In this post, we are rounding out the topic of hiring a virtual assistant with the topic of “Mastering Communication.” We’re going to talk about some effective strategies for communicating with your virtual assistant. And I know, I know, I’ve talked about communication in every post. But why is that?
I have found that when something is repeated time after time, it is extremely important. If you are a follower of Christ and you read God’s word, you know that God repeats things time after time, so we know it is important. So, I’m repeating how important communication is when establishing a relationship with your virtual assistant.
I’m going to share six effective ways or strategies, if you will, for effective communication with a virtual assistant. It is critical for a successful working relationship.
Set Clear Expectations
Last week’s post was called “Defining Expectations,” and you will want to go back and read that post. It will help you to have a relationship with your VA that is a win-win for both of you. You’ll be able to meet the deadlines you want and accomplish the objectives you set out to accomplish.
Use Written Communication
Now I know, as I said in other posts, define how you will communicate and how often you will communicate, and I did not say choose more than one. But the truth is, it’s important to write down in print what you’re wanting to communicate with them. Whether you’re on the phone or using a tool like Slack, you always want to have it in writing. A clear record of instructions and expectations. The reason being, this minimizes your misunderstanding and allows both you and your virtual assistant to refer back to these instructions as needed.
So, you can do one of two things. If you often make phone calls to your virtual assistant, you can have them take notes and email you a summary of the notes at the end of the call. You can, and I have clients who like to do this. They like to outline what our call is going to be about, and then they email those notes over to me as the VA, and then I’m able to follow and take notes during the call.
So, even if a phone call is how you like to communicate, it’s always important to follow up with written communication so there is a clear record of instructions and expectations.
Encourage Questions and Feedback
There is nothing worse from the VA perspective than feeling like you can’t ask your client questions or get the feedback that you need. Make it clear to your VA that they can ask questions and seek clarity when needed. And encourage open and transparent communication to avoid misunderstandings.
I can’t tell you how many times I read an email from a client and think to myself, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.” And sometimes it’s just that I need a little clarity, so sometimes I have to ask to hop on a phone call, and I ask you this so I can make sure we are on the same page. I hope my clients appreciate that because it helps to not waste time they paid for but also ensures I am able to understand what they are talking about.
Provide Regular Feedback
Even if they don’t ask for it, it’s important to often provide feedback and encouragement to your virtual assistant. Constructive criticism is okay, but also be sure to highlight the things that they’ve done well and even some areas for improvement.
Positive feedback can boost morale, while constructive feedback can help your assistant grow.
Maintain a shared document that outlines those SOP’s or standard operating procedures that I discussed in a previous post. This is a great tool and reference point for both you and your virtual assistant to make sure there is consistency with the tasks that you do. Especially if you share tasks. So, especially if you both are working on a project, you want to make sure that each time you send your newsletter, it has the same overall look, feel, and design. If you have a SOP for it, you can make sure that you don’t skip any steps and that everything is done properly.
So documenting processes is an integral step in making sure you and your virtual assistant are on the same page.
Cultivate a Personal Connection with Your Virtual Assistant
I’ve been a virtual assistant for a long time, and one of the things I appreciate the most is when a client gets to know a little about me and my family and a little bit about my own life outside of work. That creates a more friendly and productive working relationship.
They’ll ask how my kids are or how my husband is doing. They’ll ask about health and things like that sometimes, especially if I’ve had a cold and they know about that. It’s always important to allow a person to feel seen and heard as an individual, not just someone they have a working relationship with. It helps to build trust, and it helps to open the lines of communication to create that successful working relationship that you want for you and your virtual assistant.
I hope that this was helpful to you. I loved this series because it gave me the opportunity to share with you, from a VA’s perspective, what is important to us when someone is hiring us.
I hope that even if you never work with me as a VA, this has helped you to have a successful working relationship with a VA in the future.
If you are interested in hiring a VA and want to ask yourself some questions to make sure you’re doing it right, go over to my website at alyssaavantandcompany.com and opt in for “The Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant.
If you haven’t joined me in our Facebook group, The Christian Business Advantage Facebook group, it is a great place to connect with other authors, speakers, and coaches.