Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Final Reflection

ES2007s has finally come to an end. Despite the heavy workload and the tight deadline, I believe most of us have enjoyed taking the course and have gained more knowledge about the skills in effective communications.

After going through my first blog post, I realize my initial impression of effective communication focused only on verbal communication. Eventually, this course has taught me the importance of non verbal communication, as a method of communication to convey our ideas to the other party. For example, a handshake with others can affect their impression towards us, and thus we must not focus only on verbal communication but also, we have to learn how to practice good non verbal communication skills.

In addition, I believe that this is the only course that allows us to voice our opinions towards certain issues on the blog as well as give us an opportunity to comment on others blog. The blog entry enabled us to reflect on what we have learned in class, allowing us to practice the 7Cs in our writing.

Moreover, the project work has also equipped me the skills to work with a team. Project work emphasized on team work and I believe the most important aspect is to communicate effectively with the project mates in order to get work done. Luckily, in our group, we will discuss what every member has to do so as to avoid misunderstanding with one another.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our tutor Christine for giving us a valuable lesson as well as making so much effort to push our deadline back so as to lighten our workload. Last but not least, I would also like to thank all the classmates who provided entertaining and valuable feedbacks that made the lesson enjoyable.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


My name is Chua Mui Peng and I am currently a second year statistic major student in National University of Singapore. I strongly believe that numbers make a difference in people’s life and thus chosen a career path that is associated with numbers. From my course, I hope to acquire good analytical skills so that I can make sense of the numbers in datasets and provide others with the relevant information.

Prior to NUS, I attended Meridian Junior College where I was given a chance to display my leadership skills. I participated in Learning Agora 2005 which is organized by Meridian Junior College. In this event, I was appointed as the co-leader and I had to work with the team members to come up with creative products to be sold to the public.

After my A level studies, I took up several administrative job where I was exposed to different sets of data and tasked to compile, sort and analyze the data. The jobs have equipped me with skills for documentation using Microsoft Offices. In addition, I was also given the opportunity to liaise with other companies which in turn strengthen my communication skills. Through these jobs, I have developed skills to work as a team as well as proper time management.

Furthermore, I also have strong affinity with music. I was a member of Chinese Orchestra for consecutive 6 years from secondary to junior college. I immersed myself wholeheartedly in all the club activities and thus, I was selected to represent the school in the prestigious Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging (SYF) and clinched a Silver award.

Soon, I will be embarking on the next chapter of my life, and I hope to make use of the skills that I have learnt previously in my future endeavors.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A picture speaks a thousand words

If you happen to see this advertisement in the MRT, do you know what message is the company trying to convey? It may be thought as rather provoking, and many may misunderstood the actual meaning of it.

When the words are accompanied by a photo of the burger, I am sure everyone would understand the meaning of it, and the actual message that the company is trying to get across to the consumers.

I believe, everyone has heard about the phrase “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Therefore, words itself are definitely not enough to convey message across to the other party. Visual aid is an important aspect in communication and it helps to reduce miscommunication between both parties.

I had this experience, where I had a miscommunication with my one of my close friend, and resulted in a cold war. Another close friend of mine understood the whole situation and drew a picture to help to clear the misunderstandings towards my friend. Below is the scenario which had occurred.

Scene 1: I (MP) was not in good mood that day and hence, I did not talk too much that day. My close friend Van, thought that I was angry with her and so, she did not dare to speak to me. The cold war begins …

Scene 2: Van went to find another friend called Ting, but she looks more troubled. Therefore, Van did not dare to bother her much too.

Scene 3: Van had no choice but to look for the next best alternative who was KT. Van had told him about a secret of mine, which I had told her specifically to keep it from KT. KT promised to keep it a secret.

Scene 4: The next day, KT came and laughed at me about my secret. I felt betrayed by Van and hence, more misunderstandings arise between us.

Scene 5: KT who is an insensitive guy still do not understand what did he do wrongly. He laughed at me and ask me question about that secret Van had told him. He thought it was just a normal question. I felt more insulted and more miscommunications arise.

Scene 6: A humorous ending asking me to forgive Van.

After looking at the drawings, I laughed and forgive Van. Before receiving, the drawings, my only thought was how Van had betrayed my trust, and I did not want to give her a chance to explain herself as I was too angry with her.
However, with the drawings, it certainly helps to brighten up one’s mood, and aid in clearing the misunderstandings.

Therefore, if you ever make someone angry, I think the best solution would be to draw some interesting drawings that would cheer up the person. For example, if someone is angry with you for being late for appointment, maybe you can show him/her the picture below.

Do you agree with me that the use of picture is an effective communication tools?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Evaluating Intercultural Behavior

A photo taken with Aiko at my house

I believe many of you are aware that the Japanese are rich in culture and their perception towards courtesy are different from ours. When I was in Primary 4, I had this interaction with a Japanese exchange student called Aiko. She was assigned to stay at my place for a couple of days. However, my family and I were ignorant about their culture and thus, resulted in much embarrassment.

When Japanese drink their soup, they drink it loudly to show the chef that they enjoyed the soup and the soup is delicious. There was this incident when my whole family was eating together with Aiko and she drank her soup very loudly. We were shocked by her behavior, and thought that she was unhappy with my mother’s cooking and hence, made the noise sarcastically. After the dinner, I explained to Aiko about the Chinese culture, that eating loudly is regarded as rudeness, and would affect others mood in eating. She then told me about their Japanese culture too, and the both of us laughing at our ignorance towards each other culture. She apologized to my family the next day, and in the subsequent dinner, she did not make her usual sound when drinking her soup.

