In my last post here I gave people who work with virtual assistants six tips. My third tip was to communicate clearly. But just what constitutes clear communication in a collaboration with a virtual assistant? How do you know that you’re giving your VA the information they need to do the job? One way is to apply the S.E.E method as you’re composing your instructions. S.E.E is an acronym for Specify, Elaborate, and Example and should be applied as follows;
Specify- This refers to being specific about the task or project. This includes time constraints,background and other details. You may send a rough draft of a blog post on ‘best dogs for women’ and you want it to be posted just before Mother’s Day, thinking it might draw customers to your pet store to get Mom a truly unique gift. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish with your project/task might not seem important, but it helps your virtual assistant to be able to visualize what it is you want their work to accomplish for you.
Elaborate- Always elaborate when giving instructions. For example, instead of saying “Please post this to the blog” you say “Please post this to the blog, with a picture of a puppy, place hyperlinks where I’ve indicated and block quote the information I’ve placed in italics. Place it in the pets category and do a spelling and grammar check” Of course as you work together over time you’ll be able to shorten that to “Please post with puppy pic in pets category and do the normal checks and insertions.” But don’t take anything for granted. As a VA we don’t want to overstep by changing what you’ve written or inserting links, pics, etc unless you’ve directed us to.
Example- If applicable and at all possible, give your VA an example or template to refer to. This is especially useful when having documents drafted, formatted or converted, but applies to other tasks as well. If you’re looking for your VA to create an e-book cover, send them several examples of covers you like, pointing out the details you’d like to see in yours.
By using these suggestions you will not only give your virtual assistant a clearer picture of what you need them to do for you, you may also save time, as your VA will most likely have less questions concerning the task/project. Help your VA to see what you need by using S.E.E..