Do you have the tech skills needed to de-cat yourself or your executive? asks Vickie Sokol Evans

A cat (filter) in court

“I’m here live… I’m not a cat,” said the lawyer. Those big, round, confused eyes were just too hilarious not to share.

And we all saw it – the video of the Texas attorney on a Zoom call who couldn’t turn off the webcam filter that projected him as a cat. In a high stakes call with a district judge, he didn’t know how to use the technology right at his fingertips. What did he do? He asked his Assistant for help.

Technology required

Before the pandemic, digital skills and/or tech savviness were listed in the preferred skills area of most job postings. In today’s world of remote work, they have become critical. Our lives have gone virtual, and Teams and Zoom have replaced catering on the must-have list for meetings.

Most of us no longer have IT or coworkers nearby to bail us out, and executives are becoming increasingly dependent on you, the Assistant, for technical guidance and support. Your executive has probably asked you for help with some form of technology over the past week, and it has most likely increased since the transition to remote work.

Ideally, everyone at your company would be tech savvy, but spending time in training or researching new tools isn’t realistic for most executives. It is realistic for support staff. 

How are your cat skills?

Ask yourself: Am I tech savvy enough to do my job? To save my boss in a virtual meeting gone wrong? Are my digital skills strong enough to successfully support my executive in a high-stakes situation?

Assistants have heard for years that their technology skills need to be better than average, and that trend is increasing exponentially. Awkwardly maneuvering your way through a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet during a screen share isn’t going to cut it in the workplace of the future. 

Every Assistant needs to be able to gracefully navigate and utilize technology tools with confidence. Every Assistant needs to be tech savvy. And that includes you.

What does it mean to be a Tech Savvy AssistantTM?

At RedCape, this is how we define it: The Tech Savvy Assistant uses and embraces relevant technology to successfully execute the role and continually increases their technology skills through informal and formal learning. They develop a plan with their employer (or independently) to determine how their skills will be developed and maintained each year as technology evolves.

Think of someone you know that is well versed in technology. Not someone in IT. Someone you work with. Answer these questions about them:

  • Do they possess the digital skills relevant for the job?
  • Are they confidently using the technology?
  • Are they curious about technology?
  • Do they embrace new technology?
  • Are they resourceful in using technology?
  • Are they always improving their skills?

Test your tech savviness

Now answer the questions above again, but this time about yourself – and be honest. If you answered “yes” to most or all the questions, you’re probably tech savvy! If you want to test yourself further, check out our sample assessment . For a full assessment, go to TechSavvyAdmin.com and get your tech score and recommendations on how to up-level your skills.

The assessment will help you understand your skill level and where your knowledge gaps are. This allows you to plan your development to the greatest benefit for you, your executive, and your company. If your score is lower than you want, don’t feel bad. This is just the beginning of developing a more tech savvy you!

Once you have identified where you need to improve your technology skills, you can create a plan to fill in the gaps with training, practical experience, or research. If you already have a professional development plan, your technology upskilling can be a major component, and many companies will provide financial support for employee development.

The time is now

Imagine being the Assistant who swooped in to instantly de-cat their executive. Or taught their executive how to smoothly screen-share a high stakes presentation. Or with one click removed inconsistent formatting and hyperlinks in a critical email to a VIP client. 

The reason technology is so great is that it’s a learned skill. That means you can find the training you need, learn it today, and tomorrow teach it to your teammates and executive(s). Remember to include your executive in your tech savvy journey so that you have all the support you need to achieve your goals. 

Watch this space for a series of articles diving a little bit deeper into the various core and specialty skills that make up a Tech Savvy Assistant. In the meantime, let’s start with your assessment. 

Now is the time to invest in your technology prowess. After all, the cat filter is really only funny when it happens to someone else.

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Literally making the audiences’ jaws drop, Vickie Sokol Evans, author of the bestselling “100 Tips” series for both PC & Mac, teaches the world’s smartest people how to use their technology better. She's witty, sharp, pointed and knows more about how ... (Read More)

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