During Aiko’s stay in our house, I learnt more about the Japanese culture. For example, the Japanese are not supposed to wear shoes inside the house as it will appear to be rude to the owner. Hence, before interacting with foreigners, I believe we should learnt more about their culture first so that we will not result in embarrassment, or even conflicts in worse cases.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Business Correspondence Critique

The following letter was obtained directly from the webpage ( _____________________________________________________________
Dear Thomas:

It is with sincere regret that I must inform you that your employment at Addison Systems Inc. will be terminated as of Friday January 31, 2006.

As you know, the Downsizing Task Force delivered their report to the general manager in late October, 2006. Among the task force recommendations was the elimination of all temporary and contract positions. Since you occupy a temporary position, your position is automatically subject to the task force recommendations.

I would like to make it absolutely clear that in no way does your termination reflect that the company is in any way unhappy with your work performance over the past 18 months. In fact, you have been highly regarded as one of our most productive contract staffers. Unfortunately, you and the other non-permanent staff that are being let go are simply a reflection of the general economic downturn in the fiber-optics industry over the past year.

In an effort to try to reduce the impact of this termination, the company has worked out a severance arrangement that will give you one week's pay for each month you worked beyond 12 months. In your case this will amount to six (6) weeks of severance pay. In addition, your medical and dental coverage will remain in effect until the end of the severance period. You will soon receive a letter from the Human Resources Department with all of the details on the severance package.

Thomas, given your qualifications and proven abilities, I am confident that you will be able to find another position in the relatively near future. If you would like, I would be pleased to write a recommendation letter for you, to help with your job search.

Fred ShandlingUnit Manager
cc: R. Jackson, Human Resources ______________________________________________________________
The above termination letter was written by the management of the company to an employee of the company to inform about the termination of the job. Such termination letter that is associated with bad news are usually deemed to be more difficult to draft as the use of inappropriate words and tone may cause unhappiness in the recipient or even result in disputes.

1) Courtesy The letter is certainly courteous as it uses the words like “sincere regret” to announce the news of termination and “I would like” to clarify the reasons for the termination. The writer also expressed his concern for the recipient, as seen in the last paragraph where he wrote “if you would like, I would be pleased to write a recommendation letter for you, to help you with your job search”.

2) Conciseness The letter is quite long, but shows conciseness as the writer managed to explain clearly the various reasons for the termination. However, some of the unnecessary information, for example, “the Downsizing Task Force delivered their report … October,2006”, can be eliminated.

3) Correctness The letter adopts the correct format since it uses the formal English with the appropriate grammar.

4) Coherence and cohesion The letter links the ideas in an orderly manner. For example, it announces the bad news first, followed by the reason of the termination, the compensation that will be given and finally, the help being offered by the company.

5) Concreteness The writer did not specify how serious is the economic downturn and how it affects the company. Maybe the writer can give some figures which states the fall of the company’s revenue as compared to the previous years.

6) Clarity The writer present the ideas that he wants to convey clearly in different paragraphs. However, the sentences are rather long which may frustrate the recipient.

7) Completeness The letter provides all the information that the recipient would require, such as the reasons for the termination, the compensation that will be given and how is the company going to help. Hence, it is a complete letter .

In conclusion, I feel that the letter is well written as it avoids hurting the recipient and in fact, it emphasize that the recipient is being terminated due to the economic downturn and not due to incompetency.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Resolving Interpersonal Conflict

I would like to take this opportunity to share with everyone a personal conflict that happened between me and my classmate when I was in secondary school.

The both of us were in the same group for the project and she was appointed as the leader of the group. Being the leader, she was in charge of dedicating the job to the rest of the group members.

However, a few days before the dateline, I received a SMS from her, saying:

"I am not able to find the information for the report that I am supposed to do. Hence, all of you will have to help me with the report and finish it by today."

Upon reading the message, I was angry and upset. I felt that I have some task which was not completed yet, and she being the leader, did not even offer her help. And hence, I replied back:

“I am not able to help you because I have not finished my work too. Moreover, that is the job that you are supposed to do.”

She then replied back:

“I am the leader so my job is to dedicate the job to the rest of the group members.”

In the end, another group member came to talk to us and made us realize our mistakes. Both our tone and the words used in the message were not appropriate, and therefore resulted in the misunderstandings that eventually lead to the conflict. Fortunately, I managed to meet up with the leader and we apologized to each other to resolve the conflict.

I realized that the problem with us is that both of us were rather stubborn, insistent with our own views and refuse to budge in thus leading to the conflict.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do when you received a message like that? Would you offer your help and how would you reply her?

If you were the leader, how would you ask your group member to help you with your work?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Effective Communication Skills

Firstly, effective communication skills are able to help me build up better interpersonal relationship with others as I am able to express my views tactfully and use words that are more appropriate to the situation. This can thus reduce any misunderstandings that might occur between both parties due to poor communication skills. Sometimes, I may unintentionally use words that are sensitive to others and so, misunderstanding arises causing unhappiness in others. Therefore, I do feel that effective communication skills are of great importance to me, and it allows me to increase my social circle too.

Secondly, effective communication skills are also useful in the workplace. Upon graduation from NUS, the first barrier that I would be faced in the working society would be the interview. Nevertheless, being equipped with the skills that I will be learning in this course, I will be able to present myself confidently in front of the interviewers. Also, I will learn how to speak in the appropriate tone, dress correctly, and to show positive body language to others. Hence, effective communication skills will be able to help me to build up my confidence in the interview as well as in other events.

Furthermore, effective communication skills are important skills that I have to acquire since there are many people that I will have to come in contact with everyday. When in contact with different people of different status, I would need to use different tones and words to express myself so that they can understand perfectly the message and feelings that I am trying to convey to them.

I understand that communication skills are not skills that I can master easily especially in such a short period of time, but still, I will try my best to absorb whatever I can in this course.