official post #2 : Resolving Interpersonal Conflict

Two student councillors and I were the people in-charge of our school’s upcoming end-of-year Prom Night, which would be held after our school seniors have completed their GCE Advance Level examinations. It was only less than two months remaining before the event. However, it was also just one month away from our final year examinations.

Besides the three of us, there were also two Teacher Advisors whom we must submit any proposals related to the Prom Night to. Since it was close to both the examinations and Prom Night, both teachers and the three of us were under immense pressure and felt stressed. Despite many responsibilities already at hand, there was one pressing issue which had to be settled at soon as possible. It was the purchasing of door gifts which will be distributed to all seniors who would be attending Prom Night.

The three of us wanted a door gift which would be well-liked and would be taken home by the seniors so as to reduce possible wastage of gifts. In the previous year, the organisers chose to give an engraved metal tag to all attendees. However, the door gifts were not well received and the organisers were left with many unwanted door gifts.

The three of us then proposed to the teachers that a miniature teddy bear wearing our school crest would be a suitable door gift, as it was something which we felt was enticing enough for our seniors to bring home. One of our teachers, however, was strongly for scented soap bars as door gifts. The three of us felt that the idea of soap bars as door gifts appeared to be cliché and unsuitable, as the recipients of the door gifts would be students. Despite protests from us, the teacher insisted on scented soap bars as she felt it was aesthetically pleasing and that it was a practical item. Furthermore, the cost of producing a miniature bear was relatively higher as compared to the cost of manufacturing a bar of scented soap.

Both parties (3 student councillors versus 1 teacher) went on debating on this issue for the three days and it lead to further dissatisfaction and disagreement between both parties. This is despite both parties writing up short proposals in order to convince the other side that their choice of door gifts were more suitable. In addition, a short meeting lasting at least half an hour was held among the five of us (there was still a neutral teacher involved) to try and reach an agreement. However, the meeting was unproductive.

It was possible that the three of us were just being stubborn during that period, due to stress from teachers and examinations. However, it may be possible that the teacher was insisting on the soap bars due to her own personal preference, as the other teacher involved did not support her idea of having soap bars as a door gift.

Question: So what could have both parties done better on their part so that a common agreement could be reached in a shorter time?

*PS. This is similar to a real life scenario which happened to me a few years back. I will reveal what actually happened after that 🙂

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pre-post #2

Currently planning and thinking through about our 2nd official post on interpersonal conflicts. I was just searching around about the types of interpersonal conflicts as I felt that there were many types of interpersonal conflict.  Most of such conflicts are due to miscommunication, so I just wanted to get an idea how these conflicts can be categorized, how it is directly related to poor communication and how it can be resolved.

 

I managed to get an rough idea from this weblink for a start: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5552016_types-interpersonal-conflict.html

 

Main types of interpersonal conflict stated on the webpage above are:

  • People-Focused VS Issue-Focused
  • Personal Differences
  • Informational Deficiencies
  • Role Incompatibility
  • Environmental Stress
Ok, time to think it through clearly for the 2nd official post!

 

 

 

 

What does communication skills have to do with the Presidential Election 2011?

After a  neck and neck race between 2 worthy presidential candidates ( Dr Tony Tan and Dr Tan Cheng Bock), Dr Tony Tan has been officially named the next President of Singapore after a recount of votes. Of course, we cannot forget about the other 2 presidential candidates, Mr Tan Jee Say and Mr Tan Kim Lian. So, what does communication skills have to do with any of the 4 candidates?

Mr Tan Kin Lian was the first to concede defeat after the voting had ended on the 27th of August, after visiting a few of the vote counting centres. After announcing that he was unlikely to win the presidential race, he had posted up a survey on his blog to gather feedback about his presidential campaign. I personally felt that his poor communication skills was  one of  the reasons why he had received the lowest number of votes among the four candidates, and this reason was also brought up by the people who had given feedback to him.

The following article by Straits Times (http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_707154.html) had been aptly titled ‘ High five and excessive blinking hurt Tan Kin Lian’s campaign’. Even Mr Tan himself said that “The high five is not suitable for adults – handshakes are better.” In some sense, Mr Tan’s non-verbal communication was poor, as he chose a relatively unsuitable way to present himself. Given the seriousness of a Presidential Election, a high-five could have been seen as a informal action, something which people with authority will not usually do. Maybe people felt that his high-fives had indirectly signaled to them that Mr Tan was not sincere or serious about the presidential race, even though Mr Tan had campaigned wholeheartedly. In addition, his ‘excessive blinking’ might had misled people to think he was not confident or sure about himself (since excessive blinking might be due to nervousness or panic). Hence, these non verbal actions most likely had a negative impact on his image and eventually the number of votes he eventually received.

Of course, credit must be given to the fact that he still had some idea about good communication skills, since he did create a survey for Singaporeans to feedback  to. It shows that he knew he had to learn from the feedback and find out whether he had been sending the ‘correct messages’ to Singaporeans all along. Also, Mr Tan has a blog post (http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2010/10/five-levels-of-communication-in.html) related to communication skills, so he is aware of the importance about communicating well. He has stated that he wants to continue to be the voice of the people via other various channels,  so I do hope that his communication skills improve so he can do so.

And to everyone out there, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri! 🙂

 

PS: I am not pro/anti Mr Tan yah 🙂

word limit and barriers in communication

I’m currently multi-tasking, reading fellow classmates blogs and replying to my customers queries on twitter/email.

*extra background information : I’m currently running a blogshop and I mostly deal with my customers online via twitter, email or sms*

 

I have realised sometime ago that the word limit on twitter (140 letters) was a form of communication barrier between me and my customer. Sometimes 140 letters is just not enough for me to explain to my customer certain details or information, so to be safe and for everyone’s benefit, I would use TwitLonger (http://www.twitlonger.com/)  so that I can write and explain more. Of course, I would thoroughly reply my customers should they enquire via email, but I would try to keep it concise since no one would like to see a lengthy email for a reply right?

 

Recently, I had queries from 2 customers (who happen to be my repeat customers and friends, hohoho), one via twitter and one via email. But with both of them, I have already encountered communication problems with them T.T

Although I have tried my best to explain as clearly as possible initially, somehow they do not seem to understand or catch what I have been trying to tell them, so they shoot the same question back at me. In turn, this leads me to provide them with an even longer reply, hoping that by being more detailed, it will give them a clearer picture. Alas, they still do not understand what is going on. It makes me rather frustrated, given that they were my repeat customers and what I was telling them were exact the same things I had told them in the past and they had understood and everything was okay back then.

Whether the encoding or decoding part had gone wrong, I am not too sure, but I am trying to find out. On my part, it may have been possible that my choice of words were inappropriate(?) or too difficult(?) for them to understand. Luckily, I have a good friend/partner who is helping me with the replies (and she too is appalled by the queries which these same customers have sent in repeatedly). Oh, what would be the best solution then?

*Or maybe the customers are just trying to be difficult? XD*

haha, this post sounds like a complain XD

official post #1: why effective communication skills are important for me

Being an average performing student for almost my whole life, I was never given the chance to attend ‘special classes and lessons’ which my previous school had provided only for the top students in the cohort. Basically, these special classes had provided them with proper training on how to write proper job resumes, application letters to top overseas universities, interview skills and communication skills.

We are all aware of how important such skills are to us, especially to fresh graduates, whether we are applying to a university to further our studies or applying a job at a respectable company. Despite being told countless times that these skills were important and necessary, we did not know where we could learn them properly from. Honestly, I had no idea on how a cover letter should be like until I searched it up on the Internet. From the start, I have been at a slight disadvantage as compared to these top students, as I was not offered guidance on such skills. I, too, would like to be on a comparable level as those who had the chance to learn professional communication skills before, so that at least we are on even ground while competing for jobs/university places. Only then, would I have a fighting chance out there.

One day, should I be deprived of a place in graduate school or my dream job just because my application letter was not as well written, I would feel very unjustified as well as upset with myself for not having the initiative to pick up the skills early on.

I will not just sit back and let my opportunities slip. Thankfully, it is still not too late for me to learn effective communication skills now.

nope, it is still not the 250-300 word ‘academic post’

Ok, maybe I’m starting to abuse this blog slightly, since one of our ‘homework’  was…..

“For your first post, survey the various topics and skills that we will cover in this course. Next, explain clearly and concisely in 250-300 words why effective communication skills are important for you.”

Ok, clearly my first post (and my second post 😦 ) has nothing much to do with es2007s (sorry!), but I GUESS its indirectly related?

The current hot topic in Singapore is about the Singapore Presidential Election 2011, since for the first time since 1993 there will be a polling day for all eligible Singaporeans to cast their vote for any of the 4 presidential hopefuls. I’ve paid great interest in the General Elections this year and the same goes for this round of Presidential Elections. Oh what an exciting time we live in XD

BUT OF COURSE, if given an opportunity, I would recommend to all 4 candidates to take a course similar to es2007, not that they aren’t speaking well or are poor communicators. It’s just that maybe with better communication skills, in the future they may be able to reach out to Singaporeans better, be able to present their case better to the parliament/government and even be able to communicate more effectively with other leaders around the world. There is no other better person to define ‘professional’ in ‘Professional Communication’ then the President himself.

Earlier this afternoon, I was following Channel NewsAsia’s coverage of the Presidential Nomination Day process closely. A few of candidates (thou shall not name names) confused me slightly when answering reporters’ questions or when they were giving their 2 minute long speeches. Maybe they were nervous/hyped up/excited/too fast when they were speaking, but I did not get the grasp of what point they were trying to make, simply because whatever they were saying was repeated/out of context/random. At a time like this, it dawned upon me how important communication skills were.

 

 

 

Please do not flame me T.T These are just some of my random thoughts and I just thought it was somewhat related to this module…

*PS AGAIN – this is just a random post! The post answering the above question will be up soon! I promise! 🙂*

:D

hohoho, 1st post on my new blog!

This time, this blog is for this module I’m currently taking in AY11/12 Semester 1. This is probably my ‘nth’ blog I have created and will be managing currently. Woah. And this is the 2nd blog created for ‘academic purpose’ so far during my time in NUS (the 1st one being created last year for another module I took. Any curious souls, here’s the link http://thisblogaddresshasbeentaken.blogspot.com/.

With so many different sites to blog on (Blogger, Tumblr, Livejournal etc), I’ve chosen WordPress this time as I’ve recently moved my blogshop from Livejournal to WordPress platform. Might as well take the chance to learn more about WordPress, since it will benefit both ES2007S and my blogshop XD

Ok, time to email Mr Brad my link and to write my post soon!

*PS, THIS IS NOT THE 250-300 WORDS POST WE’RE SUPPOSE TO MAKE! :p*

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