My experience in Professor Richard's class, Employability and Practitioner Skills has been a very fruitful one. Apart from the academic subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Business etc. that we learn in our middle school and high school, there are many important aspects that the school does not pay attention to. Some of these aspects such as personal branding, effective presentation, negotiation and persuasion skills, networking etc. were taught to us in this subject.
We started the course by knowing ourselves better by associating ourselves with a brand/ person. Another activity that helped us have a personal insight was by preparing an individual SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats) table. These learning are important for my future prospects in life, as no one knows me better than myself. I got a clearer picture about myself by making the SWOT table with complete honestly and hence, I can work towards further improving my Strengths, working on my Weaknesses, capitalizing on the opportunities available and detecting the threats and trying to eliminate them before its too late.
Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands or people. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. This activity shows who you are and what you stand for, what you do best and your unique benefits and value. I have chosen Redbull as my personal brand. I associate myself with Redbull as I have traits such as being active, courageous, adventurous, risk taking and energetic at all times. I also have immense love for adventure sports and I strive to be a global person who has the zeal to excel in difficult tasks. I push myself and always take that extra step, thus living by the tagline, “To test the fighter in you”. There are various benefits of developing a personal brand. Some of them are boosting confidence, building credibility, and showcasing your specialty. There can be few drawbacks from personal branding such as it rejects the multilayers of a personality, limits the ability to explore other options and lastly, it might connect the personal and professional life together.
The next skill that we learn was about Effective Presentations. To explore what do we mean by effective presentation, we need to be clear that presentation has a very broad meaning. A presentation is a mode of communication that can be adapted to various speaking situations, such as talking to a group, addressing a meeting, briefing a team, making a speech at a wedding, or getting a point across in a video conference. In the modern world, effective communication and presentation skills have become an absolute necessity.
An effective presentation makes the best use of the relationship between the presenter and the audience. It takes full consideration of the audience's needs in order to capture their interest, develop their understanding, inspire their confidence and achieve the presenter's objectives. In order to ace a presentation, careful planning and preparation is essential. Here are some of the areas that needs to be focused on during a presentation:
b) Choosing the main points
c) Choosing your support information
d) Developing an opening
e) Establishing linking segments
f) Developing a conclusion
g) Reviewing your presentation
As we have already seen how widely presentations are used, lets throw some light on the advantages of effective presentation. Some of them are the engagement with the audience, flexibility, consistency and versatility. As a business student, the advantages of effective communication are building morale, increasing retention, professionalism, ability to sell, build stronger customer relationships and finally, being recognized and appreciated.
To cover a disadvantage, lets look at a case when a teacher is presenting a topic in front of a class, Instead of using the presentation as a visual aid, it is used to show endless bullet point lists. Many a times, a situation is created where the teacher simply read their Powerpoint to their students and the students just sit there, bored, and wonder why they bothered to turn up when they could have just accessed the slides online. Powerpoint has potential but it needs to be an additional tool - not the prime teaching tool. The prime teaching tool should always be the teacher/lecturer. Well, in this case, the issue is with the lecturer that can very well be rectified.
The next topic that we covered was Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. This generally included three skills:
1. Emotional Awareness
2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like problem solving
3. Manage as well as regulate emotions, including cheering up or calming down the other person.
High Emotional intelligence will let you to change the majority of the negative energy into motivation. Some more pros are, faster decision making, reducing the likelihood of engaging in personally destructive behavior and improving a person's social effectiveness.
On the flip side, a person with a high EQ will understand how the emotion works on other people. Thus, this can be used for personal gain and to manipulate the other person.
Later in the course, we learnt and developed about negotiation and persuasion skills. Persuading involves being ale to convince others to take appropriate action by developing a line of reasoned argument, backing up points with logic, emphasizing the positive aspects of your argument and getting the points across in a clam but assertive manner.
Negotiation means being able to discuss and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement by listening to the needs of the other party and establishing a win-win situation. Open and encouraging body language will help and the key is in knowing when to compromise. Some major benefits for developing these skills are conflict resolution, problem solving, professional development and advancement and proficient communication.
One of the last topics in our course was networking. Networking is creating a group of associates and acquaintances and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking has lots of benefits. Some are Expansion of business, connections, advice, opportunities, raising your profile, positive influence, increased confidence and friendship. Some cons might be false or unreliable information and discrimination.
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