I believe fervently in communication. Real communication. The kind of communication where two people connect in a real way, whatever level they are meeting on.
I believe in communication as a pathway to fulfillment in my day, and in your day. We are not islands, it is said, and yet we so often act as though we are, which just drains our days and our interactions of meaning.
It doesn't take much, and the rewards are enormous.
I just completed a 7-month management consulting job with a lovely and intelligent man who was putting on a large annual legal conference. One of my tasks was to take the Sponsorship process in hand and uplevel it. He told me recently that as he watched me interact by email - and phone - with people I had never met, but would quickly become friendly with, he learned for the first time that "personal connection could be formed and maintained through email".
This kind of connection comes from a few easy-to-do actions.
You can use these as "tactics", but the true power comes when you really understand that what you are doing is creating meaning in both your lives. While the task at hand will go away (in this one case of mine, dealing with sponsorships), whatever connections and genuine human interactions you have formed will not. Those inform your life with meaning, with a reason to get up every morning and invest yourself in what you are doing.
Particularly if you work on any kind of repetitious task, bringing something of magic and fascination into the mix is well worth your time and energy.
As a Virtual Assistant I am a business owner who loves to help other business owners grow. But this love of serving other business owners is not the primary thing that jazzes me.
What jazzes me is what I can bring to the transformation of business practices, business quality, and business owners with all that I now am!
And I am the compilation of all of the skills I have ever learned, honed and perfected! I get to add value to peoples' businesses and to raise the quality of business marketing, communication, internal processes! What a rush! So many things to bring to those who want to make a difference with their businesses!
I am the Software Expert, and when I say "expert", I mean it.
I am the Copywriter whose skills rescue CEO's, Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses from imprecise, unexciting, inauthentic presentations, speeches, webinars, website copy.
I am the Communicator who brings that personal-plus-professional touch to interactions with Sponsors, Affiliates, B2B contacts; the one who makes sure that your "contacts" have a far greater potential of being asting business relationships.
I am the Idea-Factory who brings not just one, but several, perspectives to the project at hand, offering the kinds of input that one would expect from a Partner, but not ordinarily from an "Assistant" of any kind. (Which is why I tend to call myself a Virtual Contractor. Words matter.) I get to surprise people with the depth and breadth of what I bring to the table!
Most importantly, I get to make a bigger difference because I am so in love with raising quality through creativity, integrity, authenticity and service, my joy supercharges my work, and stimulates my clients. I get to use my voice to bring my unique perspective and experience to those who need help in the short-term, and the long-run. I get to connect with CEO's, entrepreneurs and small business owners who, like me, have a business Vision - people who want to bring their best to the world, and not only for money (and we all know how important money is), but for the betterment of others, and the satisfaction of doing business well.
This is fulfillment at its best. This is helping business to have an impact that goes beyond business.
For information about working with The Project Cheetah, contact Lori Kirstein at ProjectCheetahHelp@gmail.com.
Are you willing to move through uncomfortable situations rather than avoid them?
Are you willing to respond to work-related situations rather than to react to them?
We can't help but react; it's an emotional situation that happens within instantaneously...in our minds and our bodies. Responding, however, carries within it the option of choice. When we choose how to respond to uncomfortable situations, we are giving ourselves options. Or...we can stay with our defensive reactions, karate-chopping both our real and perceived enemies identically and without discernment.
At best, our defensiveness will make us miserable (and that's at its best!); at worst, our defensiveness will take down our business's effectiveness.
For instance: A client says to you, "You know, I'd really rather you had given me more of xyz when I asked you for abc!" Your internal reaction, and your internal dialogue, is inelegant: "What the hell are you saying to me? That's not what you asked for! You said you wanted xyz, you moron! Don't blame me for not giving you what you didn't tell me you wanted!" When you are hijacked by defensiveness, you want to tell your client to take a hike (and that's you being polite at that moment!). When you are in control of your response, you might take a breath and take stock of what is important:
What exactly are your options when you are reacting defensively and you would rather respond?
(1) Communicate! At least for a few moments, give this person the benefit of the doubt. Give yourself a moment to find out if what you think is being said, is really what is being said! Believe it or not, there is usually a possibility of misinterpreting what another is trying to communicate. If you use the phrasing "When you said xyz, it sounded to me like you were saying abc! Is that what you meant?", you will be opening the door to a calmer and more professional interaction, and you will increase your possibility of both learning something, and maintaining a relationship. Keep asking questions until you have clarity about what was said and what was meant. Then you can respond from a place of calm strength, and you will feel informed and far less upset.
seriously benefits you. And that is your gold nugget. Could the gold nugget be that, in the midst of your extreme discomfort, you took a very mature and challenging moment to check in with your client to determine if your perceptions were accurate? Or was the gold nugget that what your client said was actually helpful to you, when you let go of feeling judged? Or was your gold nugget that you found an elegant way to free yourself and your client from a bad relationship by respectfully ending it? You have to grow the discernment and self-awareness to know!
