professional places.

Garwood was a member and exhibitor with the Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy and Women’s Caucus of the Arts and has successfully presented multiple one-woman shows. She was a member of the generation that was deeply inspired by the famous Canadian Group of Seven, as is evident in her stunning vibrant landscapes.
In a career that spanned five decades, Garwood received many awards for her artistic accomplishments. The honours bestowed upon her were significant: the Sterling Trust Award for Canadian painters; the Canadian Society of Printmakers Print Award; the San Francisco Art Festival’s Purchase award. She was also the youngest person and first woman to ever win the Forester Award.
Her work is now recognized by serious collectors and is represented in both private and public collections all across Canada as well as internationally.
Most recently Garwood’s work has been displayed at Coopers Fine Art Gallery, located at 111 Bathurst Street in Toronto. A new exhibition of Garwood’s paintings and prints is scheduled to open next month on Thursday, June 21.

About the Rostie Group: The Rostie Group has for the past 20 years provided commercial meeting, event, office and virtual space in Ontario. The company is known for its flexible service, wide range of amenities, competitive prices and great view of Toronto’s vibrant south core.

Colette French

Admin Professionals Do More Than Book Meeting Rooms

Even if you have never given it much thought before, it’s easy to appreciate the sheer number of industries supported by admin professionals and how pervasive the role is in terms of keeping CEOs and managers on the right track.

Just how much has the profession evolved?

In early human history, great leaders were traditionally accompanied by advisers or scribes  who were also of critical importance because of their role in capturing important information. As gender roles evolved the once male-dominated scribe/confidant became the more familiar personal or private secretary.

As the role of secretaries expanded and more women demanded shorthand skills in particular, more schools opened up and associations like the Canadian National Secretaries Association was formed (in 1951).

Today many admin professionals are committed more than ever to improving in their field as well as wear many hats and carry out distinctive tasks on a daily basis. Today’s administrative professional does more than book meeting rooms but must understand software for word processing, presentations and spread sheets inside and out and be able to fix copiers and fix fax machines in stride. In many cases, the AA is the glue that binds it all together and their jobs can serve as launch pads to managerial positions.

Admin professionals are constantly directing the flow of never-ending office bustle that ensures they quickly become comfortable balancing numerous tasks simultaneously. Above average people skills are either brought to the table to be begin with or developed out of necessity in this profession.

AAs need to not only communicate with customers and vendors, but also with executives and managers. Being an AA means you are most likely to have a good idea of what’s going on because you are deeply involved in so many different things. AAs often know more about what’s going on in the organization and therefore it’s important that they can speak to these things that are ongoing in the environment when the job requires them to.

How to Make an Effective Presentation in the Meeting Room

Whatever your philosophy is on making presentations in the meeting room there are some basic tenets that prevail. Here are Five critical points to observe when preparing a presentation.

  1. Research – Conduct the necessary research so that your presentation ideas are well adapted to your audience’s technical level and needs. Connect your presentation objective/message/idea to the interests of your audience. If possible, when preparing your presentation, gather info on the needs, age, educational background, language, and culture of the target audience. Even on the day of the presentation the audience’s body language will give cues that may require the you to adapt your presentation style.
  2. Compact – A good presentation should be focused and in iterative. There should be a preview, an ‘in-view’ (the actual presentation) and a review so that ‘the BIG idea’ of the presentation is communicated effectively.
  3. Engage – Use eye contact with your audience, face them squarely and smile. Your facial expression and posture will affect your tone of voice and the tone of the presentation. Avoid letting your voice trail off as you transition from slide to slide or segment to segment of your presentation.
  4. Rehearse – Practice the presentation to make sure it flows and to ensure you have allocated time for introductions, questions and answers. This is a good time to make sure that all tools and equipments are working well.
  5. Have Fun – Doable? Yes. Present in a way that communicates your passion for the topic. Energy and enthusiasm is contagious!! See?

Dispel these 6 Meeting Room Myths

1. Everyone has to be present in the meeting room before the session starts

A punctual start should be followed with interactive activities that require those in attendance to think about what they bring to the table in the context of the current meeting agenda. Encouraging groups or pairs to talk about certain concerns will yield dynamic results. Beginning with fruitful activities at the outset that set the tone for the meeting will motivate people to be on time.

2. Memos should be read in the meeting room

New information takes too much time to process for a real decision to be made on it during the meeting. Meetings are for processing and decision making not being tested on new info.


3. Space and arrangement of tables and chairs is of little consequence

The goal of the orientation of the meeting room space should be to provide an environment that is comfortable, determines a focal point in the room, minimizes distraction and increases the ease and likelihood of interaction opportunities. Members should to see each another and the recording sheets on the wall or whiteboard to serve a ‘group memory’.

4. The leader of the meeting is responsible for its success

Willing and collaborative group member participation is critical to a meeting’s success. A leader or facilitator’s input is secondary to group participation.

Groups can maximise their input by

• Discussing only one topic at a time;

• Using one process at a time;

• Balancing participation;

• Eliciting disagreements and respecting other viewpoints; and

• Agreeing on meeting responsibilities and roles.

• Asking “naive” questions like, “How much detail do we need to move this item?” or “Which process are we using now?”

5. Packing as many items  as possible into the agenda will accomplish more

Instead, prior to the meeting, list agenda items and then find alternate ways to address at least half of them. Block enough time for the remaining items for the group to understand, deliberate, and decide.

6. A meeting can be successful without planning

Meeting design is key to effective meetings. Each agenda item and its specific goals, processes and functions should be clear to the group. Set outcomes for each agenda item.


How Does the Mobile Professional or Virtual Office User Leverage the ‘Cloud’?

Has anyone ever tried to explain cloud computing to you? Were you left feeling a little, well… cloudy?

The best example of cloud computing I can think of is an email service like Gmail or Hotmail.There’s nothing to download. All you need is an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and software is all on the cloud (internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider. All you have to do is use the software and enjoy receiving and sending off those emails.

Why buy a cow when you can have the milk for way way less?’ 

 Just to send an email (the milk) why should you have to buy a software /hardware (the cow) ?

The Cloud can make your business more efficient than ever!

Cloud computing allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth. For the mobile professional who probably uses a virtual office service, cloud services provide the perfect solution to ‘storage’ and ‘connectivity’ challenges.

To learn more about cloud services and the options available for your business sign up for our FREE LIVE webinar Powered by Citrix on March 26 by clicking here.