Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.

-Henry Ford

Hey everyone!

At the beginning of the semester, I felt that CG1413 was going to be yet another typical English lesson. However, a few weeks into the module I felt that it was rather interesting and involved our active participation. This helped me to express my ideas more clearly to my peers as well as my teachers.

Through the various oral presentations I had during the course of this module, I picked up very valuable skills both verbal and non-verbal. Prior to this module, I assumed that I was a good public speaker. However, now I realised that there is much more to being a good presenter than being able to deliver my speech. My nervousness when speaking to a large audience has definitely decreased and I’ve also learnt many ways to keep my audience attentive.

I was involved in 2 different projects related to this module. I learnt a lot from both projects. For the CG1102 project, I was picked to be the leader. At first, I thought that it should be an easy task. However, at the end of the project, I realised that I was not a very effective leader although I had my strengths; there was much room for improvement. My group often faced the problems of not meeting deadlines till the last minute and there was miscommunication among us. I realised that as a leader it should have been my responsibility to make sure my group (inclusive of myself) was getting our work done both on time and efficiently. Also, I should have made an effort to smoothen out any discrepancies among my members at the start. Nevertheless, with these valuable lessons learnt I would definitely make a more effective leader in the future.

As we were assigned our groups, it enabled me to mingle with people who were new to me. Although I felt it was a bit difficult to work with them at the start, I realised this will benefit me later on as I learn to be more culturally sensitive and accommodative. At the end of this module, I felt that this module has met its objectives as it has enabled me to communicate more effectively and taught me the importance of teamwork.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Ms Happy Goh for being a wonderful tutor who never failed to make our lessons entertaining and constructive.

Good luck to all my CG1413 classmates for their final year exams!



Monday, March 29, 2010

Reflections on Oral Presentation 2...

On the 25th of March, my team had its oral presentation for the CELC project, reforming Breadth modules. Overall, I felt that we performed rather well and we were all familiar with the content of the slides since we had several rehearsals beforehand. All of us dressed aptly for the presentation and our tone and language used were appropriate. During the Question and Answer session, all of us took turns to answer the queries raised and I felt that we answered them with confidence. The transitions between each speaker were also done well to ensure the smooth flow of the presentation.

I felt that I had performed well for the presentation although there was much room for improvement. Although I maintained proper eye contact with the audience during my presentation, there were times where I looked up at the ceiling when I either forgot my content or became nervous. Also, I felt that I kept looking at the screen often to ensure that I did not miss out on any points. This could have been avoided if I had brought a set of cue cards with the main points written down. At times I felt that I panicked and lost track of what I was presenting. Moreover, the language used during my presentation could have been improved on in order to my speech sound more coherent and professional.

At the beginning I was rather nervous and spoke at slightly faster pace. Later on, I managed to calm down and spoke at a more appropriate pace. Compared to my first oral presentation, I personally felt that I was less fluent and more nervous, probably because of the difference in content for the two presentations. Nevertheless, I maintained my level of confidence throughout my speech which is important for a speaker. Also, I felt that I was familiar with the content of my slides and so I was able to elaborate the points on my own even though they were not reflected on my slides.

Overall, I felt that my presentation could have engaged the audience more and I could have been more fluent in my speech.

Adding on to previous blog posts...

Hello everyone!

Since I was not able to upload any videos or pictures together with my blog posts, I decided to add them separately in this post. I hope you would look through them when you all find time.


Blog Post 1 (Effective teamwork and communication):


Blog Post 2 (Intercultural and Interpersonal communication):


Although it was a rather funny video, I hope everyone understands the meaning behind this. It is really important to have a common language for understanding each other.

Blog Post 3 (Interpersonal conflicts at work):


Reflections for my previous blog posts.

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who took time to read my blog posts and comment on them. All the comments given were very useful in improving my content and language and also helped to point out anything that I had unknowingly missed out.

This blog post is to reflect on the comments I’ve gotten for my previous posts and to address some of the questions raised.

Blog Post 1 (Effective teamwork and communication):

As Krithika mentioned, I felt that I was indeed repetitive and could have avoided that. Also, like suggested by Alden a picture could have been added to make my post more interesting.

I agree with those who mentioned that it is not enough just to form a team and expect teamwork to prevail on its own. There should be mutual understanding and trust among the members and everyone should make an individual effort to work together as a team to build on each other’s strengths.

Blog Post 2 (Intercultural and Interpersonal communication):

Again, as pointed out by many of my friends, I should have added pictures to illustrate my point. However, due to some technical issues, I was not able to add any pictures.

I would like to thank Roger for mentioning that he had actually learnt a lot from my blog post. As mentioned earlier in my blog post, it is true that we are often not able to choose who we want to work with thus, it would be best to adapt to the situation. Also, it is good that we are mindful of our actions and language.

In reference to what Krithika had brought up about getting tired of giving up our principles when trying to be tolerant, I have to agree with the excellent point she raised. She mentioned that trying to be tolerant towards other cultures is a great principle on its own so it alright if we go easy on our beliefs. Thank you Krithika for raising that point, I really did not think about it from that angle.

