Professional Communication

Sunday, November 9, 2008 2:26 AM

The Finale

Time really flies. I did not realize that 12 weeks have just flown past and I am already at the stage of writing my final post to conclude the module. I have to admit that I did go through ups and downs during this time period due to the taxing workload that we had to bear at times. However, I am also glad to say that I did not regret any moments spent on this module because I did walk away with a full bag of communication knowledge.

I am pleased that this module provided us with the opportunities to put into practice some of these communication skills that we have learnt in the classroom. In particular, the survey report serves to be one of the important tools for us to better understand the various aspects of effective communication.

Firstly, the aspect of effective communication allows me to bring my points and ideas across to my teammates effectively. In the process, a mutual understanding and chemistry was formed between my teammates which prove to be crucial as we build on such relationship to ensure the smooth progression of our report writing process.

Secondly, I also experienced the aspect of written communication as we had to adhere to the 20 page limit for our report. Such experiences taught me the importance of the 7Cs of effective writing as the utilization of these skills allows me to structure my ideas concisely and bring it clearly to the readers.

Next, the oral presentation serves to sum up the whole learning process as I gained precious knowledge on the mechanisms of structuring a persuasive presentation so as to sell an idea to the target audience. I strongly believe this would prove to be beneficial if I were to land a job which entails marketing skills in the future.

And finally, I am also very pleased that I made used of the science of job search communication to land myself an internship for the upcoming December holidays. During the interview, I was also tasked to write a business correspondence email on the spot. I believe that I would not have been able to pull off with such ease if not for the knowledge gained from the module.

All in all, I would like to thank Ms Goh for transferring all these valuable knowledge to us. And to all my classmates, thanks for all the wonderful experiences and comments that you all have offered in my blog posts.


Friday, October 24, 2008 8:43 PM

Sze Min's Biodata

My name is Sze Min and I am currently a third year undergraduate in NUS majoring in Life Science with concentration in molecular cell biology. I was previously from Pasir Ris Secondary and Tampines Junior College. Through the education experience, I found that my passion and interest of my future career lies in providing the public with a better health care system. This led me to volunteer and work in Tan Tock Seng Hospital which allows me to gain deeper insights of the hospital workings in the process. Such experiences actually spur me on to my current major hoping for a chance to embark on some research work in the future. Out of the classroom, I am an avid sportsperson who practically enjoys all kinds of sports with special interest in water sports. Particularly, it was my passion for canoeing in my JC days which led me to the appointment of the vice captain role in my team and enable me to learn intangible leadership and human relation skills. My other aspiration is to be an entrepreneur and venture into business when I have the capital to do so.


Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:19 PM

My Reflections

This project presents a new learning experience to me as this only the second survey report that I have completed since my JC days. The report proves to be challenging as things are different now since I assume a new leadership role in the group. As the leader, I would have to think and plan ahead of schedule so as to ensure the smooth progression of the report. Furthermore, I would also have to ensure that everyone adheres to their sections’ submission datelines so as not to disrupt the report writing process. As such, I have learnt to communicate more effectively with my teammates thus minimizing the occurrence of conflicts that might arise in the report writing process.

I was glad that my group could incorporate some fun factor in the midst of completing our report. Furthermore, the team also shared some of our private experiences which greatly aids in bringing our friendship to a higher level. This allows us to better understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths which prove to be crucial as work is being assigned based on our individual strengths so as to increase our efficiency.

The drafting of reports also proves to be another problem as each of us possesses different writing styles. Since such situations are inevitable, I have learnt to respect my teammates’ writing style and try not to impose my own writing style on their sections. The round editing measure that my group had adopted also aid to solve the problems as everyone has the chance to bring forth their concerns if their opinions were misinterpreted by the other members.

However, there were also times when we ended up disagreeing with one another’s opinions. To solve this problem, we tried to ensure that everyone leaves the arguments with no hard feelings against one another. As a result, it eliminates the chance of accumulating discontentment in the group and allows me to be more open minded in accepting views raised by my teammates.

For the oral presentation, I would want to practice the skill of active listening since my teammates would be able to provide certain insights of things that I may have overlooked. No one is always right and perfect. Thus, I would rather open my ears and listen to what others have to say.


Saturday, September 20, 2008 2:54 PM

Evaluating Intercultural Behaviour

Intercultural conflict often stems from miscommunication between two parties of different cultural background as they have different perceptions of objects or things. Such situation arises as individuals bring with them different verbal and non verbal practices, languages, traditions and beliefs. As such, we can attribute the cause of conflicts to cultural ignorance as people do not possess extensive cultural knowledge of others around them.

