Have you ever worked with someone who just doesn’t seem to understand communication? Or better yet, how important communication is to be successful? In my 18+ years of working virtually, I have come across this barrier more times than not. Open communication is essential when you’re working with a virtual assistant or virtual team. With the technology available to us today, there really isn’t an excuse for lack of communication; however it does leave the door open for miscommunication…misread or mistyped text messages … sound familiar? I personally have had success and failure as a virtual assistant. But I can tell you my successes are with people who communicated well…the failures were with those who didn’t.
Communication is a commitment you have to make in order to have successful relationships. Anyone who’s been through marriage counseling knows that lack of communication is typically the #1 problem couples face…and business is no different. Communication is key to make any relationship work.
Over the years, I’ve found 8 things you “need to be” to keep the communication lines open:
- Be Clear. I had a teacher in high school who repeated the same phrase at the beginning of each class…”don’t be vague, vague is unclear and unclear is wrong”. Always be clear with your expectations, your capabilities and with the results you’re looking to achieve.
- Be Available. Understanding there are times everyone gets tied up, make sure you’re available at a certain time of day or week to discuss progress or go over questions that arise either via phone or skype. If you have a certain messaging process in place for people to reach you, make sure you’re checking that on a regular basis.
- Be Organized. Once you discuss your expectations and goals and how you will reach them, organize them in a manner so both you and your virtual assistant or virtual team have access at all times to track progress and make adjustments accordingly.
- Be Consistent. Now that you have your time set aside for a daily or weekly meeting, make sure you’re consistent with it.
- Be Responsive. There are times when you need an answer or response…yesterday. When someone is not physically in front of you it’s easy to push things out until you feel you have time to respond. This typically delays a task or project far beyond what it should, instead of taking a few minutes to make a timely response.
- Be Technical. And by that I mean utilize technology. You don’t have to be a guru to understand the basics. If you’re out of the office more than not, make sure your sharing apps are mobile and come with you. If an important email is going unanswered, be sure someone has a way to reach you in a crunch, whether it’s via text message or even a calendar notification. You can also create alerts through your various social media channels.
- Be Heard. If you have a question…ask. If you don’t understand something…ask. The worst thing you can do is “assume” someone knows what you want or what you’re thinking. You know what the word assume stands for…
- Be Committed. Being committed to communication is what will make it work.
Communication isn’t only about talking…an even bigger part is listening. Be a good listener and hear what someone is saying. Communication is a two-way street; to make your virtual relationship successful, be sure to utilize both sides!