Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Blog Post #6

Final Reflection on Learning

Austen and I were already planning to take this module since last semester to prepare ourselves for the workforce and I am really glad that we have chosen the right class to have Brad as our tutor. I really enjoyed every single lesson of this module that each lesson always left me feeling sprightlier after class, which none of the other modules I took was capable of.

One very great improvement that I had gained from this module is to eradicate the heavy usage of fillers during my presentations. Through effective peer evaluation and constant hands-on activities that we had in class, ES2007s helped me realised this flaw of mine which I never knew of before taking this module. Upon receiving feedback from class, I did some self-reflections and eventually managed to find out the root cause of my usage of fillers. With this realization, my final oral presentation had shown great improvement from peer teaching, with respect to the use of fillers.

After taking this module, I am now more aware and confident of how to present myself effectively to engage my audience. I wish this module did not need to come to an end, because it was just so enriching, interactive and it had a very comfortable setting for effective learning.

Lastly, it is really amazing that my classmates and I have fostered great friendships through the course of this module. In fact, as I am writing this post, I am sitting with some of my ES classmates around the study desk. Again, none of the modules that I had taken in these four years had managed to establish such great friendships.

Thank you, Brad, for such an awesome learning and bonding experience.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Blog Post #5

Reflection on Oral Presentation

This post is an evaluation on my Oral Presentation I had on 16th April. The following is the breakdown of it:

All the while I had been the one working on the features of the applications, therefore I had a very good knowledge of my content. In addition, the interface and user flow of the application were mainly discussed, decided and designed between Ian and I, hence, I was very prepared for the presentation with all the visuals prepared through the use of various software programs.

Due to the lack of confidence in myself, I had unnecessary worries that I would forget my content despite knowing my content inside out. In addition, I kept having the worry that I would speak too long during the presentation as my part was content rich, which hence caused me to speak too fast before my audience could digest the content. Although the visuals were well prepared, and helpful, I failed to slow down to guide my audience through. To add on, even though I tried to use a convincing tone with a friendly approach by having a smile occasionally, due to the lack of pauses, it impeded the purpose of doing a successful pitch.

Use of slideware and other audiovisuals:             
The images used to showcase the interface of the App was a strength in my presentation because they were impressive since it was self designed and customized to our solution, which helped a lot in putting across to the audience the mechanism of our proposed idea.

Overall, I feel that there is a lot I need to improve on, especially believing in myself.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Blog Post #4

Evaluating Intercultural Behavior

The key to effective intercultural communication is knowledge. It is important that people understand the potential problems that may arise from intercultural communication and make a conscious effort to overcome these problems. In this post, I shall share about an intercultural encounter I had to emphasize on how knowledge about the other culture is essential.
Four years ago, I went to Thailand for a holiday trip with my family. Shopping at Thailand was one of the highlights as the things there were generally cheaper. Being all excited and ready to strike good bargains at the street stalls, I began asking the stall owners politely with a smile for a lower price. However, the replies I received from the stall owners were frowning faces and phrases like “no, very cheap already” and “cannot discount”. From the intonations and facial expressions the stall owners gave, I thought they were very unhappy at me for haggling. As such, I got a little worried and upset at my failed shopping attempts.
Soon, as I stayed on a few more days, I realized that the Thais generally speak in this manner. They tend to sound whinier and the intonations they used were slightly different from us due to the native language they speak every day. As a result, I mistook them at the beginning of my trip for being disgruntled at me.
Towards the end of my trip, I picked up some Thai phrases and began speaking like them. This time round, the shop owners appeared friendlier to me while I bargain with them for a cheaper deal.
After returning to Singapore, I got very fascinated by the Thai language that I went to self-learn a little more on the language through the net. As I researched more, I actually found a video on Youtube of a Thai providing tips on how to bargain in Bangkok. He actually highlighted that our intonations and facial expressions used are very important. Relating to my first experience, the owners did not frown because she was angry, instead, it was an expression of friendliness during haggling. In addition, the Thai on Youtube also emphasized that we drag our words to sound whiny, because the whinier we sound, the more appealing it is to the owner as they take it as a friendly gesture.
I only found out after the trip that it is in the Thai culture that they love to haggle, and so do the Thai shopkeepers. Hence, from this post, I want to highlight that so long as we take the initiative to understand the culture of the other person or country, we can actually get a lot of fun out of immersing ourselves into their culture instead of receiving the wrong message and get offended.
Having a knowledge of different cultures and traditions will definitely help us go far in getting along with people from other cultures and in preventing any problems that may arise through incorrect interpretations. One should be patient and careful in intercultural exchanges, and not jumping to the conclusion that you know what is being thought and said.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Blog Post #3

