Get the Most from Your Virtual Assistant

May 23rd, 2014 by Jason Hartman | 2 Comments »

JS0509For the busy or mobile (or both!) businessperson or traveler, a virtual assistant can seem like the perfect solution. Based throughout the world, virtual assistants work from their home countries to make your life easier. For people like Jason Hartman who managing multiple brands, have a flourishing personal life, and own income property, a virtual assistant is a good tool.

But communicating with virtual assistants can be a little bit tricky. Knowing how to get the result you want quickly is crucial—if you’re exchanging a ton of emails, the task is probably better done yourself. To get everything you want out of your virtual assistant, follow these tips.

Make your goal to send one email and be done with it. If you’re trying to make dinner reservations, give the location where you’d prefer, your budget, any food allergies, etc. Be as specific as possible. It’s better to spend a few extra minutes crafting a good email then to waste time responding a ton of emails later one.

If you’re looking for a doctor and want your virtual assistant to set up an appointment, you might include what kind of appointment, where to look, if you’d like them to look up performance reviews before choosing a place, what medical insurance you have and instructions on how to see if the chosen provider accepts it, times and dates you are available, zip codes where you’re available to go. Extremely specific, but ultimately time-saving.

Begin with a specific request so there is little room for confusion, give step by step instructions, and provide all relevant information, just in case.

If you’d like your virtual assistant to do something slightly more abstract, you’ll want to follow a similar set of rules. If you’d like them to compare a few things, you might ask them to create a table with the variables outlined. You might give a deadline or an approximate amount of time this should take. You can ask the virtual assistant to check in to report progress as well. Ask for what you really want.

If you’re planning travel, you’ll need to focus on being very detail oriented and combining the tactics used above. You probably want to compare travel options based on variables and your schedule. Include the time you absolutely have to come and go, the amount of money you’re willing to spend, specific things you want (no layovers, a direct flight, first class) in your flight. You can ask that car travel time be factored in and rank the most important factors for flying to give you a clear view of your options.

Your virtual assistant should keep record of your preferences, making everything more efficient down the road. If you still aren’t getting what you want, take a close look at the emails you’re sending and make a plan for going forward. Be specific about what it is you expect. Chances are, your virtual assistant is trying their best—and your new, better emails will make both of your lives easier.

(photo credit: matteopenzo via photopin cc)

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