Skills

Interpersonal Communication & Public Speaking

I’ve put this skill at the top of the list because I believe that it is the foundation of all the skills that follow. Communication plays a role in just about everything and I have found that my abilities as a communicator have served me well in professional environments.

Communication certainly requires more than one person, but I also think that it requires clarity, respect, openness and occasionally empathy and truthfulness. I discuss this idea in more detail below in ‘Customer Service,’ but it is also worth mentioning here: I aim to talk to people the way that I want people to talk to me.

How do I want people to talk to me? I want to be treated with respect.  I want them to be clear. I want them to be honest with me. I want them to have a sense of humor and some self-awareness. I want them to ask for help if they need help. I want to feel comfortable asking questions if I need clarification. Mainly, I want to be treated like a fellow human being.

The same principles that guide how I approach one-on-one communication also influence how I approach public speaking. Public speaking, although terrifying to some, is really just talking to a lot of human beings at the same time. You need to be confident, clear, respectful and accessible. You need to know what you’re talking about, but you can’t be so focused on what’s in your mind that you detach yourself from being in the moment.

Public speaking is actually quite similar to riding a roller coaster: it seems scary at first, but once you’ve conquered your fear enough times you realize that you’re safe and allowed to have fun.

Advanced Literacy

There are many things that I took away from my Emerson education, but few are as significant as my critical writing, reading and editing skills. I’ve found that the same literary skills that are effective when writing personal essays, screenplays and jokes are also effective when composing emails, copy or other professional notices.

Writing should be clear, concise and accessible. It shouldn’t be clunky and every word must contribute something to the overall meaning.

The reader should not have to put in extra effort just to understand what you’re trying to say.

I always enjoy editing a piece of writing and seeing what is working in it and what isn’t. It is satisfying to me to get to collaborate with a writer to help them better convey their meaning and craft a piece that says everything he or she wants it to say. I like thinking about elements like syntax, sentence structure, pacing and grammar.

I am proud of my ability to think analytically, as well as my ability to focus on and care about any words in front of me, whether they are someone else’s or my own.

Creative Thinking & Problem Solving

Creativity can take many forms in many different situations. While my favorite form of creativity is certainly the type that facilitates storytelling and yields art and entertainment, I appreciate the ways that creative thinking can benefit any work environment.

While my college education and extracurricular experiences taught me to utilize and channel my artistic creativity, I’ve found that many of those same principles apply to general, non-artistic problem solving.

My brain is creative by nature and I enjoy being able to use my creativity and unconventional thinking to complete challenging tasks.

When I talk about creative problem solving, I specifically mean the ability to recognize the task or challenge at hand while identifying the full potential of the resources at hand. I’m a firm believer that solutions for difficult problems already exist, they just haven’t revealed themselves yet. Sometimes you have to overcome obstacles like groupthink and functional fixedness in order to see the solutions at hand.

I am proud of my ability to provide insights like these and provide alternatives to the status quo. In the words of Walt Disney, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Leadership

As a leader, I don’t see myself as separate from the rest of the team–I see myself as being as entrenched in the team as I possibly can. How can you ask others to work as a team if you won’t commit to it yourself? It’s an honor to get to lead other individuals and leaders’ actions ought to convey that.

I think inept leaders operate under the assumption that the team is there to support them, however, it’s the other way around: leaders are there to provide support for their teams.

Whenever I’m in a leadership position, I try to make it as clear as possible to my team that I am here as a resource for them. I want them to know that they can approach me with questions and that I will try my hardest to help them. I strive to be as friendly, positive and accessible as possible while still maintaining high standards for myself and my colleagues.

I believe that my leadership experience improves my work performance regardless of my position. Even if I’m not the leader in a particular setting, I can relate to my supervisor or manager and respect the importance of their responsibilities and expectations. As a leader, I personally prefer it when my team makes my job as a supervisor easier, therefore, I strive to provide the same service to my leaders.

In my opinion, you do not need to be in a formal leadership position to be a leader. From my experience, you can be on the bottom level and still show leadership by exhibiting strong commitment and work ethic as well as demonstrating the desire to help others succeed. If you set an example of any kind for others, you are a leader.

 

Organization & Systems Optimization

If given the freedom in a workplace environment, I will organize my immediate surroundings and/or the tools that I use on a daily basis. I can work with people who are unorganized, but I much rather work with a team of people who agree on what the particular organizational system is and how it will be maintained.

To me, being organized is a sign of respect: it shows that you respect your coworkers, your job and yourself.

Whether we’re talking about miscellaneous computer files or the office stapler, it doesn’t make sense to me to waste time or energy looking for something because someone placed it down haphazardly. Even if the organizational system doesn’t make any sense to an outsider, a quirky organizational system is better than no organizational system.

