We all improve our skills with help from others
We had an interesting and fun session doing something most of us are sometimes uncomfortable doing. The students shared their feedback on personal introductions, which at first can be extremely uncomfortable and for some a new experience. At first we all tend to be tentative and shy when presenting to others and then even more reserved when we have to provide constructive feedback to a fellow group member.
This past Wednesday's group was given their introduction assignment along with a guide in offering positive feedback. I don't think there are very many of us that have that instant skill of presenting to others. In my past life I found that our learning and development team spent a good amount of time and effort working with seasoned professionals in presentation skills. Providing constructive feedback is even more of challenge for most folks. The challenge in offering positive feedback is offering compliments that don't become less meaningful when suggestions are made to improve the presentation. How many times have you heard "that was really good BUT..."? The use of the verbal eraser, in this case "but", takes away anything positive that was said. We only hear the negative and much of the time we start filtering the comment out.
Student Flora Gallegos shared; at first the personal introduction seemed quite easy. However once we began drafting our introduction statements to present to the group it became clear that it was very difficult to put in words everything about ourselves in the form of a short introduction. When we presented it was a small group of our peers we were still nervous. However with positive feedback and suggestion from the group we learned how to improve our speeches as well as learning positive attributes of introduction giving from observing the other group mates.
This exercise was meant to be a simple and focused way to learn about improving presenting and at the same time help others become better speakers. What was offered as feedback was given with smiles and directness helping to improve each individual's introduction. Some of the most common challenges we noted were speaking too fast, forgetting what to say and voice projection. The shared feedback acknowledges some great work and some areas to focus on improving. Improvement ideas were done in a very positive and friendly manner. What is so dynamic about this process is listening for the input on how to improve oneself. We all want to improve ourselves and in this exercise with specific positive feedback we eagerly accept the kind and thoughtful suggestions from others. There is another outcome of this exercise. We highlight what we hear and like what others presented in such manner that it makes one "feel good". Compliments are sometimes taken for granted but they can be very refreshing and confidences building in the context of helping others improve a skill.
Hopefully this little sharing will spur you on to helping others be the best they can be! A big thank you to Flora Gallegos for assistance in our sharing this little story.
Thank you for caring, supporting and believing in our future leaders.
Roy B. Martinez
President, Rising Stars in the Southwest
My Dream by Alexandria Sanchez
If you were to ask me who I am, I wouldn't have an answer. I could tell you what I like to do, what I am proud of, and who want to be, but you will have to create your own assumptions of who am. If I had to pick two things that I could always see myself doing, they would be: expressing myself and helping others.
Today, I express myself through running and art. When I run, I clear my mind, and I am able to focus on the scenery around me while also trying to achieve faster times each day. Through art, I can create and build whatever I want without rules or boundaries to cage in dreams or imagination. These two hobbies have provided me with skills I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life. For example, as someone who has experienced asthma, many foot injuries, and severe allergies while running, I have learned that we often are faced with mental battles that prevent us from approaching things in one way and must adapt to viewing the world differently. Whereas, art helps me stay focused while conveying messages that I think are important. These forms of expression have given me patience, new perspectives, and a way to voice my opinion.
In the work force and throughout life, I hope to utilize those skills to better the lives of others. Currently, I volunteer with a summer camp that helps children who are affected or infected by HIV or AIDS, and I would like to continue to pursue this kind of work in the future. A dream job of mine would be becoming an art therapist or a speech-language pathologist for kids. The skills I have developed may greatly help me succeed. Patience would allow me to empathize with those who have physical, mental, and emotional challenges they must face each day. With these challenges, I will be able help them approach each difficulty with different techniques. Every child has an imagination, which offers fresh perspectives. I can help them find and use their voice similar to the way I have learned to use mine. These dream jobs may be fulfilling and have a huge benefit on others and myself.
With these thoughts, I hope to continue to volunteer, create art, run, and become a Rising Star.
Alexandria is a junior at Santa Fe High School