Monday, 12 November 2012

Final Reflection on Learning

"Farewell, for the present."

It is week 13. Whoa. Time obviously flies. At the end of our module, I would like to express my gratitude to my ES2007S tutor, Mr. Brad Blackstone, and all my classmates in Group 3. Without you all, I would not have felt the same excitement every Monday and Thursday. Honestly, this is the most interactive, dynamic and exciting module I have ever taken so far. We did not just sit, stare and listen. We were parts of it. :) More importantly, thank you for all the constructive feedback which really contributed in my continuous improvement in professional communication.

Comparing myself at the beginning of this semester to myself today, I have learnt tons of things in this module:

Delivering an engaging oral presentation - The first time I had to make a presentation was in 7th grade. At that time, I was fascinated by how one of my classmate managed to make a presentation consisted of more than 100 slides and mostly filled by text. In the last six years, presentation techniques have developed and changed. This course has provided me with the latest yet most effective presentation techniques so far. Most importantly, now I understand that the objective is not only delivering the materials, but also making the materials memorable.

Writing a proposal - As a chemistry student, I wrote endless lab reports but I have never written a single proposal. I would not learn a thing about proposal (until it's too late!) if it's not because of this module.

Communicating effectively - I believe that I have improved my verbal and non-verbal communication skill... a lot, and learnt how gestures play an important role in communication.

Improving my writing - I love writing but many a time I only focused on the flow of my writing and neglected the importance of other aspects. This course pushed me to write more frequently and to adhere to the 7Cs and, consequently, improved my writing.

Being visible - One of the takeaway points that I can hardly forget from this course, somehow, is that being visible is important. This successfully encouraged me to take up more responsibilities and involve in more activities (hope I won't bite off more than I can chew!).

Fake it until you become it - This sentence will always linger in my head. Credits to Amy Cuddy!

Last but not least, don't be a stranger! :D

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Evaluation of Oral Presentation

Finally, my group and I have done the long-awaited oral presentation. In my opinion, our team had put a lot of effort through weekly meetings and brainstorming. We learnt and strove to do the necessary survey and interview and to analyze statistical data. The most interesting yet challenging part was interviewing the authority (in our case, we would like to thank Ms. May Yee from IRO). It was challenging because, unlike interviews for media that I had done before, we had to convey a problem to the related authority without making it sound like a complaint. Thankfully, the interview ended well. :)

During the oral presentation, although there is a room for improvements, I really feel that my presentation skill has improved. If I had a chance to re-do the presentation, I would try to deliver my speech more fluently. I would also try to be more clear-headed so I would not miss out some minor points. Although I managed to maintain more eye contact, I believe I can still improve on that.

However, I feel that my performance was better than my peer-teaching presentation since I successfully avoided looking at the slides. My practice was paid off since I managed to vary my tone and deliver the important points that I wanted to tell to the audiences.

All in all, through the presentation, I have learnt a lot of things but there are some weaknesses that I still have to work at. Last but not least, I would love to hear your suggestions or comments! :)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Evaluating Intercultural Behavior

Intercultural Scenario

I arrived in Singapore more than a year ago. It was not my first time but a lot of things had changed since the last time I visited Singapore. After unpacking endless stuffs that I brought, my mother and I decided to go for a grocery shopping. It was around 6 PM and a bunch of people in formal attires were rushing to squeeze themselves into packed trains and buses. When we were going to cross the street, we saw a bus was moving at a high speed. We decided to stand on the sidewalk and wait for the bus to pass but suddenly the bus screeched and stopped right before the zebra cross.

I had no idea what was going on. Did we do something wrong? Did the driver think we wanted to board the bus? However, there was no nearby bus stop and we were practically just standing and staring at the road. We did not send any signals to stop the bus.
The bus driver looked a bit grumpy and waved his hand impatiently, signaling us to cross the street. My mother and I quickly crossed the street, feeling bad for the bus driver.


In Indonesia, zebra crosses are usually not of much use to pedestrians and jaywalking is a commonly observed habit. Most of the time, pedestrians have to wave their hand to slow down the drivers before crossing the street whereas in Singapore, most drivers readily give way for pedestrians when approaching zebra crosses even when there was no signal. To sum up, in this case, the fundamental difference between Singapore and Indonesia cultures lies on the obedience to some specific traffic rules.
Furthermore, miscommunication might arise in the presence of such a difference. In this case, failure to decode each other’s non-verbal cues (waiting on the sidewalk to let the bus pass and stopping the bus to let the pedestrians cross the street) is the root of the ineffective communication.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Cover Letter and Resume

Job Posting

My Address
Singapore 1****

* September 2012

Director of Human Capital Management
Health Sciences Authority
11, Outram Road
Singapore 169078

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am currently a second-year Applied Chemistry undergraduate at NUS, writing to apply for an internship as a Scientist of Forensic Chemistry and Physics Laboratory. For me, this is a wonderful opportunity to consolidate the skills and knowledge I have acquired so far and to be a part of the dynamic team. Furthermore, through my studies and active participations in various competitions and co-curricular activities, I believe that I am the suitable candidate for this position.

Majoring in applied chemistry has equipped me with various key skills that will be beneficial in laboratory such as operating FT-IR, UV-vis spectrometer, and conducting TLC analysis. Moreover, my keen interest in forensic science has led me to delve deeper into this field beyond the forensic science modules I have taken. Coupled with my wide exposure to international students in a professional communication course, I am confident that I have developed strong oral presentation and interpersonal skills to be a dynamic team player.

Beyond my academic involvement, I have been participating actively in various co-curricular activities. Being a writer of the largest student publication at NUS and the official publication of Indonesian Students' Association in Singapore, I have acquired valuable time management skills to cope with tight deadlines and honed my writing skills. Furthermore, as a reporter working in a team, I cultivated strong teamwork and organizational skills.

I believe that I possess the qualifications and enthusiasm that you are looking for. I thrive on challenges and I am willing to spend the time and effort it takes to succeed. Thank you, and I am looking forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Teresa Widodo

1st draft: Revised by Jie Wei
2nd draft: Revised by Eunice - Edited 15/9 2012
3rd draft: Revised by Serene - Edited 16/9 2012
4th draft: Revised by Brad Blackstone - Edited 4/10 2012

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Nuts And Bolts of Interpersonal Conflict

Personalities are like colors: a few primary colors mix and turn into bazillion colors. Color mixing is beautiful. So is a variety of personalities. However, there were times when I met people with 'colors' that simply did not match.

One of the worst combination of colors is a Nerd and a Bold. Nerds are those who you normally find spending their time hanging around with textbooks. On the other hand, there are those I call Bolds who are choleric, courageous and confident. I met a Nerd and a Bold when I was in the tenth grade. Both of them were my classmates.

One day, there was an announcement that we did not have to go to school the next day.

“Yeay! No school tomorrow!” was the first reaction that echoed in the class. It was Joe, one of my classmates. He was a sociable guy and a leader at heart. He was also really good at debate since he was rather headstrong and could easily express his thoughts.

Daniel, who was sitting in front of him at that time, was quite the contrary. He was reserved and unique in a sense that he faced his life in a very serious manner. He obeyed the rules and teachers very much. He even did his best to please the teachers. When he heard his classmate's euphoric reaction to the announcement, he was upset. He turned to Joe and slapped him.

“You should not be happy because of holiday!”

Joe replied fiercely, ”Gosh! You know what, Daniel? I bet you will not be a successful person in the future! High IQ and passing tests with flying colors won't compensate for your lack of EQ. You don't have what it takes to be a leader.”

I could observe Daniel was quite shocked by the response. He frowned and turned away. Joe, on the other side, was relieved after expressing his opinion and took a deep breath.
The two have never got along with each other ever since. At almost every opportunity, one would confront another and begin heated discussions.

If you were one of them, what would you do to solve this conflict?

Edited 12/9/2012 : Thanks to Dhanya and Serene! :)

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I came across a picture taken by Mike Shaw just now. The picture is wonderful, strong and somewhat touching in my opinion . Along with the picture, the photographer posted :


"... A simple man that shows his life on his face and the callouses you can feel on his hands makes eye contact through your lens. Neither of you can speak each others language but it does not matter. 

Throughout your lives you are going to make so many contacts, some fleeting and some lifelong but its not the contacts you make, its how you make the contact that will stay with you for the rest of your life."

How have you made the contact up till now? :)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Why Effective Communication Skills Are Important For Me

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make afirst impression. It’s no surprise that many people are stuck in the sin ofprejudice. According to Richard Maun, business coach and author of Job Hunting3.0, as quoted in Guardian Jobs, “people make up 90% of their mind in the first90 seconds”.

Being a girl of prejudice myself, I am well aware that theability to win people over with a great first impression is of importance. Peoplewill judge the way I dress up, talk and move even from the very first time theyland their eyes on me. How to deal with it? I can learn to be an impeccabledresser in no time (thanks to Seventeen and Vogue). Unfortunately, as the onlychild in my family, I grew up as an introvert: reserved and no ‘natural borncharmer’.

Over the years, countless ideas popped into my head without mybeing able to share them. A few years ago, I found refuge in writing. All theseyears, I prefer texting over calling and non-verbal over verbal communication. SinceI cannot hide behind the written words all the time, I realize that I have tostart learning about effective communication skills.

Furthermore, I always have a keen interest in ‘reading’people between the lines. The obvious can be easily grasped by anyone in an instant but there may be something hidden in gestures and choice of words.My inability to understand non-verbal cues might eventually raiseunintentional conflicts.

Therefore, I believe that effective communication isessential. By mastering the skills, I will be able to share my ideas and interpretthe universal language that everyone ‘speaks’ (that is non-verbal cues) andflourish.

Edited 27 Aug 2012