Friday, 22 November 2019

Ten things I learnt from SELA Bootcamp

Sadan Al Shweikini, Cohort 2019

I am a member of the newest SELA Cohort, having joined the programme in September. I am delighted to be part of this community, that provides the perfect environment to grow and become the excellent leaders we want to be.

I am currently a second-year Structural Engineering and Architecture student. I joined SELA not just to become a future leader, but to also improve my personality by becoming more confident, better at public speaking, and improve my self-awareness and negotiations skills.

We went for two days on a residential weekend to attend the annual SELA Bootcamp, where the Head of SELA, Dr Gary Wood, welcomed us and we took part in a series of workshops, supported by mentors from industry, to explore and build our skills. These two days were very beneficial in terms of learning new skills, gaining knowledge and getting to know each other in the new cohort.

Here are ten lessons I learnt from SELA bootcamp, I would like to share with you…

1. When you have a problem, gather all related data and information first

I know as human beings we might panic and straight away think about the problem we are facing, to try and solve it. But, facing it in a more efficient way may lead to better results. Therefore, assembling all the data from all parties and analysing it carefully will help you to establish what information you have, what is available to you, and what you want to know but will need to find out.

2. You can’t clap with one hand

By team working you can solve any difficult problem you face in less time and with less effort. Working collaboratively allows you to exchange ideas with other team members and come up as a group with a combined creative idea.

3. Listen more

It sounds simple, but it’s not! We always like to share our thoughts and ideas, give others our suggestions and opinions. Even as engineers, we tend to talk more than we listen to people. I discovered that listening is an important skill we need to develop to be able to create a positive impact, persuade others with our ideas, and influence them.

4. Productivity is time management

Set a timer for every task you need to do. Working hard to finish it in the time set can help you become more productive and avoid any procrastination.

5. Use different tools of communication

Sometimes communicating only verbally with your team members is not enough to deliver the information you have or currently thinking of. Sketching, creating a table or a graph can be more helpful ways of communicating more effectively.

6. Ask to negotiate

Negotiation is an important skill we all need to have to be successful in our lives. But, the key of succeeding in it is to ask questions about the other party’s needs and know their position before giving your ideas and solutions.

7. Diversity inspires creativity

In group work, we tend to join people who we know or familiar with. However, being in a diverse group each time with people you meet for the first time helps in coming up with creative, different ideas and approaches.

8. Think in direction

Using Edward de Bono’s six hats method (a tool that helps with individual thinking and group discussions involving 6 coloured hats), extends your way of thinking and enables you to consider all the related aspects to your topic in an organised way. Personally, it helped me in chairing my society committee meetings by all of us staying on the same page.

9. Mastering public speaking requires practice

Use every opportunity to present, to master this skill, as it is widely needed in industry. You only become better by practice. Remember, don’t read off the slides, use them as a guide - the audience is there to listen to you.

10. Be open to changes and accepting opinions

People are diverse, they look at things from different perspective. Therefore, you need to be flexible, don’t refuse people’s opinions directly, listen and think about them first. Allow yourself to change your opinion if needed.

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