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For this final course post, I will reflect on the communication skills that I have developed in this module, in terms of the 7Cs. I will give some examples to explain my ideas. (I know it’s crazily long, but i just want to recall everything in class, so forgive me to throw aways the word number limit this time:)

1. Clear: I learnt that effective communication requires both sides give and receive messages clearly.

Brad is always very kind and seldom angry. But sometimes, more or less, I could feel he was quite unsatisfied with us, due to ineffective communications.

Firstly, when we should conduct our first resume peer review, most of us didn’t get our resumes and application letters at hand. But his other groups were well prepared and he was asking, why? What’s wrong with you guys? … Brad also explained that he didn’t remind us, but I think everything was on the schedule so it was us who didn’t get the message clearly.

Secondly, for our blog 4: interpersonal conflict, we were asked to describe a scenario of conflict, ask one question and give feedback in light of EQ principles. I remember that he especially talked about this post and pointed out that we didn’t pay attention to the requirements by giving some examples. We either didn’t ask questions properly or give comments in light of EQ principles, and so on. After that, everyone got the points clearly and posted blogs following the instructions well.

Thirdly, it was just a small incident. Brad asked us to email him the research link without email etiquette. But later on, he told us we still didn’t follow him… Maybe some people still said “how are you” or something like that.

In conclusion, to achieve effective communication, we must pay attention to the detail, either it is spoken or written, either for speakers or listeners, so that everyone understand the message clearly. By the way, if one is not sure, he can always ask, right?    

2. Concise: I learnt that we’d better make our message concise for the busy people (actually I think everyone is busy, right?).

For the blog, I feel that Edmund’s posts are quite concise, and he cut his articles into short paragraphs, which makes me feel the articles are concise and well organized, and I am willing to spend time reading.

For the verbal conciseness, I think that my research project team achieved it in the presentation. If I am not mistaken, my team had the least slides and least sentences. Especially I only got 4 slides and every slide had only one sentence, except the last one which was the conclusion. I think I made my message concise by giving the 3 take-away points in the end. I am not sure whether the audiences were sleepy or not during my presentation, but I am quite sure that everyone took away the 3 main points, which was exactly my purpose.

In summary, conciseness helps make communication effective for everyone, especially the busy and forgetful people.       

3. Concrete: I learnt that concrete messages tend to be more accurate and convincing.

We posted two blogs in terms of interpersonal and intercultural scenarios. And I think everyone’s posting was specific and interesting. I really enjoyed reading these personal experiences and also learnt a lot from different stories. Also remember Brad’s words that we should not generalize, since our experiences are personal and “too concrete”.  

Another typical example of concreteness is Yong Feng’s presentation. Yong Feng calculated the ratio of students to seats in every faculty and the ratio of satisfied surveyees to unsatisfied surveyees, and in the presentation, he only showed us the numbers, which was accurate, believable and concise. Now I still remember the 4:1 and 7:1.

In a word, effective communication requires combination of concise and concrete words. However, I believe concrete terms are more clear and easy to understand.   

4. Correct: I learnt that correct communication requires correct Language (I mean English).

I have to admit that my English is not good enough. I really thank Brad, Elin and Cosin for pointing out my language mistakes in my blogs. And I will be more careful when I write.

Another problem is my pronunciation. I am always speaking Chinglish, sometimes, I cannot pronounce correctly or clearly, and sometimes I cannot understand others’ words. I agree with Brad that we should talk with native speakers, so that we can listen and imitate them to correct the pronunciation and improve English.

In short, correctness is very important, and I have to learn and improve.

5. Coherent: I learnt that messages need to be put together so that the receivers can get the main point.

One example is the resume and cover letter. Through the peer review, I noticed that in the resume, some of us didn’t include enough and convincing relevant experiences to indicate that they are qualified for the job. Also some may just tell many general experiences, which is not specific and coherent. When we write a resume, we may always keep the job and requirements in mind, and only write the related things.

