The key to any relationship, business or otherwise, is communication. This is especially true when you hire a virtual assistant. How well you communicate with your VA, assign tasks and get feedback is key to making this process work for you. Whether you’re a large corporation or solopreneur, your Virtual Assistant is like any other employee and the better you communicate with and provide proper expectations, the better their job satisfaction & results will be.
Before we start on how to achieve 21st century communication with your virtual assistant lets look at how you find the perfect VA for your tasks you need done. One of the first things is to do is make a list of all of the daily tasks that you are currently doing within your business and then remove the tasks that only you can do, all of the remaining tasks you can delegate.
FINDING THE RIGHT VIRTUAL ASSISTANT IS THE KEY TO GOOD COMMUNICATION
Now you have the list the skills that you will need your virtual assistant to do you may think you need more than one VA, but chances are Stafftronix can find a virtual assistant with all the skills needed to accomplish your goals. A few of the keys you will be looking for in your perfect VA are:
- Someone that is fairly technical
- Has video editing experience
- Content writing
- Social media skills
- Basic WordPress & SEO skills
- EXCELLENT written & verbal English skills
It’s unreasonable to think that the one virtual assistant would have all of these skills they may have one or two but the only way to see if they can complete their task is always to test them. Have them do a short test with a time frame to have this back to you.
Tips to create excellent communication with your virtual assistant.
DM’s – Chances are you’re already utilizing some form of instant or direct messaging. Whether you prefer Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber or another platform, bring your VA into this world. As the word suggests, this is the most direct or instant way to communicate.
DAILY CHAT – Whether its at the start or end of your work day, make it a habit to touch base with your virtual assistant daily. Even if this seems redundant the daily touch will keep you two on the same page. Savvy business owners know that keeping in daily contact with your employees is the key to successful leadership.
SAY IT – While all the latest tech tools for transferring data & ideas are great, go old school as much as possible and talk to each other! As human beings we form bonds in a number of ways, and hearing each other’s voice is important in developing trust & closeness. Even if you’re using an electronic app for the purposes of calling one another, try to make it a point to hear each other’s voice as much as possible. This is particularly important if you have to coach or reproach your virtual assistant, as constructive criticism is better received when tones of encouragement can be added rather than a dry email or DM.
SET EXPECTATIONS EARLY ON – When you first hire your Virtual Assistant, be direct in terms of what you expect of them. Let them know what is acceptable and what is not. Some of our clients make the mistake of “warming” into the relationship before doing this and that can be a huge mistake. We are much less likely to take matters personal in the beginning of a business relationship and setting proper expectations upon hire is the best possible course.
FIND A PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOL – This can be beneficial beyond your use of a virtual assistant but relatively inexpensive tools like Asana, TeamWork & others can help organize your workload and the tasks you delegate to your VA.
BULLET POINTS ARE EVERYONE’S FRIEND – When the need arises to delegate tasks via email, whenever possible deliver your instructions in a clear & concise fashion. You’ll find your Virtual Assistant is very process driven & trained to follow instructions so if you’re ambiguous don’t be surprised if the results are not what you expect. If you have a number of tasks keep the tasks to sharp, succinct and dot point works best in step order so the tasks flows best.
VIDEO NOTES – Just as voice communication is important, its also beneficial to see one another. Your daily/weekly coordination chats can be done just as easily on video chat as they can voice, but also consider utilizing Jing, Snagit or other software that can either record a 5 minute video where you can talk and show the virtual assistant where to find the information for the task or screen-share to enhance training. These tools also have screen capture that allows you to take a photo of the screen and then circle or use arrows to point to what you need to happen.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY – Early on in the relationship, when a task comes back to you please check it thoroughly and give it back to the VA for corrections and or comments. Don’t shy away from being constructively critical, but don’t forget to give due praise for a job well done or when your VA exceeds expectations. We all want to be part of something greater than ourselves, this is the foundation successful companies have established in their workplace culture. So too should you understand that your virtual assistant likely see’s their role as an extension of themselves. Your success becomes their success (and job security) so bringing balance to your assessment of their performance is important.
- On a Sunday I do my to do list for the tasks that need to be done by the following week. This means that all the work will be given for the week to the VA.
- Keep the work flow to manageable and easy to follow steps
- This will cut down on the number of emails. If your inbox is anything like mine, you’ll do whatever you can to reduce the inbound traffic. Even better, have your Virtual Assistant manage it for you.
In the 21st century, we have nearly unlimited technological tools from which to communicate with one another but its important to remember that we are fundamentally the same creatures as our hunting & gathering ancestors. By all means use the wonderful tools at your disposal but remember the human aspect when developing your relationship with your Virtual Assistant. By establishing clear, concise & consistent communication with your virtual assistant you will begin to develop a winning “corporate culture” even if its just you & your VA.
Paul M Winters
CEO & Co-Founder
Stafftronix Virtual Assistants