Wellbeing & Support

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Wellbeing & Support

How to turn your weaknesses into strengths

Written by Business Ambassador Kadri Ann Rebane

As a part of Future Focus, there was a Hot Seat Interview competition where students applied to a mock graduate position and the 3 best candidates are interviewed by a panel of judges who selected a winner.

As a final year marketing student who spends a lot of time applying to different graduate positions, I decided to challenge myself and take part in the competition to practice and improve my interview skills and get personal feedback. Not even imagining I would get to the finals, I was surprised and excited to receive an email announcing that I would be interviewed in front of a classroom of people as one of the 3 finalists.

What makes you nervous?

That was the final question that was asked and I was thought to myself that there couldn’t be a more relevant question due to public speaking and being in front of an audience making me terrified. Or I should rather say, it used to make me terrified. Now it makes me just nervous. I remember in my first year I attended the same event as an audience member, I admired those brave students being interviewed in front of everybody and thought that there was nothing in this world that would make me voluntarily be in their shoes.  

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Develop your weaknesses, not only your strengths!

I realised that to be successful, I had to step out of my comfort zone and find ways to improve my public speaking skills. But how to turn a weakness into a strength?

Find opportunities to practice in a safe environment 

Being a student is the best way to improve your weaknesses. The University provides a safe learning environment, so use it! I decided to start taking the lead to present group work in my seminars and forced myself to speak out and interact in lectures. It was scary in the beginning as I felt uncomfortable with my language skills and didn’t want to look silly in front of my course mates. But everybody is in the same position, we all have weaknesses and come to uni to learn, so you’re not alone.

Push yourself further

After a while, I gained confidence presenting seminar work and speaking out in lectures, which meant I needed a further challenge. I was working as a START UP Intern during my second year and the job presented various opportunities to speak publically such as hosting and presenting events and lecture shout outs. I could have wiggled out of those responsibilities, but instead, I set myself a goal to take every opportunity I could to practice my public speaking.

Ask from feedback and suggestions

It’s also important to ask for feedback from the people you can trust and who give good and constructive feedback. They can help you develop your skills, give you the extra motivation and encouragement and point out any suggestions and tips to develop further. I was lucky to have a course mate and a colleague whose public speaking skill I admired, and I asked her to help me in my journey.

Be proud of your improvements

Being a person who always tries to achieve my best, I sometimes push myself too hard. It’s  important to recognise your improvements and when you think you are not good at something, acknowledge the learning journey and how much you have improved since you started working on your weakness. I was proud of myself when the judges announced that I had actually won the Hot Seat Interview competition! I realised that I still have a long way to go, but I have overcome my weakness and turned it into a strength which is worth being proud of.

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