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Speaking with Confidence Workshop

November 16, 2011

Preparation

I had previously attended my first SSC Meeting, where I put an issue forward in front of the Committee regarding the Library Bookshop Loyalty Scheme. However, I immediately identified that my confidence and communication skills were lacking somewhat, as I felt quite nervous when putting across my point. Therefore, I thought that it would be a very good idea to attend the Speaking with Confidence workshop.

Participation

In the workshop, I worked in a group with 3 others and we had to think of an idea to put forward. The exercise developed our Teamwork skills, which was useful as it helped us to work together to think of a possible issue and then to put this down on paper. However, the main aim was to identify how to formulate an argument. We learned that every point needs a main argument and reasons for this, usually in the form of evidence. I read out the idea (which suggested that emails aren’t the best way of communicating with students) and I felt that my speaking skills were pretty good when talking in front of the others at the workshop. Nevertheless, it was pointed out that I should have been less harsh with the issue. It would have been better to begin with the benefits of  using emails, and then maybe to suggest that alternative ways could also be used in addition to emails, and not to simply remove emails altogether.

I later worked in a pair with another fellow student and we took part in an exercise which showed the importance of both body language and voice projection when speaking in different environments. This helped to improve my confidence as we had to shout across the room to each other, which was an effective way to demonstrate the importance of these two points when speaking publicly.

Action

At my next SSC Meeting on 24/11/11 I put forward a point on the Bibliography and Referencing Tutorial, which was causing some issues with my fellow English students. I emailed the Chair of the meeting in advance, stating that I had an issue to bring forward and then I put my idea forward. I stated that the Tutorial is very useful for students, as Referencing and creating a Bibliography are very important things for English students, as we use these things in the majority of our essays. However, I highlighted some issues of this, including some students’ unawareness of the tutorial; the difficulty in finding it; some parts of it were outdated (eg: the references to pages from last year’s English Handbook) and the fact that it only gave a mark, and not feedback for improvements.

Reflection

It is evident to see that I put the skills I learned at the Workshop into practice at my next SSC Meeting. Firstly, I put forward a formulated argument which was not harsh, as it presented the benefits of the Tutorial before highlighting some issues which have arisen. This helped to validate my argument, as it praised and constructively criticised the Tutorial instead of just simply discrediting it. Additionally, I was much more confident when I put the point forward as I did not feel as nervous as before. Therefore, I was able to confidently state my point, giving it more credibility and it meant that others listened to me and respected what I had to say.

Additionally, I used Communication skills with my fellow students, once again to gather information on issues which had arisen, nevertheless this was only by word-of-mouth again, so I need to develop a more effective way of collecting opinions. This also showed Organisational skills, because I chose to email the Chair beforehand with my point, so it became clear that I was going to speak on this issue at the meeting, helping me to prepare how to structure my argument in advance.

However, I can still certainly develop my Communication and my Argument skills by attending further workshops and practicing more. I can do this in order to help myself to be fully confident when speaking and to be able to formulate an argument even more convincingly and effectively.

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