The Importance Of Virtual Communication

The Importance Of Virtual Communication

The Importance Of Virtual Communication

Effective communication is one of the most important life skills that we can learn, yet one we don’t usually put a lot of effort into.

Learning how to improve communication skills is an ongoing process that should grow and develop continuously instead of remaining static throughout our lives.

As the world becomes more dependent on the internet and other global platforms communication is vital. For virtual teams, communication is even more critical and even more difficult. The very first, and most important thing to understand is that there is a big difference between virtual communication and office interactions. In the absence of facial expressions, body language and voice signals, your underlying meaning is not always clear.

As with most tasks in life, the essential part of any client/Virtual Assistant relationship is communication. You cannot get tasks completed, and goals achieved, without constant communication.

Communication is key to any relationship, but communication with your VA is vital to ensuring success. In order to develop a productive partnership with your Virtual Assistant, communication will be the key element for success. Opening up the lines of communication should work from both sides.

What Is Virtual Communication?

We define virtual communication as a mode of communication that includes the use of technology – audio and video to communicate with people who are not physically present in front of us.

Outcome

Effective virtual communication provides the ability to communicate more efficiently and quickly. A successful and effective outcome of virtual communication includes a message that is clearly sent via technology and accurately received by another person.

Purpose

The intention of effective virtual communication is to accurately send a message using technology that is received by the recipient in an understandable way. Virtual communication is only considered effective when the message is both sent and received with clarity.

Tools

With so many options of virtual communication tools available, it definitely makes our lives easier. Nowadays, the ability of communicating virtually and instantly or sharing our information in seconds is very crucial. Effective virtual communication comes in different forms, the internet is the largest component in virtual communication. Here are some example of platforms to communicate or share content.

  • Skype
  • Whatsapp
  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Teamviewer
  • me
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive

Managing time – especially across multiple time zones

When you are communicating across time zones, it’s important to put systems in place that suit both sides. Virtual Assistants generally work at the convenience of their clients, making the time factor less important.

Conclusion

Learning verbal communication skills can’t help but will improve our written and digital communications because we develop a better understanding of what people are trying to convey even in short messages.

It is no doubt that communication plays a vital role in human life. It not only helps to facilitate the process of sharing information and knowledge, but also helps people to develop relationships with others. Therefore, the importance of communication cannot be underestimated.

“THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS AND WITH OURSELVES ULTIMATELY DETERMINES THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES” ~ ANTHONY ROBBINS

Asana versus Monday.com:   What is your tool of productivity and why?

Asana versus Monday.com: What is your tool of productivity and why?

What does it mean to be productive? The word productive is often described as a person’s capability to do a lot of work successfully.  How can we maximize our productivity in our careers? Nowadays, the most common answer would be through the utilization of a Project Management Tool.

What is the best suited software for you? A popular comparison would be of Asana verse Monday.com, which are both powerful Project Management Tools. Asana can be described as a simple, more traditional approach and better suited for small to medium sized businesses, while Monday.com is a more sophisticated, detailed option and better suited for medium sized businesses. By comparing the core features of each tool, it will allow you to select the best option for you and your team.

 

Pricing

This can be the ultimate deciding factor and the fuel behind your system of choice; Asana is free for up to fifteen team members per a project and would require an upgrade to a paid plan to make use of certain features. Monday.com offers a free fourteen-day trial and then the option to purchase the basic plan at $39 USD per month. Asana is slightly pricier than Monday.com when comparing the paid plans but it does offer the option of a free plan and not only a trial.

 

Task Management

Task Management is achieved by setting tasks with deadlines and then meeting the set deadlines. Asana allows you to create a task, name the task and then assign it either to yourself or a team member, accompanied with a deadline. By clicking on the task, it will expand to show you more detail, you can comment mentioning team members and attach documents or links used to collaborate. Asana displays tasks that are due soon in the ‘Home Section’, and you can see a complete list of all tasks assigned to you by viewing ‘My Tasks’. Monday.com refers to tasks as “Pulses”, you can name the Pulse, assign it to a team member, set its status and make it dependent on other Pulses. Asana has a basic and to the point task management method, while Monday.com has room for customization.

