How to Communicate Effectively With A Virtual Assistant
Just imagine how working well with your virtual assistant would benefit you: getting more things done, return on outsourcing investing, and more. Doing the contrary, like disregarding all the vital approaches to managing your virtual employees well would definitely spell doom.
Because when you ignore the tell-tale signs of managing your virtual assistant well, there’s definitely some pricey cost to pay: missed targets and costly outsourcing investing. Believe it or not, you’ll feel like you’re cursed. And of all the important approaches outsourcing sages would advise you, here’s something worth making your priority: constant communication.
Before we start, let’s discuss what it takes when starting a virtual relationship
Early steps are often challenging but crucial to an effective relationship. The getting-to-know phase is difficult but all the awkwardness and hesitations must be overcome first to two weeks working together. As is often the case, it is the boss who must step up and make the initial move of easing the air of discomfort.
Since working with your virtual employees is demanding – from ensuring that your communication lines are open all the time to talking constantly with them – we’d like to offer some guidelines on communicating well with your virtual assistant every waking hours of your life.
1. Encourage Open Communication.
The assignments you give to your remote employee could be relationship starter. It is through the tasks you give that regular communication and exchange of views can be performed inevitably.
Start calling her or him over the phone or through Skype or Google Hangout because of its video capabilities. But you can also send text messages either through Viber or Line. Emails and file sharing can also be used to give instructions as well as encourage free exchange of views and opinions on work-related matters.
Do this until both you and your virtual staff are comfortable working with each other. The more comfortable you feel, the more that you could readily suggest time-saving work systems or raise potential issues at hand.
2. Set-up A Regular Meeting Schedule.
Others might find holding a regular meeting unimportant. But considering how an hour or less setting up a regular meeting with your virtual worker every week could help make things done fast, specify deadlines, expectations, articulate your brand story and vision and the likes.
Use your regular weekly or monthly meeting to draw out your team’s strategies, plans, assessment and evaluation on things. This meeting is also a good way to motivate and boost your employee’s morale. You can also use such meeting to orient staff about your core competencies, products and attack on things vital to your growth and success.
Above all, meetings help establish trust between and among your virtual workers and to the leadership. The more that trust is built early on, the more that the staff would deliver their best in the performance of their functions. This could be daily, twice or thrice a week or monthl or depending on your case. An end of the week meeting looks ideal though.
3. Choose the Mode of Communication Wisely.
What kind of communication channel or line you choose when working with your virtual assistant is critical in forging a relationship. No communications, instructions or messages must come vague or unclear when relayed to your staff. No meanings or words must be lost in translation.
Formal or informal? Strike a balance where your approach will thread when communicating with your virtual staff. Being too formal may seem awkward at some point and might be perceived as being too stern or unapproachable. Changing the tone to something more accommodating could prove helpful to allow open communication.
There is no way your virtual staff should feel his ideas or feedback are not being entertained. Make the first effort to make your employee feel comfortable whether in flagging a critical issue or asking a question.
4. Create Shared Systems.
Offline and online tools becoming more and more accessible for personal and enterprise users, make the most out of these shared records when dealing with your virtual staff. Initiate such shared systems once your working relationship starts.
But one thing that’s very important when sharing your vital information to your staff is ensuring trust. Early on both you and your VA must understand what’s at stake when you let your virtual assistant gain access to your Dropbox folder containing your credit card numbers and passwords to just about anything you manage to keep your business running.
You will also need to share your projects list – both old, ongoing and upcoming – with your virtual assistant. Sharing the list would be a very convenient way for both of you to store updates and feeback, as well as priorities and deadlines.
5. Reward Skills.
Whether it’s a specific expression of praise or doling out a gift to a job well done, experts agree that such tokens of appreciation really improve employee productivity and increases loyalty. Laud your virtual assistant for a carefully-worded Facebook fan page status and you’ll see him or her feeling more motivated. In fact, employees often work better when they feel that their work is appreciated.
Remember that communicating constantly with your remote staff enhances your relationship with your virtual assistant. Follow the guidelines above to improve your relationship with your virtual staff and make more things get done.