Use a screen recording software to instruct your VA
(Francis’ Full-Time VA)
Communication comes in many ways, such as sending messages or calling using:
- mobile phones
- through video sharing applications
Communication is the most important task for any individual. So, how much more for a virtual assistant working all throughout the internet from day to night?
This post is in response to Francis’ (my employer) question:
“Which communication method is best for you?”
It emanates from my “daily work update” that I mentioned video-sharing is best for updates and feedbacks from my tasks.
Whenever I am given some tasks, the audio-video-sharing application Jing is the answer to it all. Yes, it does not come from writing long descriptions through email that will take some time in figuring things out. And for me, video mail is the best way in getting instructions since it’s already laid out in front of you.
Francis asked another question:
“Isn’t that live chat/face-to-face better?”
Yes, it is even better, since you can confirm right then and there on how to do things, or if this is right or not. The only disadvantage in live instructions is – it takes too much time.
I have the habit of extracting Skype conversation with Francis’ main VA and transfering them to a word document. In other words, I am reading the instructions through the document.
For me, life discussions are only good for quick tasks and confirming previous tasks if I did it right or not. Unlike video mails, no matter how many times you play it, the instruction is visible in front of the computer and you can just follow through it step by step.
But, in my opinion, Skype conversations and audio-video mail are best in communication.
- First, send the video containing instructions for the next tasks
- Then confirm it through Skype conversation.
What about you? Do you have some things in mind that can help in making a better communication between employer and virtual assistant? Do jump in on the comments below and let me know.
Comments for What is the best way to communicate with a VA? Opinions from a VA
|Aug 14, 2014||Video instructions are the easiest for employers, too
by: FrancisThe biggest disadvantage for skype conversations from the employer’s perspective is that often you have time zone differences with your VAs. So, one side needs to adapt to the other to have a real time discussion.
A few years ago on the other hand, the size of the videos and slower internet speed would have been a limiting factor. Now, high speed internet makes even file sharing with bigger file sizes a breeze.
If you are recording a screen recording, and if you want to relax and listen to some music, don’t use the music on your computer! The sound of the music will be much louder than the sound of your voice recording. Or at least, it can be.
If you really want to listen to music and have some distraction while you give your VA instructions, then use an external device like your iPhone or an mp3 player.
Of course, you will only be so used to video recordings that you will have had lots of experience with it.
Since I really like to share tips about saving time when managing a VA – do yourself the favor. Save yourself the trouble of going ahead and recording 1 hour of awesome thoughts – which then all have disappeared from your short term memory – just to find out that it’s un-usable for your VA.
It’s not clear if such a recording can be salvaged by doing some audio edits. Most screen recording services lead to mp4, avi or svf format.
At least with basic audio editing skills, there is not much to retrieve.
That said, video recordings are awesome, both for your VA and for you.
The free recommendation is JING. But at the moment, I am using Snagit (costs 49$, and was worth the investment) in order to be able to record unlimited recordings.
Comments for Important tip for screen recordings – don’t record while listening to music
|Feb 11, 2014||A Good Mic Does Wonders
by: DeniseI definitely agree with this article! If you wish to make a screen recording, just turn off the music player. It would be easier for your VA to concentrate on what it is that you want them to do if Justin Beiber isn’t singing at the background. Haha!I also believe that if you spend a lot of time making video recordings, it would be better if you simply invest in a good microphone. I have a friend who does screen recordings for his employer a lot. He had this microphone which had its own mini stand and it really did wonders. You couldn’t hear any feedback on his recordings and his voice was even all throughout. But maybe he was just so used to doing screen recordings that’s why they were so good — I can’t be sure. However, I’d bet my money on the mic.Also I think it’s right for you to recommend Jing. Eversince I got it, I never uninstalled it. Before, when I used to do screenshots, I printed the screen, copied it on Paint, cropped it, and then saved it. Yeah, that’s how it was done before… Pretty tedious, right? But with Jing, all you have to do is click on the ‘sun icon’ on your desktop and then crop the pic or take a video — which you can save or simply share directly. I always suggest it to my friends (and coworkers who doesn’t know about it yet) when I tell them to screenshot something for me. Such a useful tool!
|May 28, 2015||Also Watch Out For Audio Feedback
by: FrancisIf you record audio or video with a screen recording software, look out for audio feedback. The same applies for recording a Skype conversation, for example.For me, I rarely use a headset, so I have audio loudspeakers connected to my laptop. If there’s any sound coming out of my boxes while I try to record something, especially in a recorded Skype call, then sometimes you have to deal with audio feedback loops. So always think about what sort of audible input you have in the background while you record something for whichever purpose.I have found that for most applications related to outsourcing, built-in microphones from the laptop work just fine. If you want to record stuff to produce content for later, like a podcast, then it makes sense to think about buying some professional microphone hardware.
