Communication is everything in business. 

A professional assistant who can write, type and talk with confidence will be much in demand. Highly prized. Highly valued. Highly appreciated. 

Here are eight tips to help you up your communications game. 

1. Keep It Simple 

The key to clarity is to keep things simple. 

Think about what you want to say. Be succinct. Use simple language. Short words instead of longer words. Shorter sentences mixed in with the norm. Paragraphs neatly spaced to make it easy for the eye to read.  

2. Girls (Read) Aloud 

As ever, check your work before you send it, file it or present it. At times when you are tired or distracted, it’s easy to slip into complacency. Stay focused. 

Check for spelling errors and typos. Check for grammar (without having the ‘grammar police’ on your shoulder – clarity beats formality every time). Check for flow. 

A good way to test for tone, rhythm and pace is to read your words out loud. Not silently in your head. Read them out loud. You will be amazed at what this simple practice does for improving the sharpness of your communications. 

3. Plan and Schedule 

This is all about keeping on track. Knowing when an email has to be sent, a presentation be delivered, or an article completed. 

Use your diary, Outlook calendar and planner to ensure all important communications tasks are covered and get done in good time. 

When you know what work needs to be carried out each month or quarter, you can be more in control of it all. Block out extra time for the busiest weeks. Phase longer projects so they become more manageable.  

4. Avoid Distractions 

As a busy professional assistant, there are already so many demands on your time. You don’t have time for distractions. 

Turn off notifications in Outlook so you’re not dazzled by every incoming message. Adjust your mobile app settings to switch alerts to silent. 

Distractions can not only prolong the time it takes for you to carry out a task. They can also lead to communication mistakes. 

5. Use Email Templates 

The smart assistant will already have set up a personal style for their emails (and fresh styles for any they create on behalf of a colleague or client). This will include the signature and sign-off at the end of each message. 

If you find you are writing the same kind of email again and again, it’s time to think of templates. 

In Outlook, this lets you set up a framework for frequently used messages. It saves time in having to write everything from scratch each time. Creating templates is just one of the lessons in my comprehensive online course on Outlook. 

6. Be Conversational 

Just to be clear. Templates are designed for efficiency. What you write needs to feel personal and not like a ‘cut and paste’ job.  

The way to do that is to write in a conversational tone. Write as you would talk to the person.  

Would you really speak using super long or difficult words? Would you fill a face-to-face conversation with formality and jargon? 

The content and message can still be formal, official or serious in intent. But that doesn’t mean we have to sound like a robot or a buzzword bore. 

7. Get to Grips with Microsoft Outlook 

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of knowing how to get the most out of this powerful communications and calendar application. 

Whether you’re working for a boss or your own boss, time is money. The more productive and efficient you are completing communications tasks, the more time you get back. 

Time you can use to better serve colleagues or clients. Time for yourself. Time for a reward. 

If you feel you need to be more up to speed with Outlook, I have the perfect online course for you. 

8. Aim to Improve Each Day 

There are several stages in the communications expertise cycle. 

Learn your craft. Get to a good standard. Be consistent with that high standard. Keep learning to achieve excellence. Keep looking to improve. 

It may sound simple on paper yet how many professionals follow through with action on this? It’s good news if others are of a low standard or not interested in raising their game any higher. It makes it easier for you to stand out as a star performer. 

Get good. Get trained. Get valued. It’s the path to promotion, better career opportunities and a stronger business. 

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes