Welcome to part 2 of our series on the two simple yet crucial tasks that you can delegate to your virtual assistant today to have maximum impact. If you missed it, head over to Part 1, which covered how your VA can manage your schedule so you can increase your productivity by gaining more time to focus on the things that only you can do.
An efficient assistant can be a super, secret weapon. While they are processing the emails, you are finishing something else, making you doubly as effective. With proper training, your clients and colleagues will not even know it wasn’t you who replied but your assistant.
Hand over communication to your assistant
As a business professional, you are continually dealing with distractions. And if you are succeeding in business, too many people will have your phone number and email address AND will use it to contact you! Why is it important to protect yourself from people who constantly try to reach you?
The reason is not prideful; it is actually from the humble place of realising you are just one person with finite resources, including limited time. You simply cannot meet everybody or do business with each person that reaches out to you. Trying to will become overwhelming and hinder you in reaching your goals and success.
If you are getting side-tracked all the time, it could be because you find it hard to say “NO”.
Professionals like Donald Miller have every email go through his Personal Assistant. Each email is read by the assistant first and she then forwards only what is important to Donald. The rest she deals with using pre-determined parameters. Requests for meetings or collaborations that don’t need Donald’s input are replied to on his behalf. She is politely saying ‘no’ to protect his time.
These steps will empower your assistant to take over all your emails:
- Eliminate, then automate – take a critical look at the messages in your inbox and eliminate unnecessary processing by unsubscribing and creating rules
- Standardise replies with templates in signatures – this step entails drafting an answer to each of your FAQ’s and saving the replies as signatures in your inbox, taking reply time down to seconds
- Give guidelines and authority – provide your assistants with scenarios that regularly play out in your business and add the different ways you want them to handle the scenarios. If A then B, if C then D.
- Create a private address for yourself – Your assistant will then forward only that which he/she is not empowered to answer, or is for your personal attention, to your private address.
To learn how to execute the steps above exactly, head over to our article “How to Empower your Assistant to Take Over ALL your E-Mails”.
This article was inspired by Donald Miller’s video series “Business made Simple”.