Strengths Spotlight: Communication

By Stacey Osborn, Communication & Training Specialist in the Information Technology Division at BSUStaceyOsborn

Strategic| Positivity| Maximizer| Relator| Communication

How do you define this theme of talent for yourself?

Those of us who possess Communication as a theme of talent typically feel comfortable presenting and initiating conversations.  We have the ability to not only speak comfortably but also to listen and utilize those conversational skills to better understand others.  By understanding the needs of others, we can determine what they need to know and communicate to them effectively in a clear, concise manner.

Communication is a very powerful talent to have.  As Norman Douglas stated, “How often could things be remedied by a word. How often is it left unspoken?”

OsbornWhen this talent is applied, what has this theme enabled you to do in your role at BSU?

My position at BSU is Communication & Training Specialist in the Information Technology division.  This talent has allowed me to develop a strength in working with more technical peers to understand complex topics, discern the need to know content, document clearly, and communicate effectively for those less familiar with the topic.  I am typically involved in new technology initiatives and projects to help communicate the impact on members of the BSU community.

I sometimes, jokingly, refer to myself as a translator but in some ways it’s true.  While technology may not be another language, the complexities of various projects and technologies often create barriers to understanding.  I utilize my Communication theme when I translate more technical concepts into simpler terms in both my training role and communications role at the University.

 How is this theme of talent sometimes misunderstood?

After completing StrengthsQuest and reviewing my signature themes, my first thought regarding Communication was, “Of course, even they think I talk too much.”  While having effective Communication is a very powerful tool, it’s important to realize this is much more than just disseminating information to others.  We must take the time to listen to others to ensure we respond appropriately.  I think many of us with Communication could also be outgoing, go-getter types and we need to realize our personality may be a bit much for others to handle.  It’s always important to step back and assess every interaction to see how best to communicate.

 What are ways you have helped this talent to “mature” over the course of your career and experience?

Early in my career, I worked as a Help Desk Specialist at Northeastern University.  My background prior to that role had been primarily customer-service focused positions in the hospitality industry.  I had less technical experience than most but they offered me plenty of training to acquire the necessary skills to succeed.

At Northeastern, I had an amazing mentor.  She reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in transitioning to a Trainer position.  I had no experience with training or presenting. To be honest, I was terrified of public speaking.  I had even dropped a few classes in my undergraduate years because of public speaking requirements.  I made the decision to overcome my fear and nurture my communication skills.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is to over-prepare for everything.  The more comfortable you can be with the content you deliver, the more effective the presentation will be.

Over the years as I became more comfortable with communicating, I began to present outside the work place as well.  I became a tread trainer for an organization called, Tread Lightly.  The course was designed to teach outdoor ethics focused primarily on motorized recreation.  I’ve also worked closely with the PTA at my daughter’s school to help maintain a web presence for parents who were unable to attend meetings.

 As you can see, Communication is a powerful skill to have in every aspect of your life.

Want to learn more about the theme of Communication? Gallup offers a “Theme Thursday” podcast series where they focus on one theme for a full podcast! Check out this great resource!

About cindykane

Director of @BSUInvolved and interested in leadership and professional development strategies. Mom, scholar-practitioner, looking to make an impact!
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One Response to Strengths Spotlight: Communication

  1. Pingback: Strengths Spotlight: Individualization | Professional Development Reflections from Student Affairs at BSU

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