Another example is the proposal. I think my team’s proposal was quite good, and the score was satisfactory. Actually 4 of us all did our own writing parts, and then finalized it. I think we successfully combined each part and made the proposal in one tone so that people would not feel it was written by 4 different students.

Finally, to make ourselves better understood, we should improve the coherence of our message through connecting words, phrases and relevant contents, and so on.

 

6. Complete: I learnt that we should make our information complete, especially in writing.

If I am not mistaken, Brad mentioned that some research teams missed some contents, like conclusion and secondary resources in the proposal, so they lost marks. Also I think, to avoid misunderstanding, everyone should convey complete messages.   

7. Courteous: I learnt that the etiquette plays a critical role in communication, especially in the business.

I am impressed on peer teaching 2, which taught us how to write business email properly. The message should be positive, out of goodwill, and for the convenience of the reader. Also pay attention to the title, greeting, and language itself.

Moreover, during the verbal communication, being courteous can make conversation easier. Like our class, even though it was kind of casual, everyone was courteous, and there was a harmony and happy atmosphere.

  

hope you are not sleepy now~~~

After talking about so much, what I finally want to say is that I enjoyed the class very much and I will remember everyone and everything in the class. My English and communication are not excellent, but I am always learning and improving. I learnt a lot from our dear teacher Brad, and everyone in the class, so thanks a lot for spending this unforgettable semester together. And wish you all the best 🙂

Reflection of the oral presentation

As for my personal part, my performance is still so-so. Compared to my peer teaching, this time I talked more and I was really very nervous. But luckily, I finished my part on time. For my delivery, I have to admit that my English is still not as fluent and standard as others, but I believe I improved compared with my first speech. I am not sure whether the audiences caught me clearly or not. Understanding this weakness, I tried other ways to make my points clear, which was highlighting the 3 main points in the end.

My weakness is my language is not good enough; my strength, I think, is that I can always try other approach to compensate for my poor English ( like eye contact, smile, gestures, talking slowly and so on). This is just my idea. To be honest, I really want to hear from my classmates, and I hope that you can kindly give me feedbacks. I may miss some points and you can remind me. I also looking forward to watching the video, and I believe it will be interesting and surprising ( I just hope that I look and sound normal~~~).

Well, we all learn from each other, so please feel free to leave your valuable feedback. Thanks a lot

Intercultural Communication – About Assumption

I have been in Singapore for over 1 year, and  there is always one thing that makes me uncomfortable. I am myself a particularly punctual person, and I was taught to be strictly punctual in every situation in China. And I assumed people here were the same. Also my habit is to arrive ahead of 5-10mins, but every time most of the attendees were late for 5-10 mins, sometimes even worse, 20-30nins, and they thought nothing of it.

Recently I attended a quite formal workshop on campus. It should have started at 6:30, so as usual I arrived at 6:25. But I just found that I was one of the first few people there, including some staffs. I registered and entered the auditorium, then I found the speaker was already on the stage and ready to talk. But obviously, most people(over 90%) had not arrived yet. Then after 10 mins, more people came gradually. Finally, the presentation began at about 6:45. The whole event was delayed over 15 mins, and it seemed that no body noticed this.

I don’t know if this is their habit. I think I made a mistake, which was I assumed all people were punctual like me. Now I know, the safety-first consequence of recognizing cultural differences should be to assume that everyone’s thoughts and actions are not just like mine. Some people here like to be casual and they are not so strict in time issue. Maybe it’s just their way, so I have no need to be angry or uncomfortable. Now for me, I still try to be punctual in most cases, and choose to be late for some events.

I  don’t think being late is a trend in Singapore, though I do have a lot of such “late experiences”. Anyway, I will keep to be punctual.

interpersonal conflict

How important the interpersonal skills can be?

What a tragedy a poor EQ can lead to?

Here is just one miserable example.

23th February, 2004, a Chinese college student by the name of Ma Jiajue, killed his 4 roommates and escaped from school. However, eventually he was arrested and sentenced to death on 17th June 2004.