(November 01, 2012)
The only limitation of the free screen recording software, Jing, is that each video can only be five minutes long.
But in my experience, the combination of recording a 5-minute video, sending it to a transcriptionist, having it transcribed, getting it up to my virtual assistant, setting it up as a post and proofreading it one last time before publishing it; takes no longer than five minutes for me and a few hours for my assistant team.
As a website owner and a blogger, I have to follow certain guidelines in order to have a website that works well. Actually, there is a guideline from the search engines like Google and Yahoo that in order to be seen as a useful content page, any page should contain at least about 300 words.
Of course, if those words do not have any meaning, this is not recommended. But if you can convey your message in at least that much amount of words, then this will give you some boost in the rankings.
Now with the 5-minute Jing video, I have made the experience that the resulting transcribed blog posts often are well above that limit. So, this is a good thing. Also, the 5-minute limit of Jing forces you to express yourself in a condensed and efficient manner.
Since you do not have all the time in the world to talk about your pet and your grandmother, you need to get to the point quickly. So in a way, the limitation of Jing becomes an advantage of some sort.
At least for me, personally, it is a tool I use daily when I work together with my virtual assistants and I would not want to miss it anymore.
Comments for Writing Six Hundred Words in Five Minutes Using Screen Recording
|Jul 31, 2014||all around tool
by: JomvieFor me, this is the best way of communicating. There’s no need of figuring things out once the task is handed over because it’s all laid out right in front of you.
And this is definitely a great tool as well to all who often blog or write posts or article to avoid writer’s block 😀
|Jul 31, 2014||Fast for the employer, effective for the VA
by: FrancisWhen I started giving instructions to my VAs, I used email only.
Sending instructions via email and answering questions that come back and forth took at least the same amount of time than the task itself.
I wouldn’t have it any other way now.
My family and some of my friends were using a social network with poorly adjusted security options.
To show them how to improve their security I did a one-minute-video on Jing to show them the necessary clicks within the network.
Especially as my mom has some difficulties with computers and their settings, it was much easer for her to SEE what I was doing than to follow some complicated written explanation!
And for me it was kinda funny to send them this short Video, where they could hear my voice. 😉
Comments for My first Jing experience
|Sep 27, 2012||Jing an awesome tool to teach others
by: FrancisHey Kittycat,
Thanks for chipping in to the discussion. I also love Jing and I am using it every day. It’s so effective to teach others how to do something using visual and audible information.
I can’t say how often I have been asked from non-computer savvy relatives of mine to do something, I am sure you know that feeling.
I could even imagine using those videos as a creative gift for someone. You teach them something and they hear your voice. It’s very personal, you know.
|Sep 27, 2012||personal
by: KittycatThat’s so true, I especially love the personal aspect of it!! =)
|Sep 27, 2012||Great use of JING
by: Virtual AssistantIt’s a proven fact that video instructions work far better than written instructions. It saves a lot of time for both parties.
I think JING is the only software which not only provides quality screen recordings, but you can also use their screen capturing tool which comes with many advance features and you can easily share your screen captures to anyone by simply passing a URL.
|Sep 27, 2012||Pretty easy to understand
by: FrancisIt’s a very simple software, too! And you can explain even complicated stuff in a short amount of time, and everyone will get it 🙂
|Jul 14, 2014||VA’s must-have tool
by: JomvieI had my first experience with Jing using the screenshot button. I was amazed because of its easy and no stress kind of function unlike any other apps on the internet. This is very helpful for my daily tasks and a must-have tool to all virtual assistants.
|Feb 20, 2015||A Must Have Tool for Employers: I Haven’t Seen Virtual Assistants Use It Yet
by: FrancisMore specifically, I haven’t seen virtual assistants use the video functions yet. My primary virtual assistant is using screenshots often. And it’s very useful to make a quick annotation to ask a question to me. So I definitively think it’s useful for both employers and virtual assistants.
As an employer, it even makes sense to invest in a paid solution to record videos longer than five minutes. But for starting, five minutes of recordings are great.
Virtual assistants often tend to shy about recording their English in a spoken language and send it to their employer. However, I believe that if a virtual assistant were to use the video function and ask questions that would really improve the communication back to the employer too. What do you think?
