Self Assessment of Communication Strengths and Weaknesses

HUC 108.1252
Date: 09/23/2007
Natalia Kolganova
Self Assessment of Communication Strengths and Weaknesses
Our strength grows out of our weakness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It is not a secret that nobody is perfect in this world. We are all human beings and have
our strong and weak sides. This is true in everything, whether it is our physical or mental health,
our character, personality, or skills. A lot of people might agree that it takes a lot of courage to
recognize and to admit your weaknesses. It is always easy to evaluate others, but when it comes
to self assessment, we prefer to stay in the shade of ignorance, and that is an absolutely wrong
approach. In order to fight weaknesses and transform them into strengths we have to know them,
especiall, if we are talking about our communication skills. Communication is one of the most
important aspects of every person’s life. People’s perception of you depends on how you interact
with them. As for me, I went through a long and comprehensive process of communication skills
development facing hardships that, I believe, occur because of my character and the fact that
English is my second language. So, let’s see what the results of this process are.
To begin, I will talk about what I believe I am good at. Since I was a child, I was taught
to respect others. Therefore, the ability to listen carefully while others are speaking was always a
plus. I consciously try not to interrupt the speaker and let him/her finish the thought before I
respond or ask a question. Moreover, I can hardly remember having any problems when
participating in small group conversations, whether it was chatting with my friends or talking to
my manager and colleges at work. Of course, a misunderstanding happens sometimes, but it is a
very rare incident. I believe, this fact demonstrates that I have good verbal delivery and can
explain my ideas clearly and logically. However, my major problem in the sphere of oral
communication is that it is very difficult for me to avoid arguing. I am very stubborn by nature,
and when I am 100% sure that I am right in any particular situation or I truly believe that my
point of view is correct, I want to prove it to the whole world in any possible way. Nevertheless,
as I become more mature, I try to cultivate patience within myself and be more loyal to my
Regarding my writing skills, I can best evaluate them from the criticism of my ESL class
professor. Almost every work that I handed out to him had the same comment, “Good
development of ideas. Pay attention to fluency.” This means that I had a couple of awkward
sentences or phrases in my essays. And it is obvious why. Being in the country only for two
years, I have not fully adapted to the English language yet. Sometimes, not knowing the exact
equivalent of the phrase in English, my brain automatically uses the method of a direct
translation. In this case we all know what happens: the sentence sounds like a well done foolish
job of an electronic translator. Being so, I do not consider this an extremely serious problem
because fluency comes with time and practice. Another weakness that I have is the lack of
vocabulary which can be mastered only by plentiful reading and being close friends with a
I would also like to mention the first day in this class last week. To tell you the truth, it
had an incredible impact on me. I left the class shocked and speechless; my body was shaking
from being in a constant tension for almost two hours. Giving a spontaneous presentation with
just a little time for preparation was an absolutely new experience for me. Though I have done
this sort of activity before, it was either in Russian which is my first language or at least in front
of people that I knew very well. Therefore, last week I felt like I was standing in front of judges
and their decision whether I would live or not totally depended on my presentation. It was a
scary feeling, I must say, and I was extremely nervous. Nevertheless, it was also a positive
experience in some way because it helped me to better understand what I have to work on. First
of all, it is my confidence. I have to overcome the complex of being a second language speaker
and my phobia of a large crowd of people. Second of all, I have to work on nonverbal delivery,
pay attention to posture, gestures and so on; I have to figure out how to put all the rules of oral
communication together and not to get confused at the same time. Finally, the most important
thing is that I have to find a way to control my feelings because, if the topic of presentation is
related somehow to my past or present life, my emotions are taking over.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I have great expectations from this class. I hope
that it will help me with all the problems that I have mentioned before and will coach me in my
efforts if not to master, than certainly to improve my communication skills. Of course, I do not
anticipate any miracles to happen, but I believe that the fact that I know what my weaknesses are
and that I have strong willingness to correct them is a good start. I am ready for hard work
because, as one of the Russian proverbs says, “Success and rest do not sleep together”.