Saturday, November 8, 2008

Final Reflection

In my first post, I mentioned that developing effective communication skills is important to graduates as it equips them with necessary skills of being a good leader. In retrospect, I have learnt how the improvements in soft skills and hard skills can help in effective communication through this module. From soft skills of the proper ways and channels of communication and having good EQ, to the hard skills of writing reports and doing good presentation slides that would effectively convince people.

With the use of active listening, we could engage every members and discuss ideas in our mind and come up with the best compromised solution. By this way, everyone would feel that they are respected, and this has helped create good rapport between my group mates and me. Also, I believe that good EQ can be cultivated with better understanding amongst people. This can be done by the better understanding of the culture background of others, and how we should interact with them or even details of what a certain gesture would mean to them.

In report writing, we were tasked to research on a problem and to bring solutions to the issue. The writing and analysis of the report was not a easy task, as certain data collected from the survey were not the results we expected. We had to explain results and make changes to our implementation plan to cater to the likings of the respondents. This is a very important skill to pick up as it would be necesary for us if we intend to be in the industry that provides service for people.

Another skill I learnt is to make a convincing presentation. A presentation is not as easy as it seems, it involves more than just presenting facts to the target audience. You need to have a convincing speech to impress the target audience and convince them to pick up the service or product you would like to implement. I particularly liked the part mentioned by Ms Happy Goh about praising others before you tell them there is something wrong with them in a nice way. I think this would open the target audiences' minds to ideas since they would think we understand what they are or have been doing.

ES2007S has showed me how to come up with a high standard oral presentation which would be effective for my future career.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for reading my blog and commenting for me all this time. Thank you..

I would like to end with a final video reported on the Straits Times. It is about a woman quarrelling with a man. It shows how the woman keep provoking the man and the man handles without exploding..

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Post 6: Mr Darren Zheng's Biodata

I am Darren Zheng, a year 4 Mechanical Engineering student in the National University of Singapore. I have worked in various places in China like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, which have broaden my horizon and experience to work. I speak fluent Chinese, possess a global outlook and enjoy travelling and interacting with people of different cultures.

I embrace leadership roles with passion and responsibility. I head a committee of 30 people for NUS openhouse Eusoff Hall, that received critical appreciation. In 2008, I was also the Sepak Takraw captain, and lead the team to a first and second finish in the Inter-Faculty Games.

Working as a medic during my National Service, I picked up leadership roles like being the OPS Room in-charged and had to handle medical and aircrafts emergencies. This role has help me equiped myself with strong situation management skills and good communicating skills.

I have a strong passion for music since young. I play the piano and have also won singing competition over the years. My dream would be to start a Seafood restuarant, as I love to see the smiles on people's face when that enjoy their food.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reflecting on the Research Project Experience

Our research project is titled 'Handling of unwanted lecture notes in NUS through an implementation of a paper collection service'. I had a positive learning experience doing this project as it helped me to better interact with people of the opposite gender (as my other previous projects in NUS were all with male project mates). People coming from different cultural backgrounds would also add flavour to the project as they offer different view points. I also learnt problem solving and how to retrieve and work with the information I have, and this really helped me to understand more about myself in terms of work capability.

Having clear communication is important as we can be more efficient in working on our individual parts. Clear communication would help to prevent misunderstandings from arising when everyone understands what they have to do.

Healthy interpersonal relationships are important to a group. It was comfortable to work with my group members as we could clique well and I would try to crack jokes when every one gets tired to liven up the atmosphere.

I would say that all the members in my group are team players. We come from different faculties, and when my other group member had midterms, I would volunteer to do more work and they would reciprocate when it was time for my midterms.

In the process of research, it was not smooth sailing for my group. We encountered problems of not being able to find articles about our topic, and the people from CSC were not responsive to our emails and enquiries.

Writing a report is not as simple as just writing down what results you have. You have to interpret the data according to the survey and from there, implement something that would be most welcomed within our limitations. This is no simple task as we will have to consider many factors before coming to a decision.

For a effective oral presentation, it is important to understand the communication process so that the audience can enjoy what you are presenting. Also, it is important to have good writing language to ensure the audience would understand what is written on the slides during presentation. Lastly, oral presentation skills are essential for effective communication.

Usually, presentations might not be as good when the presenters are stuck at questions posted by the audience. We should prepare answers that audience might ask to prevent a communication break down.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Evaluating Intercultural Behaviour

This episode took place a week ago during a project meeting in school between a Chinese and Malay friend of mine. My Chinese friend John, asked my Malay friend Maerdin, whether he wanted somthing to eat and Maerdin declined. John, thinking that Maerdin was being polite, decided to buy him a chicken wing. Little did John know that this is the fasting month of our Muslim friends. When John returned, he gave the chicken wing to Maerdin and asked him to eat it while its hot. Maerdin flared up, 'Can you be more considerate? I am fasting now!'. John immediately apologised to Maerdin, saying that he totally forgot that Maerdin is fasting. But Maerdin packed up his stuff and left the meeting.

From this short encounter, I learnt the significance of knowing the cultures and practices of other races. And this fully reflects that even in a small country like Singapore, many differences can exist between the practises of people from, difference race, and we should make a constant effort to find out more information about people we are interacting with. Although this gesture seemed unintentional, John could have been more sensitive about such culture practices, and the misunderstanding could have been avoided.

