Friday, 11 November 2011

Final Reflection on Learning

Being a final year student taking six modules (including FYP), I thought taking ES2007S was a bad move as I will not have time for other modules. To be frank, the main objective for me to take ES2007S was because of the application letter and resume writing. On the other hand, now that I have completed ES2007S, I feel that this module has really helped me in many other ways – presentation skills and effective communication.
As I was a shy speaker who cannot really express myself well, I was unable to translate my thoughts accurately and fast enough into verbal and non-verbal communication. As a result, I might use the wrong words and offend them at times. That also had adverse effects on my presentation skills.
With Brad and ES2007S curriculum, I had many opportunities speak/present in front of people. Most importantly, I received many feedbacks for improvement. Frankly speaking, I did not think that I would enjoy these initially because criticisms are usually not pleasant to hear. For example, I had peer teaching, oral presentation, elevator pitch, “describing who you are” and many other impromptu chances to present and speak openly.  Following these activities, I received quite negative comments which disheartened me a little. Thanks to Brad’s constant reminder and encouragement, I did not take the negative feedbacks too hard and worked on my weaknesses.
Gradually, I got used to this and understood the importance of feedbacks. Coupled with the countless speaking and presentation opportunities that both Brad and this course had provided, it boosted my confidence level, presentation skills and speaking to people very spontaneous as I am less nervous.  These really helped me greatly in the other presentations that I had.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Brad, my proposal project teammates (Lance, Zoey, Huixin), peer teaching partner (Zoey), Png Ning for her encouragement in my mock interview evaluation form and the other peers in this course for their help throughout the course. ES2007S had really made me a better presenter. All the best for your exams and future endeavorsJ

Friday, 4 November 2011

Reflection on Oral Presentation

Yeah! I am glad the oral presentation (OP) is finally over. Having two presentations on the same day is NOT fun at all, but this learning experience is definitely an enriching one.

The preparation phase for this OP was especially taxing as each of us (Lance, Huixin, Zoey and I) had other assignments/presentations/tests to do. Thus, it left us with minimum time to meet up and rehearse for our OP. However, with the effort that we managed to squeeze out at the very end, I am really proud of our OP as a whole. The slides and visuals are very relevant, kudos to Lance for running around the campus taking these beautiful pictures.

Personally, I discovered that through the mock OP and other presentation opportunities I received from ES2007S, it made me feel less nervous progressively. With a calm mind, this helps to ensure that my thoughts will be accurately translated into what message I want to convey. Coupled with the rehearsals our team had, it enabled the ideas to flow fluently and made my speech more coherent. Furthermore, I also became more aware of keeping eye contact with all my target audience. For example, I made the effort to establish eye contact with all my audience, especially the ones who were looking at me. 

Moving on to weakness, I felt that my presentation verbal communication could be more coherent because I realized at certain time during our OP, some of our target audience gave some abrupt frowns. Moreover, I could have done better during the Questions and Answers section too as the audience did not look convinced with my explanation. Thus to improve this, I guess it is important for me to take at most 10s to process my ideas before I answer. 

With ES2007S drawing to an end, I dare tell my friends to seize every presentation opportunity, practice, practice and practice! It is because I have tried it and it works :) 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Post #4: Evaluating intercultural behavior

Due to globalization, it is not an uncommon thing to work with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds. This post will describe an intercultural conflict which occurred during my vacation job at a multi-national company. The main characters in this intercultural conflict involved the two bosses whom I was working under and a new colleague, S from another country. For easy understanding, I will name my two bosses as small boss (a female) and big boss (a male).

S was newly employed by my company to assist small boss. Being an under-probation staff, S was taking leave once every two weeks. To make matters worse, S only informed big boss about his leave, leaving the rest of the department to ponder upon his uninformed disappearance. S’s actions irritated small boss because in Singapore context, S had violated the proper chain of command. I was also not spared in S’s working styles too. S would also order around employees ‘lower’ in position than him rather than ask politely. Furthermore, S would only listen to suggestions coming from big boss and ignore small boss. 

In an attempt to find an explanation for S’s working behavior, small boss and I went on to research on S’s cultural background and found something interesting which she shared with me. Her research findings indicated that in S’s country, there is an unofficial gender and strong hierarchical system where males are seen more superior than females. Generally, females receive less education and are less commonly seen in white collar jobs. Thus, S might had felt uncomfortable working under a female boss and refused to report directly to her all the time. Moreover, as a result of the strong hierarchical system present, it might be common practice that superiors would order around their subordinates and not empathize with how their subordinates would feel.   

No doubt, the accuracies of our inferences were questionable. There could be a totally different explanation based on S’s cultural background and perspective.

As my vacation drew to an end, I did not have the opportunity to see the resolution to this silent intercultural conflict, but I found out from a fellow colleague that S is currently a permanent staff.


Friday, 9 September 2011

My Application letter

Hi all, the advertisement is at:

And now, my application letter...

