The Influence of Communication Equipment on the Efficiency of the Secretary

The Influence of Communication Equipment on the Efficiency of the Secretary

In this chapter, attempts have been made to review certain relevant texts, Journals, magazines, seminar handouts etc with a view to identifying the occupational challenges facing secretaries in the Enugu state civil service. The review was organized under the following  headings:

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  • Personal Qualities of a secretary
  • Business attributes of a secretary
  • Duties of a secretary
  • Job commitment of a secretary
  • Different kinds of secretaries
  • Insight on job challenges of secretary

According to Okafor (1987) the qualities of a good secretary are as follows:

The secretary is the public relations officer of any organization. Her attitude, manner of approach, and communication ability tends to affect the over all image of the organization. She is seen as the reflecting glass” of the organization.

A good secretary must there fore be friendly and establish a good working relationship with other offices, other employees, other organization and their staff as well. She should there fore be tactful, diplomatic and loyal. These are absolutely essential because she must always remember that she represents the company and her employer at what ever level of contact, courtesy is required at all times.

A secretary must be a good listener and to be able to communicate clearly. She must therefore develop good communication skills.

She must be initiative and knowing when to use it. A good secretary often deals with confidential and personal matters. She should never discuss these. A matured, well balanced secretary need not jeopardize her organization activity by confidential things. She should look neat and simple all the time. Her desk must be neat always because it is said that neatness is the next to godliness.

Secretaries must be flexible by native she should be up and doing when delegating her job and not to be dull in her job. She should be a self confident person, and not be depending on anybody. She must adopt to  any environment she finds herself.

She should be able to feel comfortable in any environment  she finds herself in.

A secretary should have a good sense of humour in the sense that she should always be in a good mood so that she can attend politely to her visitors. Also she must have a pleasant disposition and be a self starter.


For the secretary to function effectively, she must possess the following business attributes. she must have professional skills like a good speed in typewriting (50-10pm) and  shorthand (120 10pm) she  must be able to handle basic office equipment and machines.

She must have a good business knowledge of finance, marketing, insurance, psychology, sociology, economics office organization and admisin as well as law and accouting.

General  education for better under standing of her environment. A good secretary must be punctual in her job and always coming at work early. ‘

A good telephone personality she should know how to operate a telephone. She should be accurate and thoroughness. She must be accurate all times. Also she must have the ability to see a job through with out constant reminder or consultation and be able to challenging situation


Chief Odenigbo in his paper presented at the (NASPSSON) workshop and Exhibition “Enugu is “ stated the duties and job commitment of a secretary as follows:


Mails: A large organization with have it’s own mail room and mail clerk whose sole job will be attending to mails that come into and go out from the organization. In such an organization the secretary  will be concerned with departmental mails. However, in small firms, the secretary will have to see to the proper routine of mails to and from various department and person with in the organization.

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DOCUMENT: Though a large organization may employ one or more filling clerks, the secretary will still be expected to keep personal files for her boss. In small firms the task of filling correspondence rest solely on the secretary. She also arranges files and various information into appropriate headings.


TRANSCRIBING: Dictated materials into available documents, letters memos, minutes of meeting are normally taken down in shorthand by complete secretaries who transcribe them into mailable or clean copies on the typewriter.

ANSWERING THE PHONE: The secretary usually takes all incoming calls for his boss. She deals with routine Enquirer and acts as a filter for other calls allowing his boss to receive important calls only.

DEALING WITH VISITORS: In a small office the secretary will also be the receptionist and the telephone operate as well. It is the duty of the secretary

To decide who should see the boss. Whether the boss is  in a meeting away on a business trip or simply does not want to see the caller she must make suitable excesses and ask the caller to make another appointment.

KEEPING A DESK DIARY BOTH FOR HER SELF AND HIS BOSS: The secretary records all appointment in the appointment dairy. Each day, she makes sure that the boss is aware of all appointment for that day. She also keeps a notepad for phone calls that his boss may have missed.


It is the duty of the secretary to make out an itinerary for his boss including venues for has to book hotels arrange for trains and planes tickets, hire cars or taxis organize foreign currency and traveler cheque. The secretary makes sure that the executives passport is in order and that his insurance and vaccination certificates are current.


It is the duty of secretary to arrange for meeting the accurate minutes of meetings and type them out neatly


It is normal for secretaries to have some junior staff under their Effective supervision of these staff is necessary for efficient performance of the secretarial staff.


The Secretary should not only familiarize herself with her own duties the responsibilities of his immediate boss, but also with the activities of the whole organization and its subsidiary. She should know where to go for information  concerning any activities of the organization. The secretary also operates her employers petty cash and bank transactions. She ensures that the office is well provided with stationary and receives the executive of routine jobs where necessary. We see the secretary as one  who assists the executives in the performance  of her duties. The assistance is given in many ways for example reminding him of his duties there by making the   work easier for him. A secretary must possess mastery of office skill such as typewriting, shorthand, office practice and manipulation of various office machines.



