HireMyVA Podcast

HireMyVa Podcast 6- I haven’t a clue on how to communicate with a Virtual Assistant

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Dave Braun
00:00:01
Hello everybody! Welcome again to the HireMyVA team and business building podcast, where we are going to help you reclaim your freedom through hiring and thriving with virtual assistants without breaking the bank- YOUR BANK! I’m Dave Braun, and I’m here with my partner and great, great, great friend, Larry Broughton. How are you doing Larry?

Larry Broughton
00:00:20
Awesome. It’s good to see you again, buddy.

Dave Braun
00:00:23
Cool. Let’s get into the topic. Today’s is: I haven’t a clue on how to communicate with the VA.

Larry Broughton
00:00:30
That’s a great question or a statement. I haven’t a clue, but I think what they’re saying is how do I communicate with the VA is really what they’re asking here. And when we were talking about this, when this question came through, you had some great tips on this and as it turns out, these tips are great whether it’s a VA (virtual assistant) or frankly, some of this stuff is even great if with your significant other or somebody at the bank or your banker.

Dave Braun
00:00:56
Exactly!

Larry Broughton
00:00:59
So let’s go and jump into this. What do you what’s what’s your first tip on this, David?

Dave Braun
00:01:03
All right. Folks, we got six of them coming up. So the first tip is make communication capability one of your key hiring or requirements. I mean, I’ve done that and it’s huge when I haven’t it’s been hard. It’s been hard.

Larry Broughton
00:01:19
Yeah. You know what? In our hotel company, during the interview process, we state, here’s the type of communication we expect direct and respectful communication. It’s so important. You can really be super direct with someone, but hurt their feelings. You can be overly respectful with someone and never make the point. And this is not just a country or cultural thing. This is just a human thing.

Dave Braun
00:01:48
Yeah. I mean, you’re right. It’s you know, I think about when my kids were growing up, especially as teenagers, they’re in the thirties now. It’s like, Hey, how was school today? Or how you doing -fine. So, so what are you doing tonight ? -Nothing. How’s your homework going? -Okay.

Larry Broughton
00:02:10
You really need to ask more open-ended questions, probing questions, right? Close ended questions. So those questions that you’re asking, the reason you were getting those well, actually a teenager can see can generally even open-ended questions, they have one word answer

Dave Braun
00:02:29
A simple three-word answer. Don’t bother me now.

Larry Broughton
00:02:34
That’s four Dave

Dave Braun
00:02:36
Oh yeah, it is and I said earlier we have six tips. Do we have six? We’ll end. the at out find

Larry Broughton
00:02:43
We will find out at the end, yeah.

Dave Braun
00:02:45
So, but the thing about this communication is you can actually find it out up front. Like Larry said, it’s a minimal time investment on your part. You know, if you screen folks properly, we teach you how to do it and you can actually get, almost the way there and figuring out if they’re going to communicate well without actually having to talk to them.

Larry Broughton
00:03:05
Yeah, that’s right. I think between the “application or approval” process, and then during the interview process, you’re gonna be able to tell how effectively are there, do they communicate in writing and how do they communicate verbally in person and even over a video, one of the questions that came up, I’m not sure whether you folks have seen it yet or not, but it’s how do I communicate effectively with these folks and one of the tools we give is communicating through video conferencing, and so there will be plenty of opportunities before you actually pull the trigger or make the final decision. We’re going to give you some tips and tools on how to make sure that you are communicating effectively with your VA. If you can’t communicate directly with your VA, you’re not going to have to run your business effectively. And the whole thing is going to be counterproductive to what we’re trying to do here is to help you launch your business, the stratospheric success without breaking the bank so this is so vitally important. So what’s your, what’s the next step there?

Dave Braun
00:04:01
Well, the second tip is to do it often, communicate often. The more that you do the better off you’re going to be. I mean, just think about if you think about I’m over communicating or I’m talking to them too much, that’s probably about right. And you’ve really got to go overboard, especially when it comes to being virtual. Cause it’s just, you almost have to force the issue. Cause it just isn’t quite as natural when you’re separated physically.

