How to Brief a Virtual Assistant

Processes & SOP's
6 mins
How to Brief a Virtual Assistant
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Published by
Mike Bandar
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Table of Contents

    If you have decided to work with a virtual assistant, one of the biggest problems you will face is handing your tasks over to it. The most worrying aspect is that the virtual assistant might need help to accomplish your tasks the way you do. So, how to brief a virtual assistant in such a way that they perform important tasks perfectly?

    Preparing an effective brief requires many elements to work harmoniously, so you must create a clear roadmap for you and your virtual assistant. For instance, if you’re creating a training program, you must be aware of where you need help from VAs and how to communicate your requirements with them.

    This article will cover the following;

    • What is a Virtual Assistant?
    • Why should you give your task to a virtual assistant?
    • How to Brief a Virtual Assistant?
    • Elaborate on the background of the task
    • Pen Down the specifications
    • Provide the System logins
    • Fix a timeframe for task completion
    • Tell the VA about the tasks you have completed
    • Inform the VA about required updates along the way
    • Share the Relevant content with VA

    What is a Virtual Assistant? 

    A virtual assistant is a freelancer who works from home to handle business tasks remotely. Mainly, they deal with administrative, marketing, or business tasks for you. As a result, you save precious time, which you can instead spend on business growth.

    For instance, your business owns hundreds of roughly formatted documents in MS word. You can hire a remote work expert in formatting, editing, and designing. It will waive the burden on you. In addition, you won’t need an in-house person, which will be significantly cost-saving for your business. 

    The extent to which a virtual assistant is involved in your firm/business depends on you. Some virtual assistants perform a few tasks monthly, while others are deeply invested and handle many day-to-day tasks.

    Why Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant? 

    Sure, you're now aware of what a virtual assistant does. However, you might still ask, is it necessary to hire one? Given below are some of the reasons you should. 

    Reduced Costs 

    One of the major reasons to hire a virtual assistant is that they can reduce your operating costs by 78%! You can hire a virtual assistant instead of a full-time employee to do small tasks. But nowadays, businesses are even employing remote industry experts to revamp their growth for important tasks as well. Virtual assistants can be hired on an hourly basis, so you pay them only for the work that is done.

    Increased Efficiency 

    Hiring a virtual assistant helps you handle core activities instead of focusing on non-core activities. Companies and entrepreneurs often waste their time on non-core activities, such as:

    • Internet research
    • Scheduling meetings
    • Data entry
    • Handling customer queries
    • Handling emails and newsletters 

    By saving your time and energy, you can instead spend it on focusing on the growth of your business and on doing tasks that are worth it.

    How to Brief a Virtual Assistant? 

    After hiring a virtual assistant, you must know how to brief them effectively. There’s no benefit if you end up wasting more time in making the assistant understand your task. You must know the secret recipe for communicating everything in a more-defined, clear, and concise way. Don’t fret; we have done that for you;

    Elaborate on the Background of the Task 

    Your virtual assistant can understand the impact of their task on your business much better if they know the background and purpose behind it. Some tasks, like invoicing, are straightforward and do not need extensive explanations. However, some tasks must be elaborated properly, especially if your virtual assistant has less experience.

    There are some pertinent questions that you can ask yourself about how to brief a virtual assistant:

    • What is the purpose and background of the task?
    • Who currently performs the task in your firm?
    • Why does this task have to be done a certain way? 

    Continuing the same example of a virtual assistant for MS word, communicate your core pain of unformatted and irregular documents at this stage. 

    Pen Down the Specifications 

    A crucial step when wondering how to brief a virtual assistant is to make them understand the structure of the task. You can write it down as a step-by-step standard operating procedure or just as a document with desired outcomes. Make sure your virtual assistant understands the non-negotiable steps and their outcomes.

    For instance, share details of your standard MS word template with the VA. Elaborate where your logo should appear, at what size, etc.

    Provide the System Logins 

    The systems that you have in place for completing the tasks should be accessible to your virtual assistant. Set them up with their own login on each system without sharing your login details. Doing this will give them access to the system without you losing control over it.

    Make sure that the system is secure by asking your VA not to share their login details with anyone else. Whenever they change their devices for some reason, they should explain it to you. 

    For instance, if you have some private documentation. Don’t give them direct access to the file; instead, create a guest access link or temporary account for them. Upload it to your drive like Waybook, and share it with them. 

    Fix a Timeframe for Task Completion 

    What's the usual timeframe for the completion of a particular task? It could be a repetitive task that needs to be completed by 5 PM Monday. It could also be a one-off task that needs to be done a day before your meeting on a particular day/date.

    Ensure you're providing clear and concise virtual assistant briefing so they can timely deliver the task. It is also crucial to have a buffer so that tasks are completed on time. 

    For instance, if the task needs to be completed on Wednesday, you can ask your virtual assistant to deliver it on Tuesday instead. Doing that will ensure that even if there is a mishap and the VA cannot deliver on Tuesday, the task still gets completed on its actual due date. 

    Tell the VA About the Task Progress 

    If you have already made progress on the task, inform your virtual assistant about it clearly. Share with them your barriers and how to overcome them successfully. It'll help them perform the task smoothly and relieve you from having to help them constantly.

    Inform the VA About Required Updates Along the Way 

    Make sure your virtual assistant updates you about the task's progress. Tell them how you want to receive regular updates about the progress. Some standard communication channels might help manage virtual assistants:

    • Email
    • A phone call or texts
    • A quality project management tool

    Share the Relevant Content With VA 

    Brief a virtual assistant upfront about the relevant things that need to be shared. One significant advantage of doing it is that they won't have to come back to you repeatedly for clarifications and guidance. For instance, if you have created a financial playbook to sort out the company's finances, make sure the virtual assistant has complete view access to it. 

    You can set up a shared folder in quality software to share relevant content with them regularly. Not only that, but it also ensures that your inbox isn't filled with each other's emails. By creating a playbook, your virtual assistant always knows what to do in a particular situation.


    Now that you have read the guide on how to brief a virtual assistant, you can confidently hand over your task to them. Make sure every step of the brief is explained clearly and concisely to avoid confusion and bring efficiency to the process.

    If you want your virtual assistant to perform their task flawlessly, try Waybook. We provide an all-in-one platform where you can place everything from documentation to training. Thanks to the different playbooks you can create for guiding virtual assistants, it serves as a single source of truth for your team.

    So, start your free trial of one of the best tools for briefing virtual assistants today. 

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