When you’re training someone new or working with someone who you’ve outsourced your work to, communication is usually going to be the biggest issue. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available nowadays that can help both you and your worker break through any communication barriers there may be.
Studies show that at least 60 – 65% of the population are ‘visual learners’, so odds are good that if you can show someone how to do something, and at the same time create a reference object they can go back to if they have any questions, you’ll be able to get your point across.
The best way to do this? Video, of course. With programs like Camtasia or other screen recording software, you can make a quick video that explains – in explicit visual detail – what you’re looking for.
You can show examples while using your mouse, drawing attention exactly where you want it instead of sending an email that says, “On this page, the link on the top right side” when on that page there are 12 different links on the top right side.
If you have your own site and server, Camtasia can even output all the files into one webpage – the only thing you have to do is create the video then upload the files to your server. Give your virtual worker the address and they’ve got a file they can return to again and again if they have any questions about the job you want done.
If you don’t have access to Camtasia, there are programs out there – like Jing – that will do the same thing and then allow you to share the completed video on a web-accessible page with whomever you want to see it.
These videos don’t have to be professional grade quality – enough that the person you’re making them for can see and hear what you’re doing (they record audio as well, so you can talk while you’re showing your examples on the screen).
So be sure that when you’re bringing people in and/or giving them a new task that might be a bit complicated, or if you’re a stickler for detail, video can be the perfect way to get your point across without having to literally write a book on the subject. Your virtual workers will thank you for it.
Ps. If you’re on a Mac (which you should be) the be sure to check out ScreenFlow… I think it’s the best screen capture program out there!
I did use Jing when I had my training with my senior VA through Skype. It was very helpful because I don’t need to bother her again by calling her on Skype for instructions and it was very easy for me to absorb the topic because I can actually see what I have to click. Video is definitely the perfect way to get one’s point across.
I like Jing (especially the cute sun on top of your computer screen), but sometimes its 5-minute max recording time is not enough for me to create a tutorial. But I agree that it’s a great tool to have, a great alternative to Camtasia.
I am used to getting instructions over Skype for some of my previous online tasks. But when I have learned about Jing and all these visual and video tutorials, I have learned to love this free tool. Learning how to use this helped me to learn new online tasks faster. I can say that every VA should get to know how to use this wonderful tool, along with the other ones, to become more efficient online workers.
I believe I belong to the 60 – 65% of the population who are ‘visual learners’. I have done freelance jobs and VA jobs before and while text instructions (IM and emails) would often work out fine, I still prefer watching videos especially if the task is new to me or requires too many components to accomplish.
If you’re using Skype, I suggest doing screen sharing for short tutorials. It works great for me.