A secretary seem to be more committed in doing her duties as she takes her time in dealing with her workload. She is never tired of her job and because of her subtle manner attend better visitors. A secretary is very courteous of how they interact in the phone. They are always polite and cheerful in the phone. A secretary relates to the public in a more comfortable way.

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Okeke (1994) classified secretaries  according to function as:


The personal as the “she implies works under only boss. She is that top flight secretary that act as the executives other self. She works with little supervision, takes decision and can effectively represent his boss. The  personal secretary have some junior secretaries and assistants under her. She is a top management person who is knowledgeable in legal and accounting matter, she interprets the legal complication of certain organization activities. He does not necessarily need training in shorthand and typewriting. She keeps the register of shareholders and other statutory books. She is in fact the chief administrative officer of the organization.


She is an aide to an executive. Her duty is of a general nature and may include determining who should see the matter supervision of secretarial staff etc. secretaries are found  in every type of organizations both in profit making organizations. And Okafor (1989) in his book secretarial and actions  among secretaries are as follows:

FARM SECRETARIES:       modern farming is very much a  business and the secretary help the farmer to cop with the  vast amount of paper work that this.

Apart from the basic secretarial skills, training is given in farm accounts and records, animal husbandry, farm machinery and other relevant background subjects. The farm secretary not only needs to be efficient in her job but also self confident and good as working on her own as the farmer is likely to be too busy or unknowledgeable to office her much assistance in puper work.


(Linguist):   The Bi- Lingual secretary is a secretary that has sound and academic knowledge of two different Languages while the Tri- Lingual secretary is a secretary that has three or more languages.

A part from the basic secretarial skills, a or trilingual is expected to know two or more different language and how many language the secretary uses depends on the job. At times he acts as an interpreter for foreign  translated outgoing and incoming mails from foreign countries make phone calls, read and interpreter foreign journals and newspaper for his boss.

THE MEDICAL SECRETARY: Secretary who have interest to work in medical field will find oportunities with general practitioners specialist and consultants in hospitals and in public health services wherever she works, the secretary will be familiar with the organization of the various health authorities. The secretary must be trained in medical stenographic and other first aid relevant subjects.

THE SCHOOL SECRETARY: All schools and colleges employ secretaries who will be taking care of all paper works. She will frequently have contact with teachers, pupils and parents. It is therefore a job demanding fact and discretion as well as the ability to cope systematically with small children and adults at any time.

THE LEGAL SECRTARY:  The legal secretary is employed in law office. The work is obviously highly confidential so an employer has to be confident that the secretary is entirely reliable and trustworthy before employing him.

The secretary has to learn how to set out legal document on how use legal terminology indcumentary cases.

THE COURT RESPORTER: Experienced secretary and shorthand typist who are able to combine high speeds in shorthand with some knowledge of legal work and court procedures may find an interesting and rewording cares in court reporting.

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Another aspect that researcher wants to look at the challenges of secretaries in the offices. Problems that secretaries encounter in the offices in the course of discharging her duties are rooted in the such concept of secretaries profession as course for drop out and that people that one is disturbed of the funny way Government treats practitioners of the secretarial profession.

Government is finding it difficult to see practitioners of the secretarial profession as professionals. The treatment can only be linked to a scene of the NTA Benin programme of “Hotel Dejordan” a man calling his wife hunch back in the day and sweetheart at night. We  have got what it takes to be professional in terms of educational and professional training. The continued poor treatment of our secretaries in offices is not only inhuman but also un called for. The finding is that secretaries are let down in the organizational set up. Such treatment has continued to be a treat to us as a profession without a general.

Secretaries encounter some challenges in the course of discharging their duties and it was agreed by medical experts that most secretaries develop some sickness like bed eyesight’s, inflammations of the lower abdomen abelominal pain, stiff necks, hyperternsions etc. Because most secretaries make use of computer with video terminals resulted them to have bad eyesight’s.  this was reported according to findings in the united states of America. Most secretaries that use this equipment are suffering from eye strain chilling of vision, changes in colour perceptions and neck pains cataracts, stomachaches and high level of psychological stress.

Secretaries keep late nights and this is misconstrued to mean the they are having illicit affairs outside their husband as a result of keeping late nights at home as a result of their work. Also, it is believed that secretaries have illicit affairs with their boss, which causes a problem to them with the other staff.

Secretaries are been overloaded and as a result of his they fall out often with their boss. Some secretaries forgetful and can hardly supply information as when needed. Most secretaries are not well motivated. Their salaries are not commiserate with their job, rather the creelif for work well done is transferred to their boss alone.

Finally one can say that recognition, better remuneration better understanding and c0-operation are the most important thing one needs  to be motivated in her job.

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