Larry Broughton
00:04:28
Yeah. I think that’s a really good tip. And in the, in the hotel company right now, we are recording this during the COVID crisis, the shutdown of the country. And so a lot of our team members are working remotely and we just had this conversation. Some of us have been working with each other for years and years and we had asked each other, are we overly communicating? Are we communicating enough with each other? And so don’t be afraid to ask your team member, your VA is, is this working for you because it’s not working for me or vice versa. So this whole thing with communication, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Cause you’re gonna be able to measure their success and productivity from your standpoint but one of the reasons they may not be productive or as predictive as you’d like, is that they’re not getting the type of communication that works most effectively for them. So yes, we have to communicate, but you have to do it often. And I do like your point there, Dave, is that when it feels like you’re communicating too much, that’s probably about the right amount to tip. great a That’s that.

Dave Braun
00:05:32
Yeah, it absolutely is. All right. So third tip, let’s go into that one. Become good at communicating in multiple ways. So many of us have a favorite where we can do great verbally, but then we don’t do it written very well. And you know I mean, that’s okay. But if you’re a leader of an organization and you’re a leader in your business, if you’re communicating with clients or clients may need you to communicate better in one way or the other, or prefer one way. So you need to be a Jack of all trades master of all of them. When it comes to communicating, you know, through email, you’ve got to record videos, live zooms chats, et cetera. I’ll never forget, oh man, Larry, this is gonna, this cracks me up. I had a boss years ago. I just, I loved him. He was great. He loved me, but you know, and he communicated well verbally, but when he did a performance review and you had to communicate in a written word, the performance review is basically said, Dave is doing a good job. He’s a value to the company. Dave should stay with the company.

Larry Broughton
00:06:43
Lots of warmth and fuzzys in there.

Dave Braun
00:06:45
Oh, I know he was warm and fuzzy verbally, but that’s the point is that you really need to step up your game in all of those areas, especially when it comes, when you’re working with people virtually.

Larry Broughton
00:06:56
Yeah. I just had a conversation with one of our general managers today about this. The written format is that I said, listen, if you’re communicating with someone who’s not been part of the day-to-day communication, when you do communicate with them in writing, you have to take them on the journey. We sometimes forget, oh, that person, this is the first time they’re hearing about this. They weren’t involved in all the nuance and conversations and discussions about it. And so you have to take them some people on the journey. So I always just step back before you hit send, if you’re sending an email or drop them a real letter in the post box, okay, who’s actually reading this. Do they know where I’m coming from? Do they have enough background on it? And as we’ve talked, often things get lost in translation. Nuance is oftentimes a lost at the written word. And so you have to step back and say, if this is the first time I’m hearing this, how am I going to receive it? Anything else on this tip, Dave?

Dave Braun
00:07:54
No, I was going to say you brought us into the fourth tip where you realize emotions don’t get communicated very well in the written word, whether or not it’s instant communication through something like a slack or base camp or an email or et cetera, just emotions aren’t there.

Larry Broughton
00:08:10
That’s right. Yep. Good. What’s tip number five.

Dave Braun
00:08:13
When the back and forth on something becomes too much, you know, you’re chatting away and typing and all that stuff. You need to pick up the phone or do a zoom call or some kind of a virtual call and really start asking the right kind of questions because like we talked about in the previous tip, emotions just aren’t communicated well through the written word. And sometimes it may not even be related to the emotions. It could be that you’re trying to solve an issue or a problem. And by you being able to get on the phone or get on a call and ask a question or have them show you. So this is a really big tip and communication that I don’t even have in here is do a lot more showing and not telling, have them share their screen and walk you through a problem that they’re having. A lot of times, just by walking through the problem via phone or a call is you figure out new experiments. You can figure out new ways to do things. And it it’s just so much quicker than the other way around.

Larry Broughton
00:09:14
Well, again, I think that there’s back and forth going on and clearly something is getting lost in translation. The idea here of hiring a VA is to simplify your life. I know that it’s counterintuitive. I’m hiring someone, I’ve got to manage someone to simplify my life. But the idea is to get you working in your strength. And if the back and forth is good, I’m going to bet dollars to donuts that if you don’t pick up the phone, if you don’t get on a zoom call, the project is going to end up or whatever it is you’re talking about is going to fall short of your expectations. It’s better to invest time and energy now into giving clarity, upfront through a video call, then to keep going back and forth for 15 more emails back and forth. And then the project still falling short. Right? Put a little bit more energy on the front end and you’re going to see the results multiplied and on the backend on this, for sure.

