You have too much on your plate – sending invoices, answering the phone, and responding to email inquiries. You consistently take on too much responsibility. Your job leaves you with no time for yourself. It’s time to find another lifestyle. Even if you’re extraordinarily busy, you rarely accomplish something.
The results matter not only for yourself but also for your team and your customers. Seek help. Don’t spend time, energy, and attention on something that can be handled by another person. A virtual assistant (VA) can make you more productive. You can outsource items with which you struggle. If you don’t want to get stuck in the day-to-day operations, click here.
Success isn’t possible without communication and collaboration. Here are several ways to get better at working with virtual assistants.
Provide Clear Instructions
Giving clear instructions to your virtual assistant ensures that they understand perfectly what they need to do and achieve. Mixed messages, assumptions, and numerous possibilities translate into the fact that the message received isn’t the same as the one transmitted. When you do not face to face to deliver the instructions, it’s hard to point things out. It takes a little bit of time upfront, but it’s worthwhile.
A VA isn’t a mind reader, so don’t assume they know what you mean. Make sure your instructions are clear, specific, and concise. If you need to send a couple of briefings to key stakeholders, mention how many stakeholders there are and what briefings are addressed to whom.
Instead of commanding, you should just ask. You’ll be far more successful if you want to highlight what you want to be done. In the workplace, you’re dealing with adults. Tell the virtual assistant why some things are more important than others if you want to achieve your objectives.
If you’ve hired a competent VA, they can figure out their own work priorities. You don’t need to closely observe or control the work of the virtual assistant. You waste a lot of time providing input, not to mention that it limits the VAs freedom of action. The key to success is to trust others and delegate as much as possible.
Make Communication a Top Priority
Tempting as it may be to keep phone calls and emails to a minimum, communication is key to collaborating with a virtual assistant. It’s not about sending your message, but about sending a message that the VA can actually understand. Put simply, you need to elicit a response that is meaningful. The good news is that there are several tools to help establish a good assistant/client relationship, as follows:
- Skype. Skype allows you to make both video and audio calls, so you can have an actual conversation with your virtual assistant. You can transmit important details that shouldn’t be up for interpretation. Skype gives you the option to hold remote meetings and reunions.
- Trello. With Trello, you can make several lists for your projects. Add contact details and other info you might the virtual assistant might need to know. You can train your VA on how to use Trello by having a video call.
- Google Drive. You and your virtual assistant can easily share videos, pictures, checklists, and charts. Drag and drop files directly into your Drive. You can collaborate in real-time – add a comment to any file, including PDFs, and assign tasks or actions.
All that’s required for effective communication is a good Internet connection.
Document All Your Processes
The documentation outlines the necessary steps a project requires. As a result, the virtual assistant will fully understand the process and its particularities. You can use Evernote for business document management. For example, you can keep a shared folder, containing various things like scheduling, travel, setting up blog posts, and so on.
Maximize Evernote’s features, such as pinned notes and tables. The app is flexible, meaning that you can mold it to support whatever you’re trying to manage. It’s like a mini-CRM tool. You can create lists in Google Sheets, which is linked back to Evernote.
When you delegate tasks to your VA, make sure to provide them with the complete procedure. Most importantly, measure the effectiveness of the virtual assistant and their ability to complete the task. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
Since the virtual assistant will do the task over and over, they might find a way to make it more efficient. Be open to suggestions, as you could benefit from the improved process. Process documentation is an ongoing process, so you should allow for edits. Transform the file into something that can be used.
Reward The Skills You Value
Gratitude for a job well done is always welcomed. The virtual assistant should receive praise and recognition, if they deserve it, of course. This has a dramatic impact on engagement. You don’t have to offer monetary incentives to say thank you. A gift card will let the VA know you appreciate their efforts.
Of course, if you work with a virtual assistant from another country, cash can be a powerful motivator. Everyone loves a little bit of extra cash in their pocket. Don’t forget to say thank you every now and then. This simple gesture will increase the VA’s morale.
If you applaud your virtual assistant’s work on social media, they’ll place a higher value on such tasks. When someone is given accolades via Facebook or Twitter, it sparks some motivation. The idea is that you don’t have to send a company email blast to let others know that the VA is doing a great job. Recognize your employees on social media and reach more users at the same time. As a manager, you shouldn’t fail to demonstrate grace. Make the effort to hone your soft skills and you’ll be rewarded with more than a good reputation.
All in all, you should be approachable. If your virtual assistant doesn’t dare to talk to you, there will be lots of miscommunication and guesswork. If you’ve changed direction with your plan, keep them informed. The VA turns down other work opportunities to accommodate your needs.