Maerdin might have thought John is mocking him, disrespecting him and his culture. As we know, our Malay friends take pride in their culture and practices, what John did could have been too much for Maerdin to accept. When I talked to John after the incident, he confessed that he honestly did not know that Maerdin was fasting and he had bought him the chicken wing as he heard his stomach growling that morning.

When I talked to my neighbour Uncle Nazri about this episode, he told me that although John could have been more sensitive toward Maerdin, Maerdin should not have reacted the way he did. Usually, our fellow Muslim friends would be gracious about it and reply 'I'm fasting' and just laugh it off. It could have been a bad day for Maerdin and that might have triggered his forceful reaction.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Final Topic..

Proposed title: An analysis on the feasibility of a biannual collection service to encourage the recycling of paper amongst NUS students.

Research question: What can be done to encourage the recycling of unwanted paper of NUS student?

Hypothesis: The implementation of a biannual collection service will encourage the recycling of paper amongst NUS students.

Problem Statement: The objective of this study is to analyze if the implementation of a biannual collection service can encourage students to participate in the recycling of paper.

Targeted Audience: Mr Joseph Mullnix (Chairman of the Campus Sustainability Steering Committee)

Potential Audience:
• Other members of CS
• NUS stuff and students
• Members of the Tertiary Institutions Council For the Environment (TICFC)
• Other organizations that aims to play an active role in the recycling of paper

Tentative Purpose Statement: The objective of the report is to inform the Chairman of CSC of the lack of effort of NUS student in the recycling of paper within campus. Another objective is to convince the Chairman that this virtue can be encouraged by implementing a biannual collection service to facilitate the recycling of paper.

Methodology to be used:

1. Literature review
- Effects of usage of paper on the environment; how bad is the effect of
- The process of recycling of paper.
- What would affect the process of recycling paper (eg. Oil stain on paper?)

2. Emails(To the relevent organisation to enquire information regarding cost
involved or whether any licensing is required)

3. Survey (if the process of creating to find out how receptive are students toward
the above mentioned service.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Potention Research Project Topics (Week 4)

'Going Green' is a lifestyle that NUS have been actively propagating, especially in recent years. In the past few decades, the condition of mother Earth has been deteriorating exceptionally fast due to urbanisation. Animals lose their habitats because of deforestation for the production of paper. As such, I feel that much can be done to reduce the cutting down of trees through the recycling of used paper, and this would help to conserve their habitat.

As we know, students use very large quantities of paper simply on the printing of notes. At the end of the semester (after their exams), they just throw their notes into the bin instead of recycling them. This is quite a disturbing trend, but we cannot blame these students as there is no proper and convenient channel for them to recycle such unwanted paper.

Proposition (Research Topic):
Promote a service in campus to collect unwanted paper from students at the end of each semester.

General Research Question:
What do students do with their unwanted papers, and would they welcome such a recycling service if it is provided?

Possible Hypothesis:
Students would like to be an 'Earth-Saving' member by reducing the cutting down of trees through recycling unwanted paper.

This collection point could be run by students (probably NUSSU). There could be a designated point outside the examination halls for students to drop their unwanted notes at, after their exam. The near proximity of the recycling point to the examination would make it convenient for students to dispose of their unwanted paper. In addition, the money recovered from the selling papers to the 'Garang Guni Man' can be used for the needy students.

An attitudinal survey is much needed in this research topic, since the proposed service targets mostly campus students. We can use the survey to find out how students dispose their unwanted notes, raise awareness of what we can do with our unwanted notes and examine if such a service is needed and welcomed by the student body. Also, knowing the views and concerns of the students allows the proposed idea to be refined accordingly. Suggestions derived from the survey also allows necessary changes to be made to better facilitate the needs of students.

Friday, August 29, 2008

An Interpersonal Conflict Situation

Staying in hall is indeed a place of self-discovering experiences and has made me a more mature and responsible person. It is a place where one learns much about himself, one chooses or decides actions that he should take.

I would like to narrate an unpleasant incident I had with a friend in hall that left a deep impression on me. Last year, I headed the External Relations Committee (ERC) in Eusoff Hall. As I was afraid there would be a lack of applicants, I asked some friends living on the same level as me to join this committee, and I promised them verbally that they would likely be accepted into the committee.

Due to the overwhelming response in applicants, the 2 other vice-heads and I had to choose 15 members out of the 50 applicants. The heads voted in private, in a manner similar to American Idol. As long as 2 heads vote 'no', the member is out. After the first round of screening, we had 25 members on our list. Therefore, I decided to talk to the JCRC president to increase the enrolment, of which he agreed to increase to 20. The other heads and I would now have to take away 5 members from the 25. Out of the 25, the other heads decided to vote one of my friends out of the list, even after much persuasion from me not to do so. When the selection results were released, my above mentioned friend was very 'pissed off' and refused to talk to me- and I did not realise it until Derek actually informed me about how my friend felt then. Eventually, after apologizing and explaining the underlying reason for not including him in ERC, we finally reconciled.

Through the ES2007S seminar, I learnt that we can use the six second's strategies to improve our EQ. In retrospect, although I scored 80% for the EQ test, I reckon that this result is inaccurate as I lack the fundamental skills to make up for good EQ. I lack honesty and accountability skills. Perhaps it was my bad that I did not talk to my friend about the selection results before releasing them. And I should know my own power and capability and not agree to something I cannot fulfil. He probably felt left out as he might have wondered why was he the only one that had not been selected.

Although it was bad on my part that I could not deliver my promise, do you think that my friend's inability to accept the situation displays a lack of EQ on his part, or does the lack of EQ come from myself?