5 Tips to Boost Your Communication Skills with Clients
Efficient virtual work relies heavily on great communication. Are you a great communicator?
Because we aren’t in the same office as our clients, as Virtual Assistants we rely heavily on communication to ensure to work well together.
So many things we do together rely on information being shared easily and clearly. Project management systems, time management, billing, deadlines, task delivery – are all impacted by our communication.
Here are 5 tips to boost your skills so you are doing a better job at talking to your clients today:
1. Be Concise
One of the challenges of trying to get your message across in words is trying to do it in the fewest words possible. Twitter tried to teach us how to be concise (140 characters!) and so many people struggled with it. But really, when we think about how to say something better – it is always better to think less, than more. When we drone on and on because we are trying to explain something, it often gets more confusing. If you focus on being as concise as possible (state the facts!) you will get better and conveying your message clearly.
Tip: To be more concise, type out your message and then read it back over out loud. Where can you make your message clearer – remove extraneous words or phrases? Editing your communications before sending can be a terrific step in being more concise.
2. One Message Per Email/Post/Message
Unless you are summarizing a meeting that includes a number of topics, the best way to keep your communication clear is to have one message per, well … message. Whether that’s an email, a project management task, a PM, a text … if you talk just about one thing, it will be easier to start and end that discussion in that space.
Tip: Plan your message and the main message you are trying to convey. Check that any ‘also’ thoughts you may have included are necessary in the message you are sending. Does that ‘also’ need its own message? Or does it belong with another message? Help people find what they need with subject lines and simple message processes.
3. Take Emotions Out Of It
One of the things that clouds communication is the need to explain, or letting our emotions get into things. Business communication should be just that – the transfer of information regarding the business topic from one person to another. When we add our emotions, emails can get longer and it can be more difficult to get to the root message.
Tip: This comes with practice. Write your message and then take the time to re-read it and edit it before sending. Are you saying more than you need to, to get your message across? State the facts and get to the point.
4. Stick To Your System
Create a communication system that works for you, and have your clients use it. We all want to work with clients the best way we can, but that doesn’t always mean adopting their ways. You will log more time if you are trying to adapt to your client system than if you just have a simple one that keeps your communication from all of your clients in one place.
Tip: Choose your system and then teach your clients to use it. Stick to boundaries around how they reach out to you, and make sure that you respond using your own systems as well.
5. Focus on Clarity and Responsiveness
Be sure that you understand your client’s request – ask questions to ensure that you are clear on what they need/want. It takes less time to ‘check’ than it does to start something that wasn’t exactly what they wanted. Being responsive just means letting them know you received their request or update. When you always strive for clarity in the original request, it’s easier to keep the client up to date and deliver the proper final results.
Tip: Clients want to know their project status – that’s the main reason we communicate, isn’t it? So be sure you understand what needs doing, and then keep them posted on the status. You will find communication decrease when the client has fewer questions about the status of tasks.
Good communication is essential to a great VA and client relationship. If you implement some of the tips above, you’ll be on your way to better communication today.
If you need help with your communication skills, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/