How to Improve Communication with Your Virtual Assistant
Let’s try to bridge communication gaps with our virtual assistants, shall we?
Communication is essential to any successful relationship, whether personal or professional. It’s even important when outsourcing your projects to Virtual Assistant — that’s what the following article aims to show you.
Virtual Assistants are people just like you and me — they want to get along with their clients too.
But sometimes miscommunication happens, resulting in stress on both ends, which isn’t fun for you or your Virtual Assistant, is it?
What comes around goes around — if the business owner is happy, the customers will be satisfied. And if the Virtual Assistant is happy, the owner will be even more pleased. It’s a win-win situation all around!
Isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
Remember, the more clearly you communicate with them, the better they’ll understand your needs and the more efficiently they will handle the projects.
So let’s make an effort to communicate better with our virtual assistants. It’ll only make the business run more efficiently and build a stronger relationship between the business owner and the Virtual Assistant.
Use a Clear and Concise Tone
When communicating with your Virtual Assistant, always use a clear and concise tone. To put it simply — speak in a language that they will understand.
I’ve seen quite a few business owners who are not really clear in their instructions which can lead to a lot of wasted time on the Virtual Assistant’s part.
It may be difficult to simplify things down, but it’s very important to be clear and concise when giving instructions.
Be sure to use terms that your Virtual Assistant is familiar with and avoid using too much jargon or slang.
Or, if your business has specific terms and jargon that you want your Virtual Assistant to familiarize with, better provide a short training session.
Remember, you’re trying to create a bond here — not create unnecessary tension. If you need to be specific about how something is done, send a quick video of yourself doing it.
This will help your Virtual Assistant understand your instructions better and can be a better reference point for them. The end results you want and the quality of work you expect are dependent on how effectively you communicate your instructions.
Don’t Try to Micromanage
That’s one of the major factors behind poor communication with your Virtual Assistants. You are hiring a Virtual Assistant because you lack time to handle your business yourself. So, if you want to achieve more significant results — stop micromanaging!
Many business owners feel the need to micromanage their Virtual Assistants, but this is a surefire way to get your work done — and your sanity — in jeopardy.
Remember, you hired them for their skills and expertise, so trust them to do the job they were hired to do. They are professionals, and they know what they’re doing — why not let them do it?
When you micromanage your Virtual Assistants, it makes them feel either you don’t trust them or they fail to resonate with your business.
The best way to tackle this hurdle is to provide clear instructions and guidelines at the start, then let them do their job. But if a project demands, you can conduct intentional meetings to discuss the strategy and how your timeline would look like.
I recommend weekly scheduled meetings only. This means business owners can group non-immediate topics weekly into a concise meeting. However, be sure to avoid being a nagging boss.
Communication should be a two-way street, but we just talked about not micromanaging your Virtual Assistants? You don’t need to check in every day, but only when there’s a need. For example, if you’re waiting for an important report to be completed — go ahead and ask how it’s going.
This way, you’re not imposing on them but checking in on their progress. This also allows you to provide feedback — both positive and negative.
Suppose you don’t have anything specific to ask, touch base on how their day is going, and see if they need any help. It’s an effective way of showing you care, and it can help with better communication.
Treat Your Virtual Assistant as Your Friend
Although it’s important to be professional when communicating with your Virtual Assistant, you can also be friendly and approachable. In fact, I would encourage you to be.
Your Virtual Assistant is someone you’ll be working with closely, and they should feel like a part of the team. When your Virtual Assistant feels like they’re part of the team, they’ll be more likely to go above and beyond their duties to help you out.
What commonly happens is: Virtual Assistants are often reluctant to ask questions if they don’t understand certain instructions. They don’t want to look like they can’t handle your work or are not competent enough. This creates barriers in communication and results in sub-par outcomes. You don’t want that, do you?
The best way to overcome this is to be communicative and encouraging. When they make a mistake, don’t berate them — help them understand what they did wrong and how to fix it. Be a team player, and your Virtual Assistant will respond in kind.
Share your thoughts, give them compliments when they have exceeded your expectations and generally be nice to them. This will encourage better communication and a more productive work environment.
Plus, a friendly relationship can be beneficial. For instance, if something comes up suddenly requiring your Virtual Assistant’s help, they will be more inclined to come to your aid. This leads me to my 5th point.
Transparency Is Crucial
If your business is experiencing a sudden spike in orders — send it through to your Virtual Assistant. Don’t wait for them to ask or keep it secret because they might not get back to you in time if they don’t know.
The same thing goes for if you’re running low on cash. Let them know so they can adjust their hours or workload as necessary.
The bottom line is, be transparent with your Virtual Assistant. They are not mind-readers, and they need as much information as possible to do their job well.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
This cannot be stressed enough. An open line of communication is key to a productive work environment. If there are obstacles, better to tell your Virtual Assistant about them now rather than later.
The worst thing you can do is nothing. That will only breed resentment and distrust. Your Virtual Assistant is not a mind-reader, so tell them what’s going on. This way, they can adjust accordingly and work around the problem.
If you’re having issues with your Virtual Assistant, address it right away rather than let it stew. If you are feeling frustrated, talk it out with your Virtual Assistant. This way, they can understand your point of view and maybe adjust their behavior.
Communication has to be two-sided, not one-sided. VAs are people too. Ask them if there is anything going on in their personal life that might be affecting their ability to do their job.
This will show that you care and you are likely to get better output from your Virtual Assistant. Tackling problems is the only way you’ll get anywhere together. As they say, it takes two to tango.
Respect Their Time
Just as you would like to be respected in your time, so do your Virtual Assistants. For instance, if you need something urgently and your Virtual Assistant is unavailable — let them know.
If you are going to be unavailable for an extended period of time, simply let them know. They can ask clarifying questions before or after your busy period.
The same thing goes the other way. Don’t keep them waiting for information or assets they need in order to complete the tasks that you have asked of them. That only frustrates them and further impedes communication.
Respecting your Virtual Assistant’s time is key to maintaining a good relationship with them.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
For instance, I prefer to rely on one communication channel most of the time. This helps to avoid any misunderstandings.
This way, you can send all the necessary information without repeating yourself or getting your Virtual Assistant involved in multiple conversations that accomplish the same thing. Using more than one communication method can be confusing for your Virtual Assistant.
That’s where the communication gap is born. So keep it simple and to one method whenever possible. Businesses usually send an email with all the details, followed up by a phone call to make sure everything is clear. This can be ineffective and time-consuming.
You can use any communication tool that works best for you: Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. Likewise using a project management system like Trello, Asana, or ClickUp to assign and monitor project progress is essential for organized delegation of tasks
It’s the simplest way to provide instructions and keep in touch with your Virtual Assistant. You can easily attach files and send links or pictures to help them understand your instructions better. Plus, it’s a great way to track the progress of your project.
My Virtual Assistants often use a screen recorder like Loom.com to show each other what we mean if typing it out isn’t working. This clearly shows us what the other is communicating and how to quickly proceed or answer questions.
Ready to Put the Principles to Work?
Now that you have a basic idea of the do’s and don’ts of communication, it’s time to put them into practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little and find what works best for you and your Virtual Assistant.
Treat your virtual assistant with the same respect you would treat a co-worker or friend. Be open, communicative, and transparent. Respect their time and use technology to your advantage.
The most important thing is to be open and listen to what your Virtual Assistant has to say. They’re the experts when it comes to navigating channels of communication so always be ready for suggestions.
Planning for your future Virtual Assistant but have more questions about what that would look like? We can help you discover who your Ideal Virtual Assistant would be! Book a call with me to plan it out! Connect.Linqcs.com/VA