This paper is reflecting on some of the activities I was involved in after class. I wrote this paper also when I was the president of my fraternity and in the middle of an organizational change. I often had to rely on some of my mentors for advice.
25 September 2007
Reflection Paper II
I was speaking with one of my mentors just the other night about a few problems that were evident in our fraternity. Being the president of the fraternity and as being a former president himself, he said to me, “The hardest part about being president is managing the wide range of maturity levels in the chapter, there are eighteen year olds that act like thirty year olds and twenty-three year olds that act like five year olds.” This got me thinking about myself, I thought about where my maturity level was when I was eighteen and how it is now just three years later.
When I first came into school I was a very timid communicator. I was the person in class who would get worked up to say “hear” when my name was called on the roll. Now, I lead weekly chapter meetings, give many presentations with ease, and am able speak in front of large audiences.
So what happened in the last three years? Did I just “grow up” and suddenly be able to communicate better? I thought to my self and realized the old adage is correct, “with age comes experience,” and through my experiences I have learned to become a better communicator. As you go through college you meet many people from different backgrounds, and regions, have different jobs and get training in many different fields. I have concluded that without these experiences that took place in my life it would not be possible to communicate the way I do now.
During my first few years in college I progressed slowly but surly but it was in the last year that I have “aged” and gained much of the training and experience that benefit me as a person and the way a communicate. Without this I, as a person, would not have aged at all.
It started when taking the first speech class, the one required by the University. I do admit, it was a bit of a joke but it did help progress as a communicator and find out my weaknesses when communicating. I found out that when I am nervous, I tend to speed up and talk too fast, but that only happens when I am giving a speech. When I am teaching, or communicating in a group this does not happen, so now when I am giving a speech I just pretend that I am teaching everyone in the audience my notes. This class was my first step into being a successful communicator.
Other experiences that have helped me are leadership institutes. For example, when you become a chapter president in my fraternity, you are sent to Greensboro, North Carolina for a three day rigorous course. Here we studied everything from counseling, to chapter operations, to public speaking. This gave me confidence. I have realized that if there is no confidence when you are communicating, the words will not be taken seriously.
In conclusion I believe that age has affected my communication skills more than any other factor. Through time I have gathered wealth information that will help me communicate throughout life, and also know that the information and skills gathered so far are just the beginning to being an exceptional communicator.