Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! The three most important words in Virtual

Great communication makes us; bad communication breaks us. This doesn’t mean we all need to be constantly in contact with one another—although that’s quite tempting, given modern technology—it means that when we are in contact with one another, that we need to make that contact count.

Modern technology gives us a wide array of means to use to communicate within both real time (voice, instant messages/sms) and with delays (email, voice mail). Instant communication is very satisfactory since we have answers to our questions instantly (hooray! No waiting!), but it also can be extremely distracting to the person on the receiving end of the query which can drag their productivity down, creating a negative overall impact on customer service when projects become delayed. Instead, there are two main ways to cut down on having your own time squandered, and these are both methods of proactive communication.

The first, and most important, idea is to remember that people can only do what is asked of them. Be specific in the directions you give out, be logical and sequential in your order, and be precise with expectations. Choose to communicate these details by email, and refrain from broad generalizations such as “the project we did before,” “as usual,” or “standard format.” It would be clearer to use an exact file name or point to a direct example with a URL, reference an exact part of a style manual, or denote a particular format (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.). This saves the task delegator time in the long run, because it enables the delegatee to complete the project without boomeranging back to the source with questions to clarify a task. (That said, if you have questions, always ask! But well-written sets of directions won’t cause you to ask questions.)

The second idea is that once you do send out your directions, set a time to briefly use a form of instant communication to walk through the task with your helper. Five to ten minutes of voice time to read over the directions with your VA will give you both the opportunity to communicate about the project up front, making sure that everyone starts off on the same page by sorting out any discrepancies before the work begins.

Posted on August 15th, 2011 by Team CVA

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