(September 11, 2012)
Yesterday, I came back from a one week vacation. Fortunately, my virtual assistant “kept the fort”.
While I was away, he continued to faithfully work on his assignments and sent me daily email updates.
Obviously, when I came back, I had to take care of a huge load of emails, not only from my virtual assistant but from personal stuff too.
How did I get rid of the task of following up with my virtual assistant – ultra-fast?
Here is what I did to prevent myself from procrastinating and not doing the task, losing lots of time by writing an email, writing an answer to each one of my assistant’s emails or doing a bad job following up my assistant’s updates.
- I simply opened my screen recording software before I even touched the first email,
- Then as I read what my assistant said
I answered him directly into the video
Fortunately, the screen recording video records both audio and visual information.
When I answered to a question from my virtual assistant, I clicked to the webpage in question or the item tried to solve my challenge or at least give feedback to the best of my ability.
The big advantages of doing it like that
- I didn’t lose time reading the email first, thinking of my solutions and then answering.
- Also I did not need to re-read anything twice.
I felt this was a quite time efficient way of following up with instructions.
Who doesn’t know the flood of emails that waits for you after you return from a vacation?
If you struggle with too many emails and want to get everything done, pick one sender and work through all his emails at once using screen recordings.
Since my free screen recording software only records five minutes of video at a time, I simply saved each video after five minutes into the Dropbox I share with my virtual assistant and started the next one.
I got through dozens of emails in half an hour of time and gave instructions that were precise and instructive enough so that my virtual assistant has something to work with while I manage to get completely unpacked and ready for work.
If this helped you or you have another opinion, feel free to add to the discussions in the comments below.
Comments for How My Screen Recording Software Helped Me Catch Up With Instructing My Virtual Assistant Fast
|Jul 09, 2014||Keeping up with time
by: JohnAudio-Video recording software is just so amazing that sometimes you won’t be able to keep up if you will not pay attention to it. And yes, it’s just so amazing that it makes communication comfortable and easier to follow.
(July 06, 2012)
It’s like a business accelerating “cheat” that I am doing here!
I just took a minute to jot down some quick thoughts about what I am going to say in a specific webpage on this website. Then I simply opened my screen recording software and started talking…
You have to know, I can get pretty talkative very easily. This way, I can get across all my ideas.
What I then do is ask my VA to
- Order my thoughts a little bit
- Research pictures for the webpage
- Take care of SEO
- And most importantly give me his honest opinion and feedback about my post.
The little work that is left to do for me is just to review the transcript of what he has ordered and transcribed for me, make the last little changes and send it back to him.
By mastering this back and forth of voice recording, transcription, feedback, loop, proofreading and posting, I know that I have increased my productivity and my work speed.
Not by two but at least three times – just by working together in a tandem with a business partner who knows what I am up to and also knows about the little quirks and communication flaws that I have, just like everyone else.
Without my VA I wouldn’t get to finish half of the projects flying around in my head. Now he helps me to work in a focused way on one thing at a time, because he helps me actually finish all those projects flying around in my mind.
I thought it would be interesting to have a little look behind the scenes of the writer of ideal-helper.com
If you have any more questions about how I am using screen recording software to increase productivity, ask away and let me know in the comments.
Comments for Turning Quick Notes and a Screen Recording Video into Great Webpages with the Help of My Virtual Assistant
|Mar 05, 2014||Screen recording really saves time! :-bd
by: DeniseI’ve been on the receiving end of these screen recordings and I must say that they really make things easier to understand. Because of them, I end up really knowing what it is that I’m supposed to work on since I don’t only receive the instructions but also see what I need to do. They’re great!
|May 29, 2014||Wonders of a VA
by: JomvieApart from your VA doing the wonders for you—a screen recording and quick note comes in handy that can help you easily note down ideas and squeeze in your last-minute-quick-ideas without any time loss.
|May 28, 2015||Handwritten Notes and Screen Sharing Can Also Be Very Useful To Explain Things
by: FrancisWriting emails and sending audio messages is fine. But using handwritten notes as well as screen sharing can be extremely effective if you explain something to your virtual assistant.Sometimes I even just open a paint window and make a very small but explaining doodle to make a point to my virtual assistant. Visualizing your ideas using video plus real-time voice recording to emphasize different points really brings across what you want to tell your virtual assistants much more closely than just writing an email.So using handwritten notes that you can just make a photo of with your mobile phone and put into the Dropbox with two clicks and combining that with video is not only useful to create content real fast, but also to make a point to your virtual assistant.