How to Develop a Rapport With Your Virtual Assistant

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Personal Productivity for Lawyers

This quick-start guide to Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero also includes two shortcuts for those who want the benefits of GTD without having to learn the system.

The firm started using a virtual assistant a few months ago and by and large, it has been an overwhelming success. Success, however, can be defined in many ways.

If you have a virtual assistant or you are thinking about adding one, follow these tips to keep them happy and productive.

Virtual means virtual

Virtual assistants work out of the office, from their home, a coffee shop, or wherever they can. I have met our virtual assistant once. At times, it feels like she is a phantom person who sends me emails, but does not actually exist. Frankly, she has admitted that she feels that way at times.

Even if you only see your virtual assistant once or twice a year, you can still develop a good working relationship with them.

Add personality to your emails

Virtual assistants do not get to see whether you are smiling or cursing when you send an email. They do not hear you laughing or talking about how stressed you are. All they get are emails and when appropriate, phone calls.

This can lead to the wrong impression on their end. Unless you tell them, they do not know what your mood is, and whether or not you are actually annoyed/stressed or if your email just comes across that way.

The simple solution is to add a little extra to your emails—“Rough day. Can you call them back and let them know . . . ” Or, “Thanks for the heads up, much appreciated. Can you . . .” It can only help the communications on any given day and moving forward.

Pick up the phone

The most helpful thing is to pick up the phone—even if it is only once or twice a week. Frankly, most of the time I talk to our virtual assistant it is 75% small talk and 25% work. But that small talk is incredibly valuable for building a strong working rapport.

With a virtual assistant, there is no chatter on your way in or way out, there is no water cooler talk. Picking up the phone helps you get to know them and vice-versa. Most importantly, I guarantee it will make them happier, more productive, and more effective at their job.

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matteopenzo/319897328)

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  • Jon Gilbert

    Thank you for the nice attaboy for VAs.