There’s no question that we can accelerate our career advancement by focusing on our PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT and strategically UPSKILLING, whether it’s taking a course to acquire formal accreditation, doing a “lunch & learn” workshop at work, or hiring someone to coach you through a “development opportunity” identified in your recent performance evaluation…

 i am still learning upskilling
image: Unsplash @ brett_jordan

Recently I interviewed CHERRY SIU (Chief of Staff – global clients & industries at Deloitte), about what skills are valued at that organization and how people acquire those skills. Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals.

Yes, we talked COMMUNICATION SKILLS, plus a lot more. What a privilege that conversation was!  I hope you enjoy this episode.

We concluded with a list of 7 SKILLS to PROPEL YOUR CAREER ADVANCEMENT. You can use this as a checklist to determine where you might focus your personal development and upskilling efforts.  

Read on to learn:

  • 7 skills to propel your career advancement
  • what “the airport test” is
  • 3 ways to upskill

Cherry Siu Deloitte Upskilling

Thank you, Cherry!

Enjoy the PODCAST!





  • Technical skills are a baseline requirement, often the accreditation that gets you hired or a designation that signals your interest and aptitude. This is what we learn in school, and also what we’re later exposed to on the job. For us ambitious folks, this is the technical stuff that we actively and continuously seek to learn. 
  • You can be a strong B+ with technical skills.  It’s the other, “soft” skills that can elevate you to an A+. Recently, one of my clients “Ken” aptly commented how ironic it is that we refer to technical skills as the “hard” skills, and everything else as “soft” skills.  In fact, upskilling our soft skills can be more difficult (harder).  Great point! 

Are your technical skills up-to-date?



  • Cherry highlighted that employees who look after their well-being, their mental and physical health, optimize their performance. This includes things like work-life balance, nutrition, exercise, etc.
  • Yes, this is a skill! It’s having the knowledge and discipline to look after ourselves so we can perform at our best

Do you have the knowledge and discipline
to look after your personal well-being?



  • Cherry mentioned a few times how being flexible and being a quick learner is key to success in professional services. Think agility and the ability to pivot. 
  • This means learning new skills as your clients change or as the world changes. The significance of this skill was amplified by the pandemic! 

Are you agile?
How are you with change?



  • Establishing trust and positive interpersonal dynamics with our team members and clients/customers can certainly help our careers. This reminds me of our elementary school report cards, where we got graded on “plays well with others.”  It turns out that “working well with others” can affect your career!
  • Cherry shared THE AIRPORT TEST:  Ask yourself, if your co-workers got stuck in an airport with you for 8 hours, would they ever want to work with you again?  Would your relationship get stronger, or would you drive them crazy?  

Do you have strong work relationships?
How would your colleagues feel about spending 8hrs with you in an airport?



  • If I had to choose, listening would be my choice as the one most essential communication skill.
  • Cherry added some helpful nuance:  You can demonstrate the positive effects of active listening by synthesizing information (in a complex meeting or a long podcast episode!). Active listening is more than just digesting information.  It’s also identifying the key takeaways. 
  • (Yes, this is what I do for every podcast episode… synthesize and summarize the key learnings!)

Are you an active listener?
Can you listen and synthesize information – in real-time?



  • Confidence includes both how you feel as well as how you’re perceived. And it impacts your credibility.
  • Cherry talked about having executive presence, as in looking and acting like a trusted leader.  This includes knowing when to speak up, managing your pace, your tone, your vocabulary, and yes, those UMMs and AHs

How is your executive presence?
Are you perceived as confident?



  • Going beyond facts and figures with storytelling makes your message more impactful and memorable.  Take your audience on a journey with storytelling.
  • Cherry said, “At Deloitte storytelling is everything. And it’s not just with oral communication, it’s also written. Every time we do a proposal, it’s about storytelling.”

Do you actively use storytelling?



Which 1-2 of these 7 skills should you focus on to UPSKILL?
talk about talk upskilling list

(See page 2 of the shownotes for your one-page checklist covering these 7 skills – click HERE)



Love to learn, upskill image unsplash @ timmossholder
Image: Unsplash @ timmossholder

Cherry and I covered 3 general ways to upskill:


More on these in the PODCAST

I hope these personal development and upskilling insights inspire you!!  Thanks again to Cherry Siu for so generously sharing her insights.

Please forward this email to anyone who might appreciate insights on upskilling and communication skills. Thank you! 

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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