How to Have Productive Meetings with Distant Assistants

How to Have Productive Meetings with Distant Assistants

Are you getting the most out of your work meetings? Chitchats, snacks, an endless bucket of ideas—although they spark life to seemingly monotonous conversations, they just might not be your perfect meeting buddies. How do you know if your Distant assistants understood anything at all from your meeting? How do you know that you are not just wasting your time? Here’s how to have productive meetings with Distant assistants.

1. Have a Clear Agenda

There is this story about a young man who came from the south. The place he came from is just like any other place on the map. It has houses, cars, people—a thriving community.

How to Have Productive Meetings with Virtual AssistantsOne day, this young man decided to visit his sister on the north side of the country. But, he had no idea where she was exactly. All he knew was that she lived in a farmland located just a few miles from the entrance to the north.

Nevertheless, he went and started walking towards the place where he thought she was. He walked and walked and walked, never minding the people who passed him by. Never minding the hours.

“Am I there already?” was his question to his constantly curious self.

He has already walked many miles when suddenly he came to a seemingly dead end — the wide open sea greeted him like the chill of winter.

“Wait a minute,” he said as he looked down and saw the vivid reflection of a man so weary and so worn out. Realizing it was his, he stepped back surprised at how thin and dirty he had become.

At that moment he remembered the car he had at home, the money in his bank and the number of resources he could have used. If only. He set on the journey without being fully aware of what he had.

He could have used them all to his advantage.

The same can be said of work meetings. Sometimes business owners set up a meeting with merely the thought of achieving something.

“Holding a meeting without a clear agenda is like taking a trip without a map.” -Marsha Egan, Success Strategist

Imagine the convenience that the young man could have had if he took his resources and took some time to assess his situation before starting on the journey.

Similarly, business owners can first assess what their situation calls them to do. They can ask questions that pertain to his business achievements, weaknesses, or any other question he could ask about his present situation. Their answers can guide him in understanding what he needs to tell his Distant assistants about.

2. Maximize Your Minutes

Studies indicate that a person’s attention only has a short attention span. Focus can be difficult to achieve when engaged in long hours of communication. The brain can suffer from a “cognitive backlog” even in simple one-hour meetings.

“By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18, you get them to really think about what they want to say. What is the key point they want to communicate? It has a clarifying effect. It brings discipline.” -Chris Anderson, TED Talks

The popular TED Talks take on the lead of implementing an 18-minute talk rule. In that duration, speakers can inform, inspire, entertain and empower. This strategy has proven itself effective time and again.

Similarly, business owners may consider reducing the amount of time they spend in meetings and get straight on what’s important. What could be an hour-long talk can be lessened to a few minutes of deliberate conversation.

3. Get Rid of Distractions

How to Have Productive Meetings with Virtual AssistantsDistant workplaces enjoy the liberty and flexibility they have in contrast to traditional workplaces. Working from home allows DAs to work at their own pace and wear whatever they find comfortable. Snacks can also just be within their reach when they want to.

All these, however, can distract them from understanding what is being talked about in the meeting.

To have productive meetings with Distant assistants, business owners can agree with their team to do away with their handheld devices and any other things that tend to stray their attention.

During meetings, it is important for Distant assistants to also understand the value of their conversation. On this note, business owners may send out notifications in advance.

4. Prepare Task Assignments

Needless to say, Distant assistants look up to business owners as their respective leaders. They trust them to already have an idea of where they want their businesses to go or what goals they want to achieve.

“A follower with a vision is a leader. A leader without a vision is a follower.” -Simon Sinek

It is the owner’s vision for the business, that Distant assistants refer to in accomplishing tasks. It is that vision that they consider as guides to succeed in their career as well.

For business owners to have productive meetings with Distant assistants, they can definitely take on the lead and guide the flow of the meeting. They can prepare the tasks to be fulfilled before the meeting and then just assign them to reliable Distant assistants.

Leaders may vary in the way they lead. What remains important is they are able to send their message clearly to their respective teams.

5. Encourage Longhand Note Taking

Research says that longhand note-taking is way better than taking down notes via laptop. People tend to understand the concept of an idea better by writing them down in their own words.

Fingers have muscles, and muscles have memory. Muscle memory affects the success that individuals achieve from their pursuits.

It springs from the similar idea that people become better at what they do when they repeat it on a regular basis. The effect depends on whether what they do is good or bad. If they are doing things wrong, then they become better at doing those things wrong.

To have productive meetings with Distant assistants, business owners can encourage exercising longhand note-taking. That way, DAs can remember the discussion better.

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Jaime Jay

About Jaime Jay

Meet Jaime Jay – a man who wears many hats, and wears them all admirably. He's a master connector, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and a published author who knows how to get things done.

Before he found his way to the business world, Jaime served his country as a brave paratrooper in the U.S. Army. But that's just the beginning of his many accomplishments.

He's the founder of the renowned Bottleneck Distant Assistant Services firm, and his book "Quit Repeating Yourself" has become a must-read for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When he's not busy building his empire, you can find him on his beloved Harley Davidson, cruising through the countryside and taking in the invigorating effects of Uitwaaien – a Dutch practice that involves facing the wind to boost health and relieve stress.

He enjoys spending his free time outside building stuff with his wife, Nikita the dog and their two kittens (for now at least) Tommy and Tater.

He is ‘over-the-moon’ happily married to his wonderful wife Sara, his amazing daughter, Jessica, who is serving our country as a United States Army soldier. Jaime and Sara are the proud grand parents of two beautiful little girls.


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