Guest blog post: 4 VA skills that everyone should add to their skillset
This is a guest blog post by Platinum VA
A recurring theme on most motivational posts on social media sends out the message that for one to succeed in their chosen field or career, or even to make that daring leap into a completely new venture, one should have a very strong skill set.
Skillsets refer to that range of abilities a person accrues in a field or area of their choosing. In all honesty, learning and upgrading your skillset is a continuous process for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the curve. It is exponentially more important for a virtual assistant to be on a constant lookout for fresher ideas and better ways to work considering the competition in their field.
In this huge plethora of information and technology that we have at our fingertips, via the internet and online classes, how do you really choose the best avenues to upgrade your skillset? And more importantly, which part of your knowledge do you upgrade? Fear not, we have listed below the top 4 skillsets that every VA and budding communicator should focus on enhancing.
One of the core aspects of any virtual assistant job is, of course, communication. A VA should be able to communicate effectively with their client both verbally and through any written communication. Since for a VA, most communication is conducted without being face to face, being effective in communications can help to improve the relationship with the client. If you are looking to enhance your writing skills then we would recommend signing up for an online writing course to help you build this essential skill.
When talking about communication, it is very easy to overlook another, yet equally important aspect, that is the skill of listening. Develop a keen ear to be able to pick up on things that may really need your attention. Listening makes you better at conflict resolution and thus helps you to serve your client better. A good place to hone your listening skills is to join and actively get involved in debate groups.
Maintaining the status quo or standing still is not an option for today’s virtual assistant. They need to have a constant hunger to learn and grow in every aspect of their field. All successful virtual assistants actively seek new knowledge to improve their working styles and desire to continually improve at the things they already know how to do. Keep yourself updated by constantly reading or listening to podcasts. The aim is to make constant, and measurable progress, to improve this very important skill.
Strong organisation skills – Batching vs. Multitasking
The Work From Home experience that has been forced on many, due the COVID-19 pandemic, has also forced people to rely on multitasking during their working hours. For example, virtual assistants may find themselves preparing a presentation while they are preparing a meal for their family or helping with their child’s homework while creating an expense file. This habit of chronic multitasking is unproductive and yields mediocre work in both areas.
Consider instead focusing on one thing at a time to ensure you give it your best and then can move on to another item. Pat Flynn, Founder of Smart Passive Income, talks about a relatively simple concept called Batching, that is, instead of switching between various tasks on a macro level, try to complete as many instances of the same task in one go.
A very relatable example of this is when doing inbox management most of us feel the need to answer an email as soon as it arrives in our inbox. This is insanely unproductive. Instead consider setting aside a specific batch of time in the day when you can review and respond to your emails, thus freeing up the rest of your time to concentrate on the other important tasks.
Quick thinking and effective decision making
Consider improving your analytical and interpretive skills to always ensure effective decision making. As a virtual assistant, your client will rely on you to finish tasks without constantly asking for their opinions and approvals on the way forward for minor problems.
The ability to process information quickly and make the right decision are vital qualities of a virtual assistant. The most critical part of decision-making lies not in learning the techniques but knowing how and when to apply the basic principles and constantly reevaluating and improving your methods. Think about it in this way: if you are consistently achieving good results with your work, then you are generally making good decisions. Focus on that and keep working to improve your decision-making ability.
Keep learning and growing your skills and remember as, Steven Covey rightly said, ‘Unless you are continually improving your skills, you are quickly becoming irrelevant.’