Virtual Assistant or Mind Reader?

Experienced virtual assistants eventually develop a superpower…mind reading

The initiation process is like joining the X-Men, complete with superhero garb and mysterious alias. 

Yeah, not really, but virtual assistants at the top of their game develop a keen awareness of their client’s needs; to the client, it can feel like mind-reading. 

As virtual assistants, we’re responsible for understanding what clients need and how/where we can fulfill those needs within their business.  

The more time we spend with clients and the deeper we dive into their work, the more we understand them as people and professionals. It fosters a mutually healthy relationship of trust, understanding, and support for both parties.

Suppose I were asked to list ways virtual assistants can get to know their clients better and develop their mind-reading superpower. In that case, I’d go with the following:

A mind reader may know, but they still listen.

Don’t just hear your client; really listen to what they’re saying (and what they’re not). 

The virtual assistance industry is very transactional, but there’s room for the relational aspect. I often have to decipher instructions from clients.

Sometimes it’s a text message with instructions for the week, and I need clarification. Other times it’s a 300-word email with no spaces. And then there are times I’m on the receiving end of a brain dump where I have to wade through word clouds and find the necessities.

Whatever form it takes, I listen intently to the need and how to support it best.

Know when to back off.

Virtual assistants typically work for high performers, executives, entrepreneurs, or CEOs, all of which have high demands on their time and energy.

Because of this, these professionals may not always be clear or able to give you more time for explanations after offloading work.

They’ll occasionally miss deadlines, and you won’t always get what you need (when you need it) to complete work on their behalf.

Yet, the longer you work with a client; you’ll start to sense when they’re overworked or not as attentive as they may be in other instances.

They’re likely enduring something you know nothing about. While you can’t solve their problem, you can be flexible in approaching them and keep yourself busy with the tasks you can complete.

If you’re in an extended period with little to no communication from a client, send a progress report detailing what you have done and what you need from the client to close out a project.

This way, both parties know where the work stands when things pick again as they were. 

Take notes

I’m a copious notetaker. I always have a notebook or Google Doc pulled up during client meetings to document our time together.

I may capture dates I wasn’t aware of but needed to know, words of wisdom, or project additions to previously allotted work.

But don’t just take notes; ask questions too.

Inquire when and how they like to be contacted. Learn their pet peeves. Ask how they prefer to receive deliverables. Find out what their expectations are of you. Ask about their needs and how you can best support them. 

When in doubt, ask!

If you need help getting to know your client, give the relationship time and hang in there. After a while as their virtual assistant, you’ll begin anticipating their needs as if you could read their mind.  

For more tips and observations on virtual assistants, subscribe to the SHS email list here.

Chassidy Michelle | Owner, Founder