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What will make you a better virtual assistant? For starters, you need to get high-quality training about the specifics of online workplaces. You also have to work on your hard and soft skills, specific for your work position.

In other words, you should learn how to use tools for VAs, but you also need to learn more about the workplace culture, business in general, productivity and communication. That is what will guide you on your way from a VA to an exceptional VA.

Here are some TED Talks that can help you on your way, or at least inspire you to become better:

1. Matt Mullenweg: Why Working from Home is Good for Business

Matt Mullenweg runs a successful company of 100 people scattered all over the world. He shares his amazing insights about why working from home works and how to make sure it does. He explains the office dynamics, perks and challenges of what seems to be the future of the job market.

2. David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips

One of the main differences between a seasoned online worker and a newbie are those little life hacks that the experts use to be more efficient.

That is just what you will learn from the amazing TED Talk Pogue created. It is a must-watch video for anyone whose work requires them to use technology on a daily level. That’s precisely what a VA does for their employer.

3. Carla Harris: How to find a person who will help you get ahead at work

If you want to advance in any company, it helps if you have somebody in a higher position who can assist you. This relationship is not an easy one to make, but Carla Harris offers a way to do that.

Her talk is about creating strong sponsorship relationships with people who are higher in the company than you. Those people who can mentor you, teach you and help you build your career.

4. Valérie Hoeks: Cultural Difference in Business

The main focus of this TED Talk is the difference in the work culture in China and Europe. While there are some specifics in this relationship, the general conclusions can be implemented on every international team.

Being a VA means you will most probably work in a multi-national team with people who have different work culture. This TED Talk can help you navigate the differences and turn challenges into opportunities.

5. Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

If one of the main reasons for your decision to be a virtual assistant is the fact you hate the office, you will love this TED Talk from Fried. He claims that business doesn’t happen in the office.

This is a great piece on productivity and the nature of the work, so don’t miss out on it. It is inspiring and it makes an interesting take on the way the business communication works.

6. David Grady: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings

There is so much valuable time wasted on meetings that could have been written in a single email. It is one of the things that people hate. David Grady wants to put a stop to that and that is why he created this amazing TED Talk about the misery that useless meetings create.

If you are striving VA, meetings will be an important part of your working experience. Learn how to organize only the most necessary ones.

7. Christine Porath: Why being respectful to your coworkers is good for business

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Even though you might not meet your coworkers in person ever, you still have to maintain great working relationships. For once, it is much easier to work with people that you like and who like you.

It is more than just feeling good in your work environment. It is all about productivity and the company overall success. Porath has some interesting ideas about how that works.

8. Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

You should not make your employer responsible for your work-life balance. It is entirely your responsibility and you have to make it work. Nigel Marsh talks about how you do that in the best possible way.

9. Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?

Feeling good about your work is important. It is the only difference between living your full life and slaving away from one paycheck to another.

Understand what makes you tick besides money and joy. Discover the details that can make all the difference in the way you conduct your business and approach your work hours.

10. Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get

While this TED Talk is mainly aimed at women, it is still precious for both men and women alike and people if all stages of their career. Colantuono focuses on the reasons behind career stagnation and how to overcome such phases. It is a critically important TED Talk that you should watch.

11. Julia Dhar: How to disagree productively and find common ground

There are disagreements in every company. That is a simple fact of life. You cannot escape them, but you can do your best to prevent their potentially disruptive nature.

Julia Dhar showcases three methods for using disagreements in the most productive way possible. This is a skill that is worth gold!

12. Casey Brown: Know your worth, and then ask for it

We tend to accept the payments that are a result of how other people value our work. Casey Brown claims that this is not the way payments should work.

She says that you should be the one who determines the value of your work and that you should ask for fair compensation. Listen to her TED Talk as she explains the details about how to make this happen.

13. Margaret Heffernan: Forget the pecking order at work

This is an incredibly interesting take on what makes companies work well. Heffernan says that measuring an employee’s value by their productivity is not the best way to measure success.

She claims that workplace interactions and the team as a whole need different types of employees to work well.

14. Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

As a virtual assistant, you will be in a position to learn constantly. Things in the online world of business change rapidly and there will always be something new to learn and something new to overcome.

If you don’t believe that you can improve and catch up with those changes, you will have a very hard time with your online career. Listen to Carol Dweck and be inspired by her take on the power of believing and motivation.

15. John O’Leary: The importance of good conversation – and how to have it

Communication is the key to every business relationship. When you are not face-to-face with your employers and coworkers, your communication may be a bit challenging. That is why it is of utmost importance that you, as a VA, have strong communication skills. Take a look at O’Leary’s ideas about how to have good and meaningful conversations.

Being a good virtual assistant requires that you understand the ropes of the business, have good communication skills and adopt the growth mindset. Each and every one of these TED Talks helps you in some aspect of your growth and career.

But, before you grow your career and bring it to the new level, you need to put down some solid foundations. That is why your first step should be a well-structured course in online work. Take the Small Revolution amazing course about how to behave in an online work environment to ensure your success.

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Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, creator of eCommerce University, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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