Application Letter Critique

Recruitment advert: http://www.capitaland.com/en/gdp/programme-overview.html

(2nd Draft)

Chua Jie Ying
BLK 123 #12-34, Lorong 1 ABC Land, Singapore 123456

February 20, 2013

The Hiring Manager,
Human Resource Department,
CapitaLand Limited,
168 Robinson Road, #30-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912

Dear Hiring Manager,

Application for Graduate Development Programme (GDP) Trainee

I am writing to express my interest in joining the CapitaLand GDP, an opportunity I learnt about through the National University of Singapore (NUS) Career Fair which appealed to me immensely.  I am expected to graduate from NUS with a 2nd Upper Class Honours in Mechanical Engineering in May 2013. I am keen to start my career with CapitaLand because of its unique credo of Building People which provides continuous development and career progression within a dynamic business environment. I am intrigued by its steadfast mindset to conduct its business, interact with stakeholders and contribute to the well-being of its employees and the community in a responsible and ethical way. I would love to be part of this multi-local organization to contribute to its core value of value adding through innovation and continuous improvement.

Assuming the role as a NUS Student Union Account Manager, I was tasked to liaise with DBS Bank for sponsorships. During my term, I collaborated with DBS Bank for their participation in various school events and reached out to student masses to achieve exceeding DBS NUS Debit Card signups which enabled me in securing an additional sponsorship of $10,000 from DBS on top of the basic sponsorship of $20,000 per contractual year.  This post certainly provided me the opportunities to hone my interpersonal communication and negotiation skills.

During my Junior College years, I was actively involved in school activities, taking up 3 CCAs and one of which displayed my great passion to serve the College was through the role as a Student Council. Apart from being a very enthusiastic vice house captain in uniting my cluster, I was the overall in-charge for National Day Celebrations organizing committee. Together with my team, we successfully pulled off the major college event in a memorable and novel way. I was also deeply committed to building a strong Council by mentoring and guiding my juniors closely even after I stepped down from office. With these commitments and excellence, I was awarded the College Values Award for “Service with Honour”.

A career at CapitaLand will definitely give me the opportunity to perform and learn across geographies and gain valuable exposure to various functions across different units. Additionally, this programme, to which meaningful and challenging tasks are assigned, appeals to my career aspirations and personal development. Given a chance, with my outgoing personality and positive work attitude displayed in my previous roles, I am confident of developing my potential to the fullest with CapitaLand’s GDP and contribute back in building a sustainable better future for the stakeholders, not just for this generation, but for generations to come. I look forward to grow with the learning opportunities offered at CapitaLand.

Thank you for your time to review my application. I have enclosed my resume for your consideration. I look forward to a face-to-face interview with you to discuss my qualifications and how I can be of service to your company. I can be contacted at (+65) xxxxxxxx or jieying.email@gmail.com at your convenience.

Yours sincerely,
Jie Ying

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Blog Post #2

Resolving Interpersonal Conflict


Interpersonal conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals. (Wilmot and Hocker, 2001) One such situation is recently experienced between my aunt, Annie, and her in-laws.

This started last year in June, when Annie’s mother-in-law fell down due to old age weakened knees and had to be admitted to the hospital. For the past centuries, Annie’s mother-in-law had been residing at her second son, Ben’s, house. Hence, being the eldest daughter-in-law, Annie decided to take some responsibility by initiating to take care of her mother-in-law for the first two weeks after the elderly had discharged from the hospital to help her in recuperating to her original state and ability to be independent again.

