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08.24.21 The Assist #48

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

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Happy Tuesday TA Fam! We're trying out a different format this week—hope you like it!

Today’s checklist: Get tips for communicating and collaborating with everyone. Basically.



I Like Your (Thinking) Style

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Last week, you identified your thinking style. If you missed last week's issue, pause here for a minute and get your "Thinking Style" quiz results before moving forward.

Great, now that we've done that—are you ready to collaborate seamlessly with people of all styles?

Collaboration style: Analytical

They want the facts. They dig for them. Vagueness and fluff frustrates them like nothing else.

Favorite questions: What does it mean? How do you know?

Associated thinking styles:

  • Producer

  • Coach

  • Expert

  • Optimizer

When collaborating with an analytical colleague…

  • Be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

  • Use numbers and other measurable metrics when possible.

  • Use words like “test,” “measure,” and “verify.”

  • Stay on topic. Tangents will turn them off.

  • Provide agendas for long meetings.

Collaboration style: Intuitive

They love it when people get to the point — the “what” and, most importantly, the “why.”

Favorite questions: So what? Why should we care?

Associated thinking styles:

  • Explorer

  • Energizer

  • Coach

  • Connector

When collaborating with an intuitive colleague…

  • Picture the proverbial inverted funnel. Start with the point and then provide supporting information.

  • Avoid being dismissive. Keep an open mind and ask them to explain any ideas you don’t fully understand.

  • Steer away from lofty and/or empty claims. Big pictures won’t satisfy if they aren’t grounded in real possibility.

  • Discuss projects and ideas in the context of your shared goals.

Collaboration style: Functional

Nothing is real to them until you explain precisely how it’s going to happen. They want to see the plan, the process. To them, ideas live in the nuances of their execution.

Favorite questions: Have you sketched out a project plan? What are the next steps?

Associated thinking styles:

  • Planner

  • Optimizer

  • Expert

  • Producer

When collaborating with a functional colleague…

  • Share all the details. (They’ll probably end up asking about any you leave out.)

  • If you mention follow ups, do them as soon as possible to show you mean business.

  • Be prepared to have them tell you all the logistical nuances you didn’t think about. Embrace it. (They just want to help, and it’s what they’re good at.)

  • Give them plenty of review time. The level of thoroughness they aspire to takes time to pull off.

Collaboration style: Personal

They consider everything in terms of the thoughts and emotions of those around them.

Favorite questions: What do you think about this? How do you feel about this?

Associated thinking styles:

  • Explorer

  • Energizer

  • Connector

  • Coach

When collaborating with a personal colleague…

  • Don’t be short. Building rapport is more important than getting to the point.

  • Try to link ideas and suggestions back to the people affected by them.

  • Make specific, personal small talk. Always ask about their day.

  • Always ask for their opinions; they’ll probably be empathic and uplifting.

  • Emotionally proofread messages intended for them. Look for gray areas that could be negatively construed.



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P.S. Morning Brew is a huge influence on us and helped inspire us to launch The Assist. We highly recommend giving them a read!



Don’t Reduce Me to a Label

Some people will tell you everyone has a dominant communication style: assertive, passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive. TBH, nearly anyone can use any of these styles depending on their mood and the events of their day.

People are not their emails. (Luckily, because haven’t we all sent a few doozies?) Here are some tips for responding to every style of communication no matter who it comes from.

Passive Communication

Recognize: It usually defers to others and includes few if any direct statements related to opinions, ideas, or feelings

Example: Remaining silent and giving cues, such as nodding or breaking eye contact, that invite others to speak first and last.


  • In person: Use friendly facial expressions and body language to encourage, but never pressure, them to speak.

  • Email: End with a clear call to action if you’re asking them to do something or a clear question for them to answer.

  • Phone/Zoom: Allow longer than normal pauses to encourage them to speak up.

  • Direct messaging: Make clear points or they may be uncertain how to respond.

Aggressive Communication

Recognize: It seizes attention through vocal volume or forceful verbiage, projects confidence but may overlook other opinions, and sometimes frames opinions as facts.

Example: “You need to completely redo this presentation.”


  • In person: Maintain your eye contact and vocal volume to establish your presence.

  • Email: Consider their feelings, address them, and state how you intend to move forward.

  • Phone/Zoom: Ask them to clarify or explain their assertions or directives.

  • Direct messaging: If the tone grows argumentative, suggest a future in-person discussion to minimize the risk of misunderstandings and escalations.

Passive-Aggressive Communication

Recognize: It seems to have double meaning, conflicts with the speaker’s body language or facial expression, and may attempt to put the speaker at a distance.

Example: Someone saying they’d be happy to take on the extra work and then rolling their eyes with the clear intent to be seen.


  • In person: Avoid confronting the specific behavior, but ask the person how they’re feeling.

  • Email: Allow at least a few hours for everyone to calm down before responding.

  • Phone/Zoom: Keep them engaged in the conversation by frequently soliciting their opinion.

  • Direct messaging: Reserve your right to remain silent. If you can’t think of a productive response, give yourself enough time to identify one.

Assertive Communication

Recognize: It clearly states opinions and feedback even when it might be unpleasant and usually invites responses and further discussion on all points.

Example: Someone paraphrasing what they just heard from others before calmly stating why they disagree.


  • In person: Share your opinion openly. They want the truth.

  • Email: Be sure to complete the exchange they started in their email.

  • Phone/Zoom: Respond to their points before proposing your own.

  • Direct messaging: Feel free to ask clarifying questions if you’re uncertain what they’re getting at.



High-Caliber EAs Wanted

33Vincent is on the hunt for rockstar Executive Assistants to join their freelance community and support world-changing clients. They offer completely remote, flexible work and a thriving EA community of best practices and resources. They look for:

  • 5+ years experience in executive administrative support or client services: inbox and calendar management, file management, contact management, to-do list management, travel planning & logistics, catering management, etc.

  • Exemplary planning, time management skills & customer service instinct

  • Minimum of 10+ hours/week of availability



Employee Engagement Swipe List

Bringing the fun to work isn't always So we've come up with a quick hitting list you can use to swipe ideas to bring to your office and keep everyone sane happy and engaged.

Start your next meeting with an icebreaker question:

  • What’s something that always confuses you about the work we do here?

  • Would you rather be an Olympic gold medallist or an astronaut?

  • If you were a refrigerator, what item would you hate holding?

  • Which character from a kids’ book or movie reminds you of yourself?

  • If you could go back in time and pay more attention to any class in high school, what would you choose?

Make your team or colleague's day at work:

  • Send them a yummy treat

  • Write a nice handwritten note or card

  • Give them a shoutout on Bonusly

  • Help them with a task

  • Plan a lunch hang

  • Compliment them

  • Remind them to take a break & drink water

Try something different for your next team building event:



In case you missed it...

APC Live Stream & Virtual APC Travel isn’t always an option, so APC has created multiple ways for you to capture the training and connection from their annual, in-person event without having to travel. #TrainingWithoutTravel

Office Otter helps you automate your to-do list by turning your conversations in Slack, email, text and Siri into tasks. helps you keep track of everything your team's working on, communicate in context, and get started in minutes with a super easy set-up. No more endless e-mail threads or long meetings.



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Visit our Treasure Trove page. We'll continuously add resources to this page, so bookmark it for easy access. Access every previous newsletter in our Archives.

Can't wait until next week's The Assist? Here are some recs to tie you over until then:



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