Dave Braun
01:10:12
Absolutely. Can’t agree more with that one. We’ve got one more number six, number six.

Larry Broughton
01:10:19
I think so.

Dave Braun
01:10:20
I think it’s not five a or 5.5. It’s six.

Larry Broughton
01:10:24
We said six. So let’s make it six. All right. Six.

Dave Braun
01:10:27
So number six is give praise and reprimands as much as possible via phone or zoom person. in or

Larry Broughton
01:10:33
Praise and reprimands. I agree.

Dave Braun
01:10:36
Both of them, I mean, praise of course it’s great. You can say thank you or whatever, and you should do that through your email or, texting and all that. That’s, that’s fine. But don’t have that replace the giving of praise in a face-to-face type of conversation. And definitely anytime you do a reprimand or you have to address performance issues, that’s got to be verbal. It’s just got to be.

Larry Broughton
01:11:02
Yeah. I prefer to call it. I know what you’re talking about, but coaching sessions. One of the things we talk about is coach people up or coach them out of the organization. If you are committed to coaching someone up and that is keeping them in the organization, I know you’re talking about reprimands. I miss, I really do prefer to do it over video because you can record it and it’s on file and you can go back and make sure that you’ve actually got a record of this, but when you are coaching up someone, I want us to spend more time on talking about the future. If we do it this way, here’s going to be the benefit for you in the organization going forward and spending most of the time on beating them up on something that they did wrong. That’s just a basic communication thing. And it’s particularly important when there’s different cultures. Even when you’re dealing with people in the Philippines already, culturally, you’re the boss, you’re the one who’s paying them. There’s already going to be some reverence is not the right word. You might have a better word.

Dave Braun
01:12:07
Actually. That’s a great word because they will always, they want to call you Mr. Or Mrs. Or sir, or Madam.

Larry Broughton
01:12:17
And so there’s already going to be a more formal relationship than what we have here in the us. And so if you do, if you are overly, I’m gonna use this word intentionally this time, reprimanding someone, most people don’t work well under that so let’s just be really cautious. This three people, this is just a good lesson in life, right? With dignity, with respect. And whenever you can, smile and be encouraging, inspect what you expect, it’s a great thing to do and any form of of communication. But catch people doing things right. That’s a great thing to do. That’s just a great way to live your life. And give words of encouragement. Praise people often, I’m a big believer of you know, if you can give out a dozen attaboys before you ever have to give out a reprimand or a coaching session, that’s awesome. But don’t be afraid to coach someone up where I think Dave, I think where people get stuck when they are pretty clear when they’re leading people for the first time, they’re afraid to give reprimands or counseling sessions. But if they look at, Hey, I’m just a coach. And the reason I’m coaching is because I want our team to do be better. It takes a little bit of the edge off of it. You don’t have to be a disciplinarian if you’re just really coaching someone towards their fullest potential.

Dave Braun
01:13:48
And we’ve got some great training on that in our course, we’ll be talking about in another podcast episodes. In fact, I think we ought to do a whole nother episode that talks about coaching people. Both out, all that kind of stuff.

Larry Broughton
01:14:04
So these were great tips, Dave, thanks for sharing this.

Dave Braun
01:14:07
Yeah, that’s awesome! Well, folks, we are glad you’re with us today and that you listened to this. Hope you got some really good nuggets out of this. You know, those six tips, maybe just one of them resonated with you, go back and re-listen and see if you can implement one of those today in your communication and start doing it today and the next day and build it into a habit. And just remember though, HireMyVA, that’s where Larry and I are, are wanting to help you guys reclaim your freedom and to building a virtual team because that’s how you’re going to be able to grow your business and change your life and leave a great legacy. So with our program, you can prepare for hire and thrive with virtual assistants. Larry and I are here for you. We’re here with you and would love to help you. So go to hiremyva.com for more information.

Larry Broughton
01:14:53
Yep! We love you. God bless you, folks. Love your team. Go get them!

Dave Braun
01:14:58
Awesome!

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