Language differences is usually the cause of misunderstandings between two parties. The incident happened while I was on holiday to Taiwan with a group of friends. On the first day on foreign soil, we were very lost and decided to seek the assistance from the hotel reception regarding the location of some tourist attractions around our hotel area. During our conversation with the receptionist, we found that it was difficult to bring our questions across even though we were communicating in Chinese because we are using different forms of the same language. Besides that, a common term to us like ‘Karaoke’, which is understood by all Singaporeans, was not understood by the receptionist. After throwing in descriptions of the term ‘Karaoke’, it was then that the receptionist exclaimed: ‘Oh! Do you all mean the KTV?’ We were left shell shocked at that point of time because KTV is not how we would perceive K-box to be normally. It was after much clarification that our group found out that both parties were referring to the same object and cleared all misunderstandings eventually.

This incident taught us a very important lesson. When we are overseas, we should be familiar with the way locals speak and their language forms to prevent any misunderstandings from occurring. We should never take anything for granted and have assumptions that we will definitely be understood. Ultimately, different nations do have their distinct languages and cultures which makes them unique from the others.


Sunday, September 14, 2008 2:21 PM


The implementation of Vacation Internship Programme (VIP) and Industrial Attachment (IA) in the Life Science Curriculum

Research Questions

We would like to know:
- Whether there are difficulties in securing an internship?
- What are the difficulties students are facing?
- What students think of the advantages and disadvantages of IA and VIP?
- Whether students are interested in doing a VIP/IA?
- Whether a collaboration between NUS and Life Science related companies is possible


Life Science students are having difficulties sourcing for industrial attachments and are interested in doing Vacation Internship Program (VIP) and Industrial Attachment (IA) if they are given the opportunity to do so.

Problem Statement

The objective of the study is to analyse if the implementation IA and VIP programme would solve the difficulties faced by Life Science students in their search for internship opportunities.


The target audiences of the research project are NUS science dean and Life Science Undergraduate planning committee

Purpose Statement

The objective of this report is to
1) Inform the Science Dean and Life Science undergraduate curriculum planning committee of the difficulties that Life Science are facing when sourcing for internship opportunities.
2) Discuss the feasibility of a possible collaboration between Life Science department and industrial companies for IA and VIP programme.
3) Convince the Life Science undergraduate curriculum planning committee to provide modular credits for students who undertake the IA or VIP programme.


A either-or and scaling online questionnaire using surveymonkey was used to seek students’ opinion regarding the VIP and IA programme. One hundred finalized forms were each distributed to 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Life Science students randomly during the recess week. We provided different links for year 2, 3 and 4 students so as to aid us in our tabulation process. Results automatically tabulated by surveymonky were used in our report analysis.

In addition, a different set of questionnaires were handed out to Life Science related companies to seek their opinion on the feasibility of the possible collaboration with NUS Life Science department.


Saturday, September 6, 2008 12:37 AM

Research Project

My group’s research project mainly aims to study the lack of career development and job searching skills among NUS students. Through the understanding from friends around us, we discovered that many of them are not equipped with the knowledge of some career development skills such as the skill of writing a proper resume. To make matters worse, some of them do not even have a well written resume prepared in view of their graduation in 6 months time. Thus, my group plans to analyze the possible reasons that are holding NUS students back from attending the necessary courses provided by the NUS career center which might help enhance their career development skills.

Firstly, in order to study the problem, we hypothesize that students will be equipped with career development skills if they attend the courses made available by the NUS career center. Since the problem lies in the lack of participation in the courses made available, the objective of this research study is to determine the possible reasons of the lack of interest in these courses from the student body.

In the process of the study, surveys will be handed out to NUS students to gather their opinions and views to justify their disinterest in these courses provided by the NUS career center. From the data, we aim to consolidate inputs of solutions from the student body so as to rectify the problem.

Finally, the objective of the report is to inform the NUS career center of the possible reasons leading to the lack of student participation in their career development courses. From there, we aim to convince the NUS career center to adopt some measures in order to improve on the participation levels such as enhancing their advertising methods.


Saturday, August 30, 2008 1:37 PM

The Problems.....

The below situation is a true account and I welcome all solutions as the problem still lingers on till date. I have a clique of friends whom I knew for a very long time. Since the group size is actually quite big, it is inevitable that a few of us who shared similar sporting interest form closer friendship. We tend to share the ups and downs in one another’s life inside this small group since we met up frequently for sports.

Problems soon arise between my group and R when we had a gathering among my bigger group of friends. During our casual conversation, I asked my other friend about the aftermath of her problem which she shared with me during our last small group meeting. To our surprise, R gave an angry look and exclaimed why she has no knowledge of that issue at all. We explained to R that she has no knowledge of it because she did not attend our small group gatherings. R pressed on saying that we did not even asked her in the first place. I have to admit that the fault lies with us because we fail to inform R about our gatherings after getting rejected for a few times. Things ended on a sour note with us ensuring R that she will definitely be informed of future gatherings.

As such, we did as promised by informing R of the future gatherings but got rejected as usual. The same scenario happened again but this time round, we hinted her that it is difficult for her to know everything since she isn’t interested in any of our sports gathering. R told us off saying that we are still able to share problems even though she missed all our gatherings. On one hand, we know that some things are only meant to be shared within closer friends. But on the other, if we do not share the information with R, further conflicts would arise. Sensing that any further explanation might deