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Aleksis, Managing Consultant

It was my first day as a manager at the Speaking Center and I was opening for the day. Since it was early into the Fall Semester of 2015, we did not have a steady stream of speakers, but more a titanic torrent of hurried CST students showing up for appointments. Everyone was on their feet. I did not have a key yet, but thankfully Kim and Erin had already opened shop and unlocked all the doors. Once inside I went through the usual task of opening and closing I did as a consultant.

The often over-lapping responsibilities between managing and consulting staff came in handy as I prepped the equipment, head-checked for the shift and gleaned through the paperwork After signing-in as “Manager on duty,” I felt a sense of camaraderie as my Center colleagues respected the name I now go by. I saw it changed on the schedules and other paperwork and virtually everyone seemed to have gotten use to calling me Aleksis. This show of mutual respect made the first day of my position a lot easier. However there were also challenges on the first day. Over the Summer session the Speaking Center had made a lot of renovations and updates; most notable to me where the new digital cameras we would be recording speakers on. Though I was not working that Summer and subsequently had not been trained with these particular cameras, I was able to figure it out fairly quickly during my morning shift through personal investigation and some quick questions directed at our directors and Taylor, one of our graduate assistants.

Throughout the day, I had consultant-managers I was working with help me get accustom to the tasks I needed to accomplish. I also found a check-list of sorts in my mailbox, courtesy of our directors. Both of these resources made me feel more confident in a position of greater responsibility.

It seemed a bit odd at first, to interact with other consultants as the ‘manager’, but thanks to our interpersonal skills so crucial to our work, this did not last for very long. Delegating tasks to other consultants was soften by phrasing it as a suggesting, or an inquiry for assistance: “Could you help me with this?” “Would you mind doing this for me?”

In turn, newer consultants fresher out of 390 (our speaking center theory and practice course) than I, as well as the current semester’s 390’s had plenty of questions for me. Questions of policy; questions of consultant speaker dynamics – all of which were made easier to address thanks to my training and the constant dialogue we as staff engage in.

Here at the Center, we lead by example. We take opportunities to train consultants and 390’s as they present themselves; we are flexible and constantly improvising. Our procedures have enabled me to strengthen my interpersonal skills, conflict management, leadership, and decision making. The first day was a success.

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