I often hear, “Jennifer, you’re too quiet,” or, ”Jennifer, you need to speak up more.” Last week I gave my ninth speech at my local Toastmasters club. I joined Toastmasters to improve my communications skills. It is a weakness that I choose to work on by joining Toastmasters in order to gain confidence and develop verbal communication skills.
I focus more on my weaknesses, like my communication skills. I have put in the time and effort, and while I have made some improvements, I know that no matter how much time spent giving speeches I am probably never going to be an expert orator. Still, I can rattle off the areas I feel I need to improve and what I can do or am doing to improve, but doing the same for my strengths has been a struggle until recently.
I took the quiz from Strengths Finder 2.0 and was able to get a listing of my top five strengths (1. Deliberative 2. Intellection 3. Strategic 4. Analytical 5. Individualization). The thing that I like about this book and this quiz is the to-do list of items one can do in each area to work on enhancing your strengths.
During my ninth speech last week, I challenged everyone at the meeting to not only work only work on their weaknesses but to also work on further enhancing their strengths so they could be twice as strong by the end of the week. I specifically challenged the group to spend the equivalent one hour they spent at our Toastmasters meeting working on developing one of their strengths or finding out what their strengths are by either doing a self-assessment or taking a quiz like I did.
I also participated in my challenge. Lucky for me I was attending a day and a half ASME segment leadership meeting that week where we discussed and worked on some of the overarching programs and processes for the Energy and Conversion Segment. This meeting fed directly into my Strategic strength looking at some of the bigger picture aspects of conference planning, segment programming, and communications.
Make a goal to work on your strengths just as much as you work on your weakness. Become twice as strong and if you do not know what your strengths are you can always take a quiz or do a self-assessment. What strength are you working on this week?