Magoosh GRE

Critical assessment of self

| April 2, 2015

Introduction

Without a critical assessment of self, there can be no true understanding and a deep sense of self awareness. It is only true such self awareness that one can determine his strengths and reflect upon his weaknesses while making the necessary improvements for a better future. The aim of this paper is to critically reflect on the self – regarding my four main preferred academic areas namely: Presentation, consultancy, team working skills and leadership style. For each of the following, a critical reflection is conducted based on the lessons learnt, improvements made and challenges encountered. The critical reflection also documents evidence on a list of activities undertaken and some of its implications so far for my personal and professional development. The reflection is grouped into four different stages – each – giving evidence on the above stated.

Presentation Skills

Effective presentation not only portrays confidence and preparedness, it is a way of developing oneself and showing one’s level of professionalism. According to John Schuerholz (2003); Clear, honest, precise and consistent communication is the ultimate tool for effective presenters and is essential in captivating presentations. As also noted by Dempsey (2001) effective presentation includes the art of speaking – either through short impromptu speech or long hauled speaking and using multimedia tools such as power point, etc., In the course of taking this module and other modules since the start of my course, there has been a deep personal involvement in several tasks each demanding one form of presentation or another. Most often, there has been the need to speak in the classroom regarding a subject or display my knowledge about specific issues on certain occasions. As a result of such occasions there has been the need for me to present using the power point. In all circumstances, presenting has been very challenging but interesting but not as easy as it seemed. I have found that without adequate preparations one never gets to perform his best and do not get the best grades that one deserves. One of the important lesson learned has been that at every opportunity to present, it is always a way to develop, challenge and push oneself beyond comfort zones. Researching is also one of the important skills learned and it involves learning and understanding new information before passing them on. This has had huge impact on my knowledge and capability and has helped to further strengthen my analytical skills – because presenting involves a good analytical skill for the fact that after one consumes an information to be presented, such information must be properly analysed before being passed on to the final stage of presenting.
In addition, since presenting involves communicating clearly in order to succinctly pass information to the audience, I have learned and developed a better art of communication by aiming to listen more and consume more information before making a judgement and passing them on. Through this process, the opportunity has been presented to hone my fine art of communication.
To a reasonable extent, it has been learned that presenting requires an understanding of the audience and their preferences as well as their behaviours and expectations as this would help to tailor ones presentation to their specific needs and expectations. In the last years, my understanding of my fellow students’ behaviours and preferences has helped me significantly to develop better presentation skills. For example most of my colleagues do not like consuming too much information and being bombarded with much data – they simply prefer visual aids such as pictures, cartoons, bullets points and sometimes funny stuffs. In responding to this, my aim has been to present using more visual aids such as pictures and brief case studies in my presentations. While I have come a long way in improving my presentation skills, there are still many challenges ahead and many areas of weaknesses in which there is need to consider in order to improve myself. One of such areas is how to present within a given time and cover all the needed points succinctly without getting my audience bored. On several occasions, the feedbacks received following my presentations been that I am not time conscious and in-depth in my analysis and presentation. These are some of the main challenges which I aim to develop over the course of the coming semester.
Consultancy Skills
As an aspiring professional in the field of consulting, possessing the right skill sets will not only help to become a good professional consultant in my chosen discipline but will help to develop and furnish me with valuable information and knowledge needed to excel in life. According to the CIPD some of the important elements of a professional consultant are that he must be able to communicate effectively, have good problem solving skills, be creative, analytical and understanding. These skills will help to successfully diagnose and evaluate problems proficiently while developing the right solutions that will not solely lie on the symptoms but effectively, the causes.
Although less emphasis have been placed on learning consultancy skills during the course of my studies however, important skills related to key consultancy skills have been learned. This has included good communications skills both at personal and interpersonal levels. This involves, oral, written and presentation. In addition to the above, some of the complex and modern arts of communication and the role played by technology in recent times have been understood. It has been particularly recognized communication is a two way process that cannot be complete until the other party gets the information clearly and precisely, as a result one must be precise and coherent in his communication with other people and audience each time the opportunity presents itself. To a great extent, this will help in my consulting career as I will be able to build upon it to develop rapport and interpersonal relationships with people and as a result make useful contact. Through the course of my studies so far tricks of analysis and problem solving skills through various classroom teachings, assignments and tasks were learned. Through most of the previous coursework’s undertaken in the past, opportunity has presented itself to hone my critical thinking and problems solving skills and the opportunities were grabbed. Particularly, since classroom teachings helped toward this by requiring serious reflection and a contextual understanding of the case presented I have had to use critical thinking through the application of theory and conscientiousness to solve most of the presented problems. I am confident this would help me as a consultant where most of the tasks involved would be problem solving, analysis and theory application. Although, there is understanding of some theories and their application, however, as more progress in achieved, there should be better prospects to build upon this.
Team Working Skills