 

Workflow Management

Optimization of your company’s business processes through automation includes mapping, planning and coordinating all parts of your business structure. Workflow in Asana is created through views such as lists, Kanban boards, calendar and timeline formats. Monday.com operates in a similar way, it allows you to see different visualizations for Pulses without having to switch between browser tabs. Monday.com shows a list view of your Pulses with a mini progress bar for each one, it also shows the visualization of your choice in the section above the fold. You can change the Pulse statuses in Monday.com using a drop-down menu in the list section, you can stretch and shrink Pulses in the timeline view or drag-and-drop cards in the Kanban board. Monday.com gives you more freedom to customize your workflow than the traditional approach of Asana.

 

Communication

Communication is a key factor to a successful team; a team must establish communication standards and a shared task management system contributes to those standards. Asana gives you the option to comment at task, project and team levels and Monday.com only lets you comment on tasks. Asana allows communication between your team in various ways, you can comment directly on a task or start a conversation in a dedicated window within a project. If you have a team page, you can host team discussions and post announcements on one dedicated page. The inbox keeps track of all communication, alerting you when a conversation has started, when you are mentioned in a comment or when a team member prompts interaction. Monday.com offers one way to communicate with your team and that is at task level. When you click a task in a project, a window will open, and this is where you can leave update. Here is where you can leave comments, mention other users, add GIFs or attach files and links. Monday.com offers the use of an inbox, that will display all communication on the subscribed boards, even if you are not assigned to an item or mentioned in a comment.

Integration is a method of coordination that allows various software systems to work together. Asana offers over 100 integrations from Dropbox to Slack. Monday.com does not match that number.  The the integrations offered by Monday.com are useful, though this feature is dependent on each individual business and will depend on your preference. Asana is a clear leader in integration.

What is the best Project Management Tool for me as a Virtual Assistant? My conclusion and chosen tool of productivity is Asana, simple is better.

Virtual Sales versus Direct Sales – acknowledging the distinction and what works for you

Virtual Sales versus Direct Sales – acknowledging the distinction and what works for you

There seems to be a continuous divide when it comes to developing sales strategies, especially deciding on whether to stick to the classic method of face-to-face direct sales or joining the revolution of going full virtual. This time last year, I was waking up at the crack of dawn to brace the Johannesburg morning rush to get to my first client meeting in Pretoria. Today, I am working virtually for an American company. My first Zoom meeting is at 3 p.m., which is 8 a.m. Central Time Zone in Tennessee. I have gone from meeting clients in person every day, to calling and emailing them. Building virtual relationships with the time difference has been quite an adjustment, but I am enjoying not having to sit in traffic for hours. As someone with experience on both sides, this is my take on the two strategies.

The way I distinguish virtual from direct sales would be quality versus quantity.

 

Direct Sales – Quality

Direct sales would be the quality approach. The focus is on face-to-face interactions. The value of the relationship between business and client is heightened because of the personal bond created. The client’s trust is built on meetings where informal conversations can lead to a higher chance of client retention. Even if the number of clients reached is considerably lower, because of the time taken to build the relationship.

 

Virtual Sales – Quantity

Virtual sales would be the quantity approach due to the access to a larger spectrum of potential clients from various industries, and the ease of contact via electronic platforms i.e. email. It is a great way to determine which industries to target and eliminate the ones that do not bring in positive metrics or sales. However, maintaining good relationships with clients can be difficult because of not having the face-to-face factor, and managing a concentrated customer base can create a lower chance of client retention.

To further differentiate the two sales strategies, I will use the 4 A’s model: Acceptability, Accessibility, Affordability, Awareness, and the selling of sweaters as an example for each.

 

4 A’s Model

Direct Sales

  • Acceptability – Why should customers buy our sweaters? Are they priced according to the quality we are offering? This component can be used in the sales pitch to potential customers.
  • Accessibility – Ensuring the store is stocked up with sweaters and positioned where customers can easily see and reach them.
  • Affordability – Are our sweaters priced to attract our target markets? How are the sweaters priced against competitors at stores nearby?
  • Awareness – Can customers see that we sell sweaters in our store? Are they visible on mannequins in the display window? Do we have a sign?

Virtual Sales

  • Acceptability – Why should customers buy our sweaters? Are they priced according to the quality we are offering? This component can be used in the product title and description on the website.
  • Accessibility – Having a website that is easy to navigate, and mobile phone optimised, so customers can effortlessly buy sweaters from any device.
  • Affordability – Are our sweaters priced to attract the desired target markets? How are sweaters on competitors’ websites priced?
  • Awareness – An email campaign, targeted at a group of potential customers to inform them about our brand of sweaters.

We can see from this, that the mechanisms of the 4 A’s in both approaches often coincide and have similarities.