Indeed, after two weeks, Annie’s mother-in-law recovered and went back to Ben’s house to live. She was even fit enough to return to her workplace. However, not long later, she fell again at home in November. This time round the tension within the family heightened. The family members knew that this time the situation worsened and the elderly would need someone to pay more attention and care to her. Instead of coming up with a win-win solution amongst the children to take care of their old aged mother, Ben and his wife began shirking responsibility by saying that they had been staying and putting up with the elderly for so many years, and now it should be the time when the other children play a part too. In addition, they had in mind to take this opportunity to kick the elderly out of their house, which they initially got it at priority and discounted rate under the government policy to reside with parents.

Annie soon became very stressed and lost at what to do because even the two sister-in-laws were shirking off their responsibility in putting in a fair share of effort as they began to feign illnesses and discomforts to excuse themselves from bringing their mother for her regular check-ups. To make matters worse, Annie’s mother-in-law took sides with her daughters and shielded them by preaching the traditional idea that daughters married are spilled water, and it should be daughter-in-laws’ duty to take care of her.

From Annie’s stand:
She had to take care of her own mother too, who recently went for an eye operation, as her side of the family adopts the modern way thinking that the responsibility of taking care of the elderly should be equally distributed among her own children. Hence, Annie tried to propose a solution whereby her mother-in-law will continue to live with Ben, while the duty of taking the elderly out for leisure purposes and medical check-ups will be distributed amongst her and her two other sister-in-laws. She did not mind helping her overly worked husband to take care of his mother so long as the distribution of effort is made fair. Furthermore, she had her own grandson due soon to take care of.

From two sister-in-laws’ stand:
They felt they should not shoulder any responsibility, following the traditional way of thinking. They felt that the eldest daughter-in-law should be the one who is dutiful for the situation.

From Ben and his wife’s stand:
They felt that they had been living with her and taking care of her the past years and they should be given the opportunity to regain freedom, hence, they were bent on residing the elderly somewhere else, either Annie’s place, a rented room or the old age home.

However, Annie could not take her mother-in-law in to stay with her as her house was way too small to accommodate another person. She felt that if Ben really have to move the elderly out of his house, the elderly should go to stay with her second daughter, since she owns a landed house with extra room available. Matters escalated when Ben put words into Annie’s mouth by telling his mother that Annie suggested putting her into the old age home when the idea was actually initiated by Ben.

After staying one month in the hospital, no concrete solution was taken and Annie’s mother-in-law continued to reside at Ben’s place. This issue had caused much tension in the family due to unwillingness from each party to compromise based on circumstances. During this Chinese New Year visiting, as we were house hopping, I could sense the awkwardness among the four siblings and the interactions made were no longer as harmonious and happy-sounding as the past years.

Thus, I would like to ask you readers how should Annie resolve the matter should it be triggered again.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Blog Post #1

Why effective communication skills are important for me:

Effective communication is more than just exchanging information, it is also about understanding the emotion behind the information delivered. While communication is something we cannot do away with in life, effective communication becomes important to me as it allows us to better understand a person or a situation, resolve differences we face in daily interactions, build trust and respect amongst peers and family members, and create an environment where creative ideas and problem solving can flourish. 

As simple as communication may seem, much of what is being communicated in the process gets misunderstood, and this can cause conflicts and frustrations in our personal and professional relationships. Thus, learning about effective communication skills will equip me with a vital set of soft skills in maintaining happy and long-lasting relationships, as well as boosting my self confidence and establishing successful social interactions. These skills include active listening, non-verbal communication, managing stress and emotional awareness. Active listening refers to understanding how the speaker feels about what they are communicating apart from the information communicated. Non-verbal communication refers to our body language that is powerful in conveying to others how we feel than words ever can. Managing stress is essential especially when it gets overwhelming, because it hampers effective communication by disrupting our capacity to think clearly and act appropriately. This will likely cause us to misread others and send back off-putting non-verbal signals, which may eventually lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. Lastly, developing emotional awareness allows us to understand and empathize with the speaker, even if we do not like the message that is being delivered to us.

Finally, I am entering the workforce soon and effective communication skills are very important for me in pursuing my career. First will be the written form of communication that encompasses my resume and application letter writing, which serves as my stepping stone to a successful career. Next will be to perform well at the interviews and secure a job for myself. Last, to do well in the job and advance in my career, effective communication will enhance my opportunities for personal growth in aspects such as leadership abilities and networking skills which are highly sought after in today’s competitive and high-paced job market.