Over the years, we've learned a few things about getting started with a new Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) and the client/VEA relationship as a whole. In this series, we will focus on 5 best practices for onboarding your VEA.
Best Practice # 1 Communication: Set up a weekly check-in time with your Executive Assistant
Make sure the time works for you and keep it consistent. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Communication is the base of your relationship and it always needs to be consistent and concise to maximize your time.
Always set a timeline, this is helpful so that the VEA knows what is a priority. Being clear about timeline expectations ensures that they know what they need to accomplish daily and even over the course of the next few months. This will ensure that they know your priorities.
Tell them your pain points and goals. What keeps you up at night? Maybe they have ideas to help put new processes in place to reach your goals efficiently. Tips for communication
- Make sure the EA knows the “Why” behind what you are trying to accomplish. This allows them to create the ”How.” Giving them a written “Nod” is always helpful as well, especially when they are working on time consuming projects.
- Consistency is great, make it a normal practice.
- Video chats are best, non-verbal communication is lost through email.
Tips for giving feedback
- Be direct.
- Focus on facts, not feelings.
- Focus on the fix.
- Make it a two-way conversation.
- Make it an ongoing process.
“Jane”, the client, gives her VEA 1,500 business cards to enter into an Excel spreadsheet. Jane provided a list of information she would like her VEA to include on the spreadsheet. Certain items like addresses, regional details, and leadership names were included on Jane’s list. Jane didn’t discuss a deadline and only told her VEA to get it back to her when it’s complete. A week later when Jane thinks the VEA should be done, the VEA tells her that only 100 of the cards are completed, and the VEA has already used 8 hours on the project. Jane is upset and questioning why the project is not done? Jane thought the 1500 cards should only take 4 hours to enter.
The Answer: (1) The VEA was doing additional web research on each entry to make sure each detail Jane requested was provided. Being direct and telling the VEA to enter only the data provided, would have resulted in a very different outcome. (2) Jane never discussed a timeline. If a timeline was discussed, there would have been a huge discrepancy in time to complete the project and a very different conversation would have taken place. The VEA would have learned that Jane only wanted what was on the card and would have had an opportunity to level set the true timeline for 1500 cards. Even if the VEA was only taking 60 seconds per card, including reviewing the card format and double checking for accuracy, it would still take 25 hours to enter all the business cards.
As you can see details, timelines, ongoing feedback, and consistency really matter when establishing good communication with a new VEA.
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