One thing is for sure: If you simply react, and never find ways to get to the power of choice in how you respond to colleagues and clients, you either slow down your business or you minimize your comfort. Neither option is optimal, and neither is worthy of who you are: a business professional.
The Project Cheetah is a Virtual Contractor bringing quality digital marketing, event management and creative solutions to entrepreneurs and small-to-medium sized businesses. (For information about Personal Growth Empowerment and Communication webinars and workshops for business professionals, contact Lori at ProjectCheetahHelp@gmail.com.)
Is it a computer skill? Is it a project management skill? Is it an interpersonal skill?
Although I have those, none of those are the #1 VA Skill.
The #1 VA Skill, above all others, is this: The confidence in your ability to figure things out.
I will give you an example, and then I will share with youi how the confidence to discover answers is entrepreneurially life-saving.
EXAMPLE: I'm working with a client in another state, and both of us are working with a major company to bring a Conference to successful completion. He asked me to work with one of our company colleagues to make necessary changes to their website. His assumption: That I could work through our colleague's computer to make the changes in a platform I know something about.
My question: Can I actually take control of someone else's computer through GoToMeeting???
My go-to (no pun intended) answer to questions of any kind is always Google. Google knows everything. There is nothing I can ask that hasn't been asked before. Answers abound. I swear, it's like the angels singing!
Within literally 3 minutes, I had the answer to my question, and I communicated the answer to my colleague. The project was completed successfully within an hour.
LEARN, LEARN, LEARN
Here is why the confidence to learn on the fly is so valuable: When you know that there is almost nothing you can't do, there is almost nothing you can't do! To your client, you become the go-to Answer Queen, the one who can take anything on and make it happen.
The other way to look at work is: I can only offer what I know. And that will hamstring you every time. Surprised? Don't misunderstand me: I wouldn't want to work with a brain surgeon who had never seen a brain. But what you need to be capable of is growing as you go.
The more you learn on this job, the more you will be able to market and know on the next one.
So, market what you know. Absolutely. But don't ignore or underestimate WHO you are: someone who can research, figure things out, and bring your qualities and your smarts to the table. If that is who you are, don't ignore it. If that is who you would like to be, those are qualities, attitudes and beliefs that can be acquired.
Those are important qualities. And as you get clients who can recognize those qualities, you will keep those clients.
For Virtual Contracting, and Empowered VA Training, contact Lori at ProjectCheetahHelp@gmail.com.
The idea of a “temporary” worker is actually an old-fashioned one: the idea that someone with a specific skill can come into an established business and, without independent thought, simply do what anyone else can do, in exactly the way the boss desires, and there will be no noticeable difference in the work.
A Virtual Assistant is, by her own definition, not a temporary. She is a business professional and a business owner.
To her work, a Virtual Assistant brings her professionalism, her expertise, her opinions, her strengths and skills, her vision and her professional viewpoint to your project, business or task.
The Virtual Assistant knows that she has business savvy that goes from the ground, up, and she offers that savvy to you as her client, and not as her boss.
Where you see the need for a database to be set up, she sees the need for you to know which aspects are critical to consider before setting it up. She wants to save you trouble not just now, but down the road, which also saves you money.
Where you see the need for social media help, she is able to tell you how that actually works, what kinds of ongoing communications are necessary to form ongoing business relationships.
Virtual Assistants come in all sizes and shapes, women and men, I.T. and Social Media Professionals, Document Specialists and Copywriters, Accounts Payable Professionals and Website Designers.
The important thing to understand when hiring a Virtual Assistant is who you are hiring: a professional whose expertise you welcome, or a cog in a wheel. When you know which you need, you can choose appropriately, and wisely.
I'm a Facebook junkie. But even with my love of Facebook and its Business Groups, I have recently become aware of just how incredible LinkedIn is.
Even as job seekers or professionals looking for referrals and connections, LinkedIn is for many not the first place that jumps to mind. That seems to be due to lack of training (or a lack of pursued training) about this powerful platform. Allow me to point out a few ways in which you can increase your "footprint" and your actual person-to-person connections on LinkedIn.
(1) Requesting a Connection
(a)When you request a connection with someone else, at the very least take the time to write a short, personal note. Clicking the "Connect" button does nothing to introduce yourself to the person you would like to link with.
(b) When you connect, don't "sell" yourself - just make a connectionl It may be difficult to be patient, but it will pay off in the long run, and it can net you an actual friend.
(2) Join a Group
(a) Again, you will want to take the long view here, and show up and respond to others' needs as well as sharing your own. But as your network grows - and by "network" I mean those people you actually create some kind of relationship with - and you (i) stay in touch over time, and (ii) maintain a genuine and relaxed tone that reflects who and what you truly are, you will become the kind of person that people refer others to.
This is the merest glimpse of what LinkedIn is useful for, and how to use it better than you may have already been using it. I hope this information gives you some new thoughts about how to use LinkedIn more to your needs, and more to your style.
Lori Kirstein, owner of The Project Cheetah Consulting partners in bringing entrepreneurs' and small-medium-sized businesses' social media marketing to the next level, and creating processes and upleveled communications to business management projects.