University of California - San Diego
1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
I wrote my first speech in elementary school. Awed by the power of the spoken word the fictional president Thomas Whitmore employed in the movie Independence Day, I pulled a Public Speaking for Dummies book off my parents’ shelf and penned what was — to my fifth-grade sensibilities — a rhetorical masterpiece. It was an impassioned plea to my fifth grade class to end bullying. I planned on climbing atop the lunch tables, seizing the principal’s bullhorn, and delivering it to a crowd of enraptured peers. Unfortunately for my schoolmates, their bullying would go unaddressed. The speech remained in my closet, gathering dust rather than thundering applause.
Since joining the public speaking club in high school, I discovered that I’m a better speechwriter than speaker. One judge’s comment commended me on a great speech, he just wished that I had the charisma to pull it off. Although my early, innocent attempts at leadership emulated the generals and presidents I’d seen in movies, I’ve since learned that there are many different types of leadership. In fact, it is often those who have more superficial qualities of leadership, the loud voices and eagerness to take charge, who may lack the subtler aspects that make a truly great leader....
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