I believe one of my personal strengths in communication is that I can talk to just about anyone. I enjoy talking with people. In communication, my strength would be that I have the ability to listen as well as respond. I enjoy having conversation with people of different cultures, because it gives me a chance to learn more about their lifestyle.
I have learned to communicate well with people, because I am an outgoing person. I communicate better one on one. I have a weakness with communication when it comes to having to speak to a large group of people. I become very nervous, and will sometimes forget what I wanted to say.
My weakness in communication is also when I have to speak in front of the class, or in front of a very large group of people I become nervous, because my weakness of thinking that they are more focused on me than on the information that I will be presenting. I work at that weakness by having the personal strength to try to make the presentation enjoyable so that the focus will not be so much on the speaker but the information be presented to the group.
I have learned through the years that it is important to stay focused on your strengths and not your weaknesses and to realize that for the most part everybody else is probably just as nervous as I am. I have strength in the fact that I can talk about most subjects very freely. I try to communicate just the point I am trying to make and have the point understandable to those who are listening.
Communication for me is easy depending on the topic being discussed. I sometimes have a weakness in the fact that I may be too honest with my answer and do not think before answering. I realize that when you are communicating with people, they really do not want the truth because it hurts and is offensive.
I find that it is much easier for me to communicate, when I have knowledge of the conversation being discussed. I am very weak when it comes to starting a conversation and leading the discussion. I will avoid a conversation as much as possible when I have to present the information to be discussed. In communication, I am also weak in the area that I will choose to listen more that participate.
I also have a weakness in my non-verbal communication skills. The weakness is that sometimes my body language will give a different answer than what I would have spoken. When I am using non-verbal communication as a point of contact I will point out or agree to something from just listening to the topic being discussed. I focus on my non-verbal communication skills, because I want the non-verbal to be just as understandable as the verbal. My body language must not present a different communication than intended. With non-verbal communication, I try to give more eye contact so that there is no misunderstanding of the communication intended. I find nodding your head helps in non-verbal communication, because a nod can say a lot. In my communication skills, I have learned that if I highlight the strengths. Then the weaknesses would not be so obvious.
In having communicated with all different types of people, I once was told that if you stop and think for five seconds before you speak, your communication skills would present themselves in a most intelligent manner. Communication comes somewhat easy for me, because I like to talk, but just talking and not communicating would become a weakness.
I try to always have something to communicate to other people that would be beneficial. Whether communicating verbally or non-verbally your actions will for the most part, represent how you are feeling about a particular subject or discussion. When it is possible always, try to communicate verbally and have the person you are communicating with acknowledge that they understand what you are saying.
Communication, verbally or non-verbally is a very powerful tool and when you understand your strengths and weaknesses in that area you will be able to communicate much more efficiently with people. When you are communicating, with different types of people you will be able to decide if verbal or non-verbal communication would be the best approach according to their logic and the logic of the situation and surrounding environment.
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It's the most reviled interview question of all time:
What is your greatest weakness?
But whether you're a job seeker sitting in an interview for your dream job, or an entrepreneur running your own business, there's a lot you can learn from this question.
Let's take the interview scenario. How would you answer the question above?
a. Denial: I can't really think of any weaknesses.
b. Disguise your strength as a weakness: I'm a perfectionist.
c. Name a trait that will have no real impact on your work: I get really nervous speaking in front of large groups.
d. Confess a real weakness that you feel might lose you the job.
The correct answer is d. Let me explain why.
Answers a--c are garbage. Think about it: Interviewers are asking the same question to dozens, sometimes hundreds of candidates. They've heard everything imaginable, and answers a--c make up about 95% of what gets thrown at them.
But what's the goal of this question?
The interviewer wants to see what unique qualities you bring to the company. How do you face challenges? Can you correctly identify problems? Can you be self-critical?
To honestly confess a real weakness takes self-reflection, insight, and courage. And those are qualities that everyone needs, not just job seekers.
The key is to actually ponder this question. There are no microwave answers. You might think about what troubles you've had in the past, and how you've learned from them. How have you made yourself better? It can help to ask others to give you honest feedback. All of this takes time and consideration.
Most importantly, make sure to identify how you're fighting your weakness(es). If it's a personality flaw, what measures are you taking to combat it? How do you plan on overcoming it?
Take a look at this type of answer in action--let's say you're the interviewer. You ask the question, and you're met with the following response:
I've discovered a major weakness of mine is my desire to be a peace maker--to a fault. I have the tendency to be 'too nice'...which can be a major problem for a leader of a team. Often I have to tell people what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. This doesn't come naturally to me.
I've known for years that this is a special challenge of mine, so I give a lot of attention to my feedback style. I prepare thoroughly before delivering constructive criticism; I make sure it's backed up with examples or research if needed. Sometimes I even practice out loud how I want to say it, so I can speak with more confidence.
To be clear, the answer above is not 'what you're supposed to say' to answer this question. There is no 'what you're supposed to say'. This is an example of what one person might come up with, based on self-reflection and feedback from others. Truth be told, it's an honest assessment of one of my greatest weaknesses.
Your answer will (and should) look totally different; it should fit your personality and experiences. Most of all, it should be honest.
Most people hate this question because they're not in the habit of trying to make themselves better--which is exactly why this question can be helpful. If you're afraid of putting yourself out there in front of a total stranger, just remember: The person who will benefit most from this answer is you.
And that's why, whether you're looking for a new job or you're already your own boss, the answer to this question is invaluable.
So even if you never answer it for anyone else, make sure you can answer it for yourself.