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How Giving Out Clear Instructions Helps Your Business

Updated: Apr 20

Have you tried hiring a virtual assistant before? Or, are you thinking of hiring one? You might think that giving out instructions is an easy-peasy task. That is not always the case! The mixed messages, the tone, the language barrier - all these things affect your message.

Here are a few tips on how you can give out complete instructions that would benefit you and your VA.

1. Write specific and clear instructions.

For your VA to understand what you want them to do, you have to give out clear instructions. Skip the flowery words and long messages. Jump straight to the point. Avoid using very vague words like "few" or "some". If possible, use exact numbers and values. You can even write everything down in a bullet list!

How jumping straight to the point helps your business

2. Do not assume they get what you mean.

Assumptions can lead to all sorts of mistakes. It's always best to ask rather than to assume that they get what you're saying. While your VA has the presence of mind, they can't read your mind. It only takes you a few minutes to explain further over having to repeat the task all over again.

How giving out clear instructions and not assuming they understand can help your business

3. Explain the purpose of the task.

Taking an extra step on explaining the purpose of the task to your VA lets them appreciate it more. It gives context— and context is everything. They would have a better understanding of the task at hand. It would allow their vision to align with yours.

4. Set the deadlines.

Let your VA know if you need the task done ASAP! Stray away from the term "soon". Having a misunderstanding with the deadline can push your business back. It's a good practice to include the date and time of the deadline for clarity.

5. Give examples.

If possible, you can give out references. This is especially helpful for VAs who are new to the role. It will add clarity to the instructions. You can show them templates or other samples to give them a concrete idea of what you want to happen.

6. Break the instruction into chunks.

As much as you want to get everything done, avoid overwhelming your VA with a massive list. You can chop up the instructions section by section. This is also easier to manage because you can track their progress.