Blog Post 3 (Interpersonal conflicts at work):

Everyone had given such interesting insights in response to my blog post. I agree with the rest that Kate should have not jumped to any conclusion from just what she had heard. She should have indeed reserved her judgements (Alden’s view) until she clarified the situation with either the people she heard the news from or her boss itself.

In order to salvage the situation, I feel that Sarah should probably try to get in contact with Kate through other means such as emails or leaving a note on her desk since Kate is clearly avoiding face to face confrontation. I feel that with time, Kate would also be more calmed down and be able think rationally. Kate would come around eventually and be able to talk to Sarah about the situation. Until then, Sarah should also be patient for the sake of their friendship at least. They would then be able to talk things out and hopefully come to a positive conclusion. Sarah should also be willing to forgive Kate and Kate on the other hand should apologise to Sarah. Kate should learn that office rumours may not be true most of the times and its best to confront the parties involved directly instead of blindly accepting what she hears.

Blog Post 4 (Reflections on CG1102 meeting):

I guess all of us were more or less facing the same problems since we were all being filmed for the first time. It took time for us to get used to the fact that the camera was in front of us. Also, everyone agreed with my point that it is important to prepare before hand for the meeting in order for the meeting to be more productive. This blog post helped everyone share their experience and served as a common ground to share their advice on how to better prepare themselves for other similar meetings.

Monday, February 15, 2010

CG1102 meeting reflections!

We (Roger, Jonathan, Renuka and I) had our first ever official meeting last Friday (12th Feb) at the Central Library. We decided to use one of the discussion rooms at the library because we needed a quiet place to tape our meeting. Since we knew we were being filmed, it was really awkward at first since we were so self conscious therefore had to take a few takes before the actual one. However, we realised that we should all forget the fact that the webcam is there and try to act as natural as possible. Although our meeting was not as smooth as it would have been if it were not being filmed, we managed to finish our task.

I realised that, it was very important to be prepared for any meeting I would be attending. If we do not read up on any materials that were essential during the discussion it would be difficult to contribute or achieve anything from the meeting. Lucky, all of us came prepared and could contribute effectively. Also, it is important that we listen actively to our team members’ views and ideas. Definitely, all our ideas and opinions put together would produce much better results and help to solve minor problems we might face along the way.

As for the filming portion, we realised that it was a good thing we did not stare into the camera when talking as that would have looked very artificial but something we could have improved on was the fluency of our discussion. I guess it is not so easy to speak in front of the camera after all!

Overall, our meeting was a success in the sense that we managed to get started on our project, we tried to accommodate to each other’s views and gave constructive criticism. We are going to have a lot fun at the same time gain valuable skills from this project.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Interpersonal conflicts at work....how would you resolve them?

Both Sarah and Kate have been working together at the same bank for 5 years now. They have since grown to become very good friends and always looked out for each other. One day, their boss announces that they would be promoting people soon in the department and jokingly told everyone to act well till then. Sarah and Kate came to know that only one of them would be getting promoted and decided that they would happy for each other no matter what.

At the end of the month, Sarah got promoted while Kate was still in her old position. Although Kate was very disappointed she knew from the start only one person would be getting promoted. She was walking past the office cafeteria when she overheard some people discussing the recent promotion. She heard them mention the fact that Sarah got promoted only because she sometimes took credit for her partner’s (Kate’s) work and also because she bad mouthed about Kate to her boss.

Kate was taken aback by shock although she knew that her friend Sarah would not be capable of such things, it was a rather important and big promotion which both of them have been looking forward to so she felt that Sarah might have used any opportunity to get hold of that promotion. Also, the others from her office would not have known about this unless it was true. To top all of this, she remembered that ever since Sarah knew about her promotion, she has never come to meet Kate. When in fact, Sarah was busy preparing for her first meeting after her promotion with her boss.

Angrily, Kate went to look for Sarah. After she found Sarah, Kate told Sarah whatever she heard and the fact that it was all probably true since the promotion was an important step in their career. Since that day, Kate tried to ignore Sarah and only spoke to her if it was absolutely necessary. Sarah tired explaining to Kate but she refused to listen. What could be done to help Sarah?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Observation of team behaviour: Intercultural and interpersonal communication

From past experiences I’ve come to realise that it is not always possible to get things our way. Especially in life now or later when deciding whom we are going to work with. We are often put into teams before hand. Especially in Singapore, where it’s likely to work with people from different cultural backgrounds it will be important to be careful with our actions or words.

Cultural diversity would definitely enhance the team’s creativity but in order to be able to work together harmoniously, the team members would need to understand each other’s background. This will help to ensure that none of the team members offend each other even unknowingly. We all have learnt that different actions can mean entirely different things across the world and imagine all these people from different parts of the world working together, wouldn’t it be best to think twice before acting?

This is where interpersonal communication comes into play. When interacting with our team members we have to make sure we get our thoughts across correctly. Body language, tone, gestures even facial expressions may make quick impressions of us. Not only do we have to take note of our language we also have to take into account our physical actions too.

It’s easy to say that it would be best to accommodate to our team members in order to get things moving. However, that’s a lot more difficult to put into action. At some point we might get tired of giving up our principles. In this case, to get the best of everything we would have to willingly to put our differences aside for a while but at the same time not forgetting our own cultural practices and exercise good interpersonal communication skills where we can comprehend each other properly and avoid miss communication.