10 September 2011

Tiong Kim Peng Christopher (MR)
144, XXX Road
Singapore 588177
+65 8168-XXXX

Manager of Human Resource Department
Singapore Airlines Limited
25 Airline Road
Airline House
Singapore 819829

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express interest in the position of Cadet Pilot with Singapore Airlines Limited, as posted on the Singapore Airlines website. Although I do not possess any prior flying experience, I believe I possess the right aptitudes in becoming an airline pilot.

I specialize in materials science and engineering in the National University of Singapore (NUS) and will be graduating in June 2012. My course has taught me valuable analytical skills which I believe will allow me analyze flight situations and problems practically. This ensures that flight operations are smooth and safe. Coupled with my strong passion in aviation, I am confident I will be a suitable candidate.

My strong interest in aviation started in secondary 2 when I enrolled into the aero-modeling course at the Singapore Youth Flying Club where I learned the basic principles of flight. I continued to pursue my interest in aviation by choosing to do an my industrial attachment in the aerospace industry, Singapore Aero Engine Services Ltd (SAESL), which conducts maintenance, repair and overhaul for the Rolls-Royce engines under the Singapore Airlines fleet. Having an avid interest in Boeing-777s, I took the initiative and requested to attend the Trent 800 engine general familiarization exercise which provided me further insights.

In the university, I held the post of treasurer for the materials science and engineering Students Interest Group. I attended the Student Leaders Induction Camp which gave me the opportunity to hone my interpersonal and communication skill through team-building activities. Furthermore, I volunteered in the Singapore Youth Olympics 2010 Torch Relay as Command Ops Assistant. This experience trained me to maintain my composure and perform my job under time constraints and stress.

Singapore Airlines Limited is a world-renowned airline for its service quality and safety. It consistently strives for excellence, renews its fleet and expands its network of travel destinations. As a dynamic individual with strong passion in aviation and appropriate aptitudes, I am confident that I can contribute to Singapore Airlines in maintaining its success and global excellence.

I look forward to having an interview with you. I may be contacted at the following mobile: 8168-XXXX. Thank you for time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,
Tiong Kim Peng Christopher

Please feel free to comment on my application letter. Thank you.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

An Interpersonal Conflict - Over SMS in-box

I am sure some of us had experienced interpersonal conflict with your close friends. N was my good buddy during secondary school days when SMS was just introduced. And because of SMS, our friendship took a temporary turn.

That day, my whole class met up at the MacDonald’s while waiting to go for a school musical. Seated beside N, I helped him look after his cell phone as he was buying food. Thinking that it was fine since N always allowed me to read his SMS inbox, I naturally went on to read his text in-box. When he returned, he flared up and yelled at me after knowing that I had read his inbox. I had never seen him this angry before. Everyone were shocked and stared at me. I tried to cool him down but he was too worked up and did not give me the chance to. Deep inside, I was thinking “What’s wrong? It is not the first time I’ve read your in-box”. Furthermore, we were close friends.

Feeling upset and embarrassed, I walked away immediately. I threw away my ticket to the musical and went home. Several classmates called and text-ed me, persuading me to go back but I refused to as I was too embarrassed to go back. N apologized for yelling at me too. It took me weeks before I cooled down and began talking to N.  We never talk about this conflict again and we remained good buddies till today.

I suppose the main cause of this conflict was that I was too familiar with N such that I intruded his privacy unknowingly and without his consent. Maybe N’s SMS in-box contained something really private that day. How would you react if you were in my position that day?

Friday, 19 August 2011

#1: Why Effective Communication is important to me?

I had always believed that actions speak louder than words. Be it personal life or working life, people will judge you based on your merit like your certificates and the quality of your work, something concrete and being just an ‘okay’ speaker is sufficient. But I was proved wrong…

Not long ago, I went on a part-time job interview with a friend of mine. As there was only one vacancy, I was pretty confident in getting the job because I had better grades. However to my dismay, the company employed him. The first thought that struck me was, “It’s definitely the interview session because my friend was a more expressive and vocal person”. That was I realize I need to change my minimalistic thinking, I am not even an ‘okay’ speaker.

After this experience, I constantly question myself, “Had I been more vocal during the interview, would the outcome be different?” As we all know, the purpose of job interviews is a process to impress the employer in any suitable ways. But in order to impress, it is imperative to communicate effectively in the first place, so that the interviewer knows whether I am interested and up to the job. 

Effective communication is also vital in daily life as I will be constantly interacting with different people from all walks of life, both verbally and non-verbally. Effective communication aids the delivery of information in a more organized and concise manner. Message receivers can have accurate information and unnecessary misunderstanding is deterred. All in all, it enhances personal relationships with people as well as makes me a better person with higher emotional intelligence (EQ).

Being someone who is not really expressive, I am going to need an open heart, lots of determination and practice to master effective communication skills. And that is why I am taking ES2007S.