Overall, a combined approach of both sales strategies would, in my view, be the most beneficial. This should be based on your company’s goals and objectives, amidst these uncertain times. Adapting to the current climate and adopting a sales process that not only protects your team, but also grows your business, is essential.

12 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before an Interview

I have my notes! I have gone through my speech and talking points multiple times and even spoken to myself in the mirror.

So why is it that I am still nervous?

Everyone is nervous before an interview, even if you believe you are the perfect candidate.  Whether it’s an in-person interview or the virtual kind, the interview process can be a daunting experience. If you allow your nerves to get the better of you, it can have a negative impact on the outcome of the interview.

These tips and tricks won’t only assist you in preparing for an interview but can also be used before any type of public speaking or presentations you may give in the near future.

 

1.    Breathe (in through the nose, out through the mouth)

We have all heard it and we know very well that it does work, especially when you concentrate on your breathing. All of a sudden, the thud you feel against your ribcage subsides and you can tune out the noise.

2.    Be 10 min early

As a person who is never on time for anything, this is a hurdle for me even for virtual meetings. But it is important, not only for your own nerves but also to avoid any last-minute technology complications. Being early also shows you are prepared and starts your interview off on a good foot.

3.    Focus

Focus on the next 15 minutes only, close your mind to everything else happening around you.  The next 15min are important to you. You want to land the position and you want to have a good interview. So, switch off from the rest of the world and move away from any distractions for this period of time.

4.    Be Confident

Repeat to yourself 5 reasons why you are perfect for this position. Repeat it at least 3 times.  Keep telling yourself how great you are and how you add value, bring something new and unique to the position. Use this as your mantra, stick it up on the mirror, write it down, say it while making a cup of coffee, keep yourself positive and motivated to achieve that goal, and ace that interview.

5.    Be Present

Besides clearing your area of clutter, you also need to clear your mind and give your full attention to the person interviewing you. Be mindful of the fact that this person has set aside time to meet with you.

6.    Admit that you are nervous

Allow yourself to admit that you are nervous or anxious. I have always found it helps me to talk it through with someone else – normally my mom – it gives perspective and allows the opportunity to get input before the actual interview.

7.    Challenge Yourself

What’s the worst that can happen?

How many times have you allowed your negative thinking to get in the way of taking a chance on something?  We have all stood in our own path at one point in our lives. It’s time to stop the negative thinking and begin taking action. No one is going to make it happen for you, you are the owner of your own destiny. So step up and grab it with both hands.

8.    Listen to Music

We all have a power song.

Music is soul food. It can put a smile on your face, a spring in your step and change your mood. Find your power song and listen to it while getting dressed, eating your breakfast and before your interview. Find that inner voice and let it Roar!  Thanks, Katy Perry.

9.    Relax

Take a minute to lie on the floor and relax or sit and close your eyes. Let your mind wander and stop focusing on the interview or presentation ahead. Smell the fresh air, listen to the noises round you and switch off for 3 minutes. You never know what you make learn?

10.  Get Some Air

Go outside for a couple of minutes and just soak up some good vitamin D and fresh air.

Did you ever think you would appreciate fresh air as much as you do when you take off your face mask and just breathe? Me neither. Now try to incorporate that into your daily life.  Take a few minutes every hour or so to walk outside and get some fresh air. A number of business owners and employees have mentioned that when they stepped away from their desk and took a break; firstly they felt so much better and secondly, they had the answer they were trying to get or could solve the problem they were dealing with.  A different perspective and surroundings can do wonders.

11.  Fuel Your Body

Have something to eat and very importantly – be hydrated.  Hangry is a real emotion.  We have all been there. There is nothing worse than sitting down for a grueling session and you realise you haven’t eaten. Have a good breakfast, lunch and dinner. Feed your body and mind and make sure you are feeling your best walking or logging into that interview.

12.  Stick to Your Routine

Do not skip something that energizes you for the day – whether it’s your morning run, yoga session or cup of coffee.  Exercise clears my mind and allows me to think clearly, never mind the fact that it also makes me feel good about myself.  No matter how busy life is or how much you believe you do not have the time – make the time, it is important.

 

It is normal to feel nervous before and during an interview, especially when you have high hopes to land the position. Even the most confident person will experience some butterflies.

My hope is that one or a few of these tips will allow you to get your mind in the right space and allow your nerves to be used in a positive way, rather than having a negative impact on your interview.

 

 

 

 

The one life lesson I have learnt…. Travel!

The one life lesson I have learnt…. Travel!

I have been in a fortunate position to have been able to resign from my job and go and travel. Look, it isn’t the easiest thing to do, as it takes months and even years to plan. But it is something that I would highly recommend everyone does. Take the plunge and forget about having to sit in the traffic to get to a desk you will sit behind for 8 hours, only to get back in your car to sit in some more traffic.

 

Why take a sabbatical?

Why would anyone want to leave their stable job with regular income? Everyone asks, “Aren’t you scared to leave your stable job?”. Yes, it is scary to think of, but you will not have any regrets. So many people are planning and saving for their retirement, wanting to go travel only then. But realistically, would you be physically fit to do a 21km roundtrip hike to see the infamous Trolltunga in Norway, or volunteer to help build a new cattery in Sweden, at the age of 65?

A misconception for quitting your job to go travelling is that it’s expensive. It can work out cheaper than your normal day to day life with an office job. You don’t have any rent to pay or other major bills to pay. If you are smart, you can find places where you can volunteer and in return, you get accommodation and food during your stay. Volunteering can be very rewarding, and one can learn so many new skills as part of the experience.

 

Planning for a once in a lifetime experience

Taking time off to go and travel for a few months is not something you can just plan for a month in advance. It takes months or even years of working extra hard to earn money to save. One must cut all costs to save every penny. It’s even saying no to Friday night drinks with your friends because you need to save. Every penny counts, and it is worth it when you finally get on that plane for the adventure of a lifetime.

You don’t have to plan every single move; you can just go with the flow. Depending on your passport, you may have limited time in the country. You can have a rough idea of your trip, but it does have to be cast in stone. You may find that you love the south of France and want to stay an extra few weeks.

 

Nothing ‘adventured’;  nothing gained

Experiencing a new culture or ticking off the hot air balloon ride that was on your bucket list can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have, and you will carry that experience with you for life. You learn new things every day, things that you will never be able to learn by sitting at your desk doing your 8 – 5 office job. Like stumbling across a Spanish fiesta in a small coastal town and being the only English-speaking person in the crowd, but you will have one of the best nights of your life. You will also meet some really interesting people and make lifelong friends.

Be adventurous! And take the plunge – you will not regret it.

Push your boundaries – you won’t be sorry

Push your boundaries – you won’t be sorry

Something we all tend to talk about easily but not always “do it”. It’s easier to tell someone else that they should push their boundaries BUT when it comes to yourself, we struggle…. Well sometimes I do.

The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.-~Pema Chodron

 These past few months, I’ve been focusing on educating myself more to be able to do my own thing. When I left my full-time job to be with my son, I had this mind set of where I wanted to be and what to do other than must being a stay-at-home mom.  Life happened and things didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted but I’m okay with it, I am happy. I still haven’t educated myself as much as I expected…not at all.

At first this wasn’t so easy, I was scared – I mean, I was in a comfort zone. I had a stable job, stable income and left it for the exact opposite.I left all of this to do what I always dreamed of for a complete unknown territory.  This would be the second time in my life I had this opportunity.

The first time I was too afraid to do something on my own, to step out of my comfort zone, so I said no. It was a year later where the opportunity approached me again, and I realised that I had to step out of my comfort zone. I had to give it a try, or I will regret it for the rest of my life.

After a few weeks passed I realised that, my new “environment” had so much more to offer. AND that yes, this is unknown and completely out of my own comfort zone,  that I might not do everything I planned but that whatever I get done will be good enough.  It was only two weeks until I had enough clients/projects lined up to be more than okay. My son was happy & healthy to be with me at home.

I suspect I didn’t do as well as I wanted to with studying and educating myself because my head wasn’t in the right place.  However, my mentality has since changed, and I now find my success from setting my own boundaries – or to set fewer boundaries.

I found that defining to large goals and targets detracts from what you really set out to do.  The goals I set for myself in this unknown world – to be a full-time mom, to work all day, be a homemaker AND to study – weren’t achievable.

So, today – don’t set “permanent” goals. I have a rough idea in mind, the results to be outstanding. “There are no limits to your potential achievements.”

In my opinion, push the boundaries, by not making any OR if you have them – they need to be flexible in changing circumstance. Just put in all the energy and effort you can without exhausting your other responsibilities. You will create a sense of inner self-satisfaction AND never be too hard on yourself.

You will regret not trying something, but you will never regret doing something out of your comfort zone that can be good for you!