Pontius, I could not agree more. I only wish I could have read this beforehand!!You have to realise that the AIB is all about assessing your personality and almost everything else is padding. Maths tests, English tests, wiggly box tests are all objective and easy to assess i.e. pass or fail. Personality is far more subjective and, clearly, this is what you need to get right for next time.
No, you do not need to shout loudly. There are times when it is appropriate to shout but that does not mean that it is required all the time for you to appear confident. Most of the time it is more than enough to talk normally, so long as the assessors can hear you. It is HOW you convey your ideas, plan etc that is far more important than how loudly you can manage to do so. Your basic problem was a lack of confidence in your plan which, in turn, translated to ineffective communication and a lack of confidence in delivery. It is quite obvious from what you've written that things went well when you were able to practice them or knew about them beforehand because you were confident in what you were doing. When you were unsure, because you were unable to practice, your confidence wained and so your ability to deliver cogent argument fell foul.
Do you know that they really don't give two hoots about the actual plan? It is all about how you present it but, much more importantly, how you can adapt and re-assess. That you had a crap plan in the first place is not important but it's how you listened to what was said by others and changed. Of course, if you really believe yours is the best idea then you also have to be able to stand up and justify how other ideas are not as good as yours and why you're doing what you said in the first place. It's absolutely fine to say, "thank you for that input, I think that's a good idea (value your team member) and I will incorporate that into the plan. We shall now do X, Y and A, instead of X, Y, Z". If you think someone's idea is crap then, if you have time, you can explain why you think your's is better but, if not, you still thank them for their input but say you're going to stick with Plan A. If you haven't got the first idea of a plan then you don't need to let everyone know that. Open with a statement of the problem, equipment etc and then ask for ideas. Listen, encourage, thank, nod sagely, all the while stealing the ideas of others and making them seem like your own. RN officers have been doing it for centuries and getting the credit for doing so (Admirals are the best at it)
As for bemused looks etc. Did you ever think that it might be on purpose to unbalance you and make you unsure of what you're saying? Could it be that it was a test to see how you reacted to being looked at in an incredulous way and how that affected your confidence? The fact that you commented as you did shows that it was a very effective 'mind game' in your case and that it did adversely affect you. How are you going to react when you've got a bunch of experienced sailors in front of you, you're a young Midshipman and you're detailing your plan to a (quite usual) sea of WTF expressions? If you were unnerved by one man's bemused looks you'll be a jibbering wreck with a party of piss-taking sailors who all KNOW their idea is better. Dealing with that sort of thing in the AIB, as in real life, is very, very easy.....smile. That bemused face will soon look far more sure of your answer if you're confident enough in yourself to smile.
Your ACLO summed it up for you and it's all about your confidence....or lack thereof. Yes, you must practice what you can and read what you can. This in itself will give you more confidence but you also have to learn to adapt and modify that which cannot be practiced and then come back with a new idea, which you're so certain is better than the first that it is easy to answer, confidently, any questions they might throw at you.
Personality. Smile & laugh. Secrets to the AIB and life thereafter. There's no need to shout.
Another good way to improve your essay is to check your use of homophones and watch your spelling though I expect today more attention is given to content than the use of English.Does anyone know if there is a best way to write the essay?
I like to give both sides of the argument then some it up in a conclusion.
I know often essay structures are one sided with separate paragraphs giving separate points supporting the same argument.
Is one method recommended or is it irrelevant?
Usually I ignore the squiggly red line for that reason. It doesn't know how to spell.
Formatting isn't too bad if you limit yourself to just the enter key!
Ahh - Here's another 'Word' gripe:
A legal beagle such as @huwshpis might well appreciate the double (sometimes treble) line feeds which Word likes to impose on us lesser mortals but I don't!
I suppose there is a three-step fix for this irritating condition but if so what/where is it please??