It's funny. Those who never wrote a speech or ghostwrote an opinion-editorial for an executive have to be warned by career counselors to treat the executive assistant well. Some of those applying for jobs or favors had assumed that they should save the civility and adequate degree of fawning for the actual bigwig.
From the get-go we in executive communications understood the power of executive assistants. Of course, they have been the gatekeepers. They can deny access to us to interview executives about what they want to talk about. Left out in the cold we scramble to put together the whatevers without the resource. The odds are that we will fail. Executive asistants know that. They probably planned that.
But a more important role they have in our success or failure is giving us early warning of the executive moods. "She's just received bad news about her mother." Therefore, when we go into the C-suite to interview, we play it by ear what to say and not to say. We show a bit of our human side if the leader wants to share. We make our business short.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL digs into the world of the executive assistant. Here you can read that analysis.