Listening is probably one of the most important skill sets entrepreneurs possess. This fundamental skill can facilitate an entrepreneur business growth. On the other hand poor listening skills could have a detrimental effect on a business. The primary role of a Virtual Assistant is to listen to their clients or potential clients in order to alleviate administrative burden they find themselves in.
There are many types of listening, but the most important styles of Listening a Virtual Assistant will need to understand are:
Effective Listening – ensures you engage potential client in a conversation. The client should monopolise the conversation. The VA needs to ensure the conversation stays on topic at all times.
Passive Listening – will ensure you understand your client’s needs and have the ability to ascertain their precise requirements of you, as a Virtual Assistant.
Active Listening – should be demonstrated at the end of a client meeting by reflect back the main points of the meeting and summarise what has been discussed.
Inactive Listening – should never be used, this style of Listening is when you hear what is being said, but your mind is else where. You often see inactive Listening at Networking meetings.
Without exceptional Listening skills you could potentially misunderstand your client’s requirements and valuable spend time could be used completing a task or project that was not requested or you could miss a deadline which could affect their business. If this occurs there could be irretrievable damage to your Virtual Assistant Business, your reputation and possibly some financial loss.
In any working day we have an inaudible amount of ‘noise’ to listen to. The computer, the printer, the clock, the telephone, alarms and other people. Generally we have the ability to filter out some of this noise, but on occasions it can become overwhelming and it is then that we can easy miss things or miss-hear certain requests. A Virtual Assistant may have more than one project or task running at any one time. This is where it becomes vitally important to concentrate on the task at hand and practice effective Listening.
When a Virtual Assistant talks to a client and they are giving new instructions take detailed notes and utilise your active listening skills. You can either repeat the instructions back to your client after the meeting or even better, email a copy of the notes to your client to confirm you have heard correctly what has been asked of you.
When you listen to your clients needs you are often able to provide them with solutions to problems they possibly hadn’t considered. For example they could be looking for a new supplier of a certain item and you can help introduce them to a new supplier. Without listening carefully and making each meeting important, you could possibly miss the opportunities to help your client and become an effective Virtual Assistant.
In conclusion, you have two ears and one mouth; I would suggest you use them in that ratio. When meeting with a potential new client, listen to their needs and requirements instead of jumping in with what you can do to help them with. Once you have a grasp of someone’s limitations or shortfalls then you can offer a solution which is tailored specifically to them.