I value organization because it’s essentially the practice of making a work space more efficient and user-friendly, two things that I feel strongly about. Once I have obtained a thorough understanding of the systems at hand, I oftentimes push to eliminate unnecessary or redundant steps. Any process that is done on a daily basis should only consist of the most essential steps and measures should be taken to allow individuals to complete those steps in the least amount of time possible.

Regardless of the work environment that I’m in, I have a lot that I want to get done and so I want to conserve as much time and energy as I can by minimizing and avoiding inefficiencies. I’ve also found that streamlining is often a win-win process where multiple people prosper, so I enjoy the opportunity to make my colleagues’ jobs easier and more efficient.

Time Management

As you may have gathered from the previous section, I really value time. As a student, I learned that when you have a lot of tasks or responsibilities to accomplish, it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed. Like many people, I don’t care for feeling overwhelmed.

The best remedy, I’ve found, for feeling overwhelmed, is rigorous time management. Know what you need to do and when you need to have it done. Estimate how much time each item will take to be completed in an exceptional way.

As I’ve found, the time to do what you want and need to do usually presents itself if you seek it out.

I personally like making lists and being able to prioritize the items on the list. Once I’ve established the most important things on the list as well as how much time I suspect each task will require to complete, I get to work. Depending on the tasks, I might bang out some of the easier tasks before taking on the more complex ones or I might focus on the difficult tasks first and save the easier ones for later when I might have less energy.

I do my best work in structured environments and have some difficulty walking away from incomplete tasks. I’ve been known to stay late on Friday nights just to make sure that my projects get completed before the weekend. If I do have to walk away from an unfinished project, I make a point to leave instructions behind, so that the next person who encounters it knows what I was doing and what I intend to do.

Flexibility

Sometimes, all the time management in the world cannot help you when the unexpected arises. In these cases, I pride myself in my ability to “go with the flow” and “be cool under pressure.” Being stressed out or unnerved only makes situations worse. Weird little issues generally resolve themselves eventually and normalcy will resume — you just have to endure.

I don’t have an issue with taking on a new assignment on short-notice. I want the team to succeed, so if that means covering someone else’s shift or helping a colleague out with extra work, I am happy to do it.

Media Production

Despite not receiving any formal training on video production or editing, I am proud of the skills that I have developed through DIY means. I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside–and absorb information from–a number of talented friends and colleagues who are knowledgeable about effective strategies for filming and editing video content.

Through working with small production teams, I’ve gained experience as a camera operator, a boom operator, an editor, a producer, a director and even a performer.

Although media production is not my specialty, my skills within it are certainly on the intermediate level. I have a deep understanding of the value of effective pre-production and casting, as well as the time management, focus and creativity that is required when working on set. In the editing room, you need an immense amount of creativity,  knowledge and tenacity to turn raw footage into a high-quality product.

As I’ve found, producing videos is challenging, but in the best possible way.

Producing media content, specifically of the comedic or dramatic nature, is one of my favorite things to do because it requires a tremendous amount of teamwork, imagination and discipline. As a writer, I love having a vision and then getting to work and watch as that vision turns into a tangible product that can be shared with others.

Customer Service

For me, customer service means treating the customer or client like he or she is the only person you’ve helped that day. It sounds a little cheesy, but I believe to deliver exceptional customer service, you need to treat customers and clients the way that you hope your friends and family get treated by professionals. After all, you are helping someone’s sibling, parent, grandparent or friend.

Being respectful, as well as genuinely listening to the customer’s needs and desires and communicating how you can help them, are, in my mind, essential when interacting with a client on behalf of a company.

Besides, it makes me happy to know that my efforts have made someone else happy. When someone asks for help, you’re given the opportunity to deliver some positive energy into their life. Even if I’m in a situation where I can’t honor their exact request, I always strive to end on a positive note.

Computer Skills

As a digital native, I’m comfortable operating computers and various software. While I am by no means an IT guru or programming whiz, I have been able to use my knowledge of computers to help troubleshoot company computers as well as teach my colleagues how to perform certain computer tasks while at work.

I have experience with the Microsoft Office Suite and GoogleDocs and have experience using both PCs and Macs. In terms of Adobe products, I have experience with Photoshop and Premiere. Dropbox is my preferred cloud, however, I also have used Google Drive and OneDrive. I also have experience using Final Draft, as well as the data-analysis program Tableau and the database software CisionPoint.

I am also familiar with POS operating systems in retail environments, specifically CounterPoint.

Otherwise, I am happy to learn new programs — all I need is a quick tutorial and some time to explore its functions and offerings.

 

Want to discuss how my skills and experiences can help you or your organization? Email me at c_gillespie@outlook.com or contact me here