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Bricks and the City – Have You Got The APC Stress Factor?

Bricks and the City – Have You Got The APC Stress Factor?

As well as being awards season, it’s APC season, that nail biting time of year when stresses are high and you’re panicking about critical analysis, experience records, presentations, reading shed loads of articles that you may get asked a question on and generally wondering how you are going to cram everything you need to know about surveying into your head whilst maintaining your performance at work!! Phew, think that long, poorly punctuated sentence about summed it up?

I was asked to write an article over a year ago for the RICS which appeared locally in the East Midlands Surveyor Magazine so I thought I’d share the content on my blog in the hope that something in there may strike a chord and help.

Having coached a number of APC candidates over the past few years I have discovered there are common themes running through the process that can stop people successfully passing their APC.

‘I am struggling to motivate myself’, ‘I feel overwhelmed’, ‘my day job is getting in the way’, ‘I never seem to have enough time’, ‘I’m not getting the right experience’, ‘My Supervisor / Counsellor never has enough time’, ‘I am not good at presentations’, ‘I am worried I won’t know the answers to all the questions’. Sound familiar?

Below are some tips to help you overcome the barriers and demonstrate to the panel that you’ve got the RICS ‘X factor’!

Find your Y. MRICS, what does it mean to you, why are you doing it? You need to find a reason that you connect with, something that is going to really motivate you through the times that you get home from work or it’s the weekend and the last thing you want to do is hit the books or look at your Critical Analysis. Keep thinking about your Y and how you’ll feel when you get it

Think about any limiting beliefs you may have, one that I have come across is, ‘my presentation style is dull’, is that really true or did someone just say that once? Is it the content that’s dull which impacts on how it is presented? Think of the last time you talked about something you were really enthused about and how you ‘presented yourself’ to the person you were talking to. Now try and inject some of that enthusiasm into your presentation.

Don’t think you have to have the most amazing project in the world to do your APC, it’s about your experience and what you’ve done on it that is important. Be proud of your achievements and hopefully that should help you to deliver an interesting and informative presentation.

If you don’t think you have enough experience, think again! One technique I have used with my coachees is a ‘timeline’. A bit like Dr Who, jump in the tardis of your mind and think back to all of the projects you have worked on, what was going on with those projects, what were you exposed to, you will often find that you know more than you think, you’ve just forgotten (or not recorded your experience in your log book…..!) If you still don’t have enough experience, speak to your Counsellor and Supervisor about this, be proactive.

To avoid overwhelm, break it down. There are a lot of pieces to the APC puzzle and it can swamp you if you allow it to. I have found that Mind Mapping is really useful technique as it allows you to get everything down and start to look at the APC holistically. First of all, think about the things that you have done or are in hand, positives first. Then think about what you need to do to give you a really good ‘snapshot’ of your APC

One you’ve broken things down, come up with an action plan, what do you need to do, who do you need to talk to etc. Remember it is your responsibility to make things happen. If you need to meet with your Counsellor and Supervisor, give them plenty of notice and plan the time in. If they cancel the meetings then make sure they are re-scheduled.

Plan your time. We have project plans, have one for your APC with key milestones and sign off dates programmed in. If you struggle with time as many people do a recommended read is ‘How to Save an Hour Every Day’ by Michael Heppell with some great time saving tools and techniques.

Don’t think you have to know everything about everything or else your head will explode. A number of people I’ve coached have thought this and its useful to remember what the APC is all about. It’s not Mastermind. The panel want to know that you’re Professional, you can give your Client good, sound advice and you know about the Code of Conduct. There are often questions that come up that a candidate can’t answer, just given an indication of what you would do to find that answer.

Act as if. Visualisation is a really powerful tool. I would bet that the top Olympic Athletes would have all visualised winning that race, from how they felt at the start of the race, lining up, waiting for the starting gun, jumping over those hurdles, overtaking their competitors until they reached the finish line. Apply the same to your interview, visualise giving a great presentation, answering the questions they’ve asked you on it, answering the other questions fired at you confidently and succinctly.

Don’t be afraid to fail. If you’ve failed a mock or even failed an assessment, don’t be afraid to go for it again. Quite often our best learning comes through failure, take what you need from that experience and move on.

Good luck everyone and I look forward to hearing your success stories!