It is indeed common knowledge that increasingly more, contemporary organisations are placing more emphasis on team work and matrix organisational structure in which the development of the organisation depends on the team members and effectively on individuals who belong to each team. This has necessitated the need for individuals who aim to work in modern organisations to develop team working skills. As a student I have had many opportunities to work as a member of a team on several occasions and this has added to my knowledge and skills of team work. I have seen other teams perform and have had the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on the workings of a team and how it should function. In many of the modules which I have undertaken so far I have also belonged to one team or another where the task is to solve a problem to achieve a common goal – while it has been very challenging understanding other people and working with them because of different culture, orientation and background, I have nevertheless learnt that team work makes work faster, better and efficient. By collaborating and working with other team members in many ways I have learnt to tap into the intellectual and other resources possessed by others sensibly while learning to reflect on my weaknesses and at the same time contributing to the group work at hand. In team work, I have come to understand the power of diversity and collaboration which are two successful concepts in modern organisational culture and how it can be forged by being able to work as a member of a team. As a team member, I have always volunteered to lead and have come to the understanding that team work can sometimes prove difficult it can be interesting and rewarding.
Although there are many problems associated with being a member of a team as I have experienced several times in the past. For example as a team member of 5 in a module where we have to do a class presentation, only 3 people turned up from the beginning including me and – it was not until the final day that the fourth person turned up. The problem with this is that other team members had to take responsibility for the other students’ task when they did not appear. As a result other group members were overworked and stressed as they carried too much burden which affected other things in which they were involved.
Another problem with working as part of a team is that other people do not often have the type of commitment and dedication that one has and so, they choose to work at their own pace and not the pace in which other committed group members would like to work. This slows work and reduces the speed and efficacy of the team and its final outputs. To this effect, one of the important lessons I have learned during my course of studies is that one more be tolerant of others and accept others mistake as part of the challenges of the given task. This would eventually help to achieve the desired outcome while in the end making friends and building capacities.

Questionnaire Design
The importance of questionnaire lies in its ability to help to gather the needed data in most given research contexts (Saunders et al, 2000). Especially when purposefully designed, questionnaires can help to gather precise data concerning a particular issue or event, it is most often used in academia and businesses to obtain information from participants regards the issue concerned. During the course of the modules undertaken so far in my degree, the importance of questionnaires were taught and understood, their design and how they are best distributed to intended participants were also learned. Also, there has been better understanding of various forms of questionnaire designs, for example, I understand where and how to ask open ended and close questions, I have learnt how to ask questions that are not bias or subjective to my interpretation but one which is objective and which will serve the best interest of the research concerned. In one of my previous modules – the task was given to me to design a questionnaire while administering it to participants; this has given me more understanding of its workings and some of its complexities. One of the problems I usually encounter however is how to statistically analyse the data obtained through the questionnaire. The often presents itself as a challenge and has led to me loosing significant marks in one of my previous modules.
Conclusions
In this paper, I have reflected upon four main important skills: considering the lessons learnt and problems encountered. I have also presented evidence on the lessons, skill development and how I have undertaken each activity. Having reflected on the different skills, it is important to state that while I have learned several lessons, there is still more to be learned and a lot of hurdles to break.

References
CIPD. Consultancy Skills, available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/training/MANCS Accessed 10th April, 2012
Dempsey J.D (2001). Present your way to the top, McGraw Hill
Schuerholz, J (2003). The art of presenting through communication, in Dempsey J,.D (2001) Present your way to the top.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2000) Research Methods for Business Students, 2nd edition, London: Pitman Publishing

Category: Reflective Essay Examples