Happy Monday! Here are some quick, effective communication strategies. These will help you work more happily with your assistant, and they’ll smooth out any kinks you are facing from a communication perspective. Try them out and let me know what you think in the comments!
Try to remain on the same page about projects. The more detail, the better!
Create a routine. Say hi every morning, share a photo -- consider this your water cooler in the office.
Utilize a platform like Slack that allows you to silence notifications when your team might be sleeping -- time zones can be tricky.
Create a direct message style function for private conversations -- my team uses this almost daily. Some things are meant to be discussed "behind closed doors". This gives that functionality without the door! (Bonus points if you keep this out of your email. No one wants to be more bogged down there.)
Find out how your assistant communicates. Are they more autonomous and want the details from the get-go? Or do they prefer the details to be slowly digested? What if it's something in-between those? Make sure you're willing to learn how they communicate, especially since you can't hear them or see them in front of you. Virtual has its perks, but it can come with communication issues if you’re not used to working with someone who isn’t in front of you.
Create a weekly meeting where you can connect face-to-face with each other. I have weekly meetings over Google Hangout or Skype once a week with clients, so that we can continue building relationship and getting work done as a partnership.
Remember, an assistant is like your right-hand. You'll need to have fluidity in your philosophy with clear communication and, you'll need to be comfortable delegating. This is hard, I know, but it's worth it. Trust me.
You'll want to develop a relationship with them so that they can answer for you -- they ideally should know how to answer email as you. They should know your preferences for scheduling, and which seats you like in an airplane, as well as which airlines you prefer. Don’t forget those frequent flier numbers either!
Run a background check. This is important -- and it allows you to completely trust your assistant. My assistant, Cassi, takes care of our internal invoices, booking my travel, sending gifts out, supply purchases, and other transactions. So it's important that I have no reservations giving her our financial information. This is a huge piece of our success.
It’s important that your assistant is proactive. They need to be able to anticipate things. I’m working on this with my team right now as well! A great assistant will look at your schedule in advance, confirm appointments, add extra info to calendar appointments, field emails, prevent you from getting overwhelmed, and stop you from getting overcommitted.
What steps will you take to make sure you run an effective team?