Though many attempt to avoid the task, regularly evaluating one’s own work, habits, objectives, strengths, and areas for improvement is necessary for any successful professional. Consistent self-reflexivity will allow you to understand what you need to work on to become a stronger professional, as well as help you to identify opportunities for advancing to the next level in your career.
While critical self-reflection can be a challenge, luckily there are many resources available to help you improve where you need it. In this post, we outline a few common areas for improvement, as well as some tips and training opportunities to tackle them.
When you ask yourself how you could improve, how do you answer?
- “I am uncomfortable presenting in front of groups.”
Many people admit that public speaking is their biggest challenge. If you find yourself constantly dreading the next presentation you have to give or the next time you are in front of the boardroom, plan to take concrete steps – before, during, and after your presentation – to alleviate your fears.Before you speak publicly, do what you can in advance to make yourself as prepared as possible: Practice your presentation at least three times before you deliver it to others. Craft a winning PowerPoint or Prezi presentation that you feel proud of. If possible, rehearse with the presentation equipment so you can be sure that technical difficulties won’t arise.
During the presentation, your own body language can make you feel more confident. Try striking a power pose: even if you don’t feel confident, making yourself look strong and competent – or, “faking it until you make it” – will actually make you feel better.
After a presentation, take a few minutes for further self-reflection. Ask yourself, “What went well? Where could I have improved?” Taking stock when an experience is fresh in your mind will help you to prepare for next time.
- “I have issues communicating with difficult colleagues.”
Effective communication is so important to the success of individual professionals and a workplace as a whole. But when internal or external contacts are difficult to communicate with, it can be tempting to just give up entirely on communicating effectively.Not so fast. Avoiding communication may be an easy fix in the short-term, but good communication skills are vital for long-term professional relationships. In fact, a lack of effective communication may even be the root of the problem. Straightforward, clear communication with a positive tone – whether in face-to-face conversation, email, or over the phone – is the best way to go. Negative comments or the “cold shoulder” are never constructive in business.
Additionally, refining your Executive Presence will lead to good communication skills. Executive Presence can enable you to solve issues in the workplace, and can help you build rapport with others and foster positive relationships. Corporate Class Inc. Executive Presence training programs and seminars can help you to improve these skills.
- “During stressful situations, I can’t think straight or I become irrational or angry.”
The ability to maintain grace under fire is a key element of Executive Presence. Of course, this is easier said than done. One major way to improve the way you handle intense pressure in a stressful situation is to manage your overall workplace stress. To keep stress in check on a daily basis, try taking short breaks throughout the day, schedule activities outside of work that focus on other goals or interests, and stay organized. Attempting to stay calm and composed on a regular basis will help you keep control when situations escalate.You will also need tactics for those especially intense moments. If a stressful situation involves a colleague or another contact, Psychology Today’s Preston Ni suggests taking a deep breath and slowly counting to ten before saying something you might regret. Or, if you are at the brink of a difficult decision, Ni recommends doing a cost-benefit analysis by listing pros and cons and numbering them in order of importance. This allows you to step out of the stress and see situations in a logical way.
In which areas do you need to improve? How do you stay self-reflective?