Who is Ma Jiajue?

He was a student of Yunnan University, taking undergraduate course, year 4. He had excellent academic performance, even though his family was rather poor. Once, he was a talent with high IQ, strong body, and a tough character. And he had his sister, old parents and old grandmother in her seventies, who all went down on their knees to the victims’ families. So why eventually he lost his head and chose this way? According to his own explanation, the direct cause was that they said he cheated in the card game, which was wrong and made him out of control.

The interpersonal conflict

Because of poverty, his roommates usually looked down upon him and he was a loser, at least he himself thought so. For example, he tried to be sincere, so he shared a lot with his roommates like habits, lifestyle and even some privacy, but they just laughed at him due to poverty. Moreover, he also tried to get into their circle by telling some jokes, but what he got was, he felt, also sneer. Finally it came to the day when they played cards, he did not cheat but his roommates insisted that he did, which again made he feel he was looked down upon. Unfortunately his anger volcano explored, and killed the 4 roommates with a hammer.

So who should be responsible to this tragedy?

Ma Jiajue? How about the victims themselves, how about the whole society environment?

Of course, this was mainly Ma’s fault. I think his interpersonal skills and communications are not effective. Effective communication is not only conversation, but also action, which means he could actually gain respect from others by doing meaningful things. By the way, his might also have some psychological problems, because he always thought people laugh at him.

In my opinion, the victims should also take responsibility. I think their EQ was poor, because they said or did things in an improper way so that Ma felt upset and angry; even worse, they always did so without awareness of potential danger, and eventually forced him out of control.

I have to mention that in schools, students tend to compare unrealistically, especially compare the financial condition. So the poor tend to feel themselves inferior, and think others are looking down upon them, which is sometimes true. This causes a lot of interpersonal conflicts and I really don’t know how to avoid it. What I suggest is, if one cannot change the environment, changes himself.

Actually interpersonal conflicts among college students are quite common and should be taken seriously by us. The above example may be an extreme one, but I can just make it more general. So my question is——how can we solve this kind of interpersonal conflicts between two who seem to come from two different worlds and have nothing in common? (For instance, Ma was poor and his roommates were much richer, so it seemed normal and easy to misunderstand each other because they really thought the same thing in different ways, right?)

i think, this is inevitable but solvable, so feel free to share your ideas  =p

communication in my part-time job

Just to share something about my part-time job.

Generally speaking, a good class bungalow’s price is between 15 and 20 millions, so both the seller and buyer are well-known chief executive officers, businessmen or celebrities. So my boss is dealing with these kinds of people.

Of course, normal people may wonder, how can you communicate with these people? It must be very troublesome and challenging. However, to be honest, rich people are still emotional, so it may not be so difficult to communicate with them. And when my boss talked with his client, it seemed that he was just talking with a normal friend, simple like that. For example, during a training, his client called him, so he turned up the volume, and let all trainees listen to the conversation. Firstly, he greeted politely, and then started to talk about the business. The client was driving, and lost way, so he asked my boss about the road; after that he complained his wife was particular about the house and wanted to view more, then he talked about the “Fengshui Master” and someone’s death in the swimming pool, referring to the history of Sentosa. They chat for over 30 minutes, making jokes and laughing. I could never feel that my boss was flattering, or the client was arrogant. After that, every trainee present was surprised and inspired.

As for my boss himself, actually he is also a millionaire, who is humble and sincere. during the 3 months, he never scolded me. most importantly, before he gave me a new assignment, he would ask me whether I was willing or not, if not, he just employed another person to do it for him. to be honest, i was quite moved and i am not sure if i can be lucky enough to have another boss like him in my future.

Eventually I asked him how to deal with these business clients, and he concluded: what really works is not the communication skill itself, but the personality of yourself, which means always being humble and sincere, and that’s the point. So I feel effective communication is quite comprehensive, which requests a lot of practice. Personally this course caters to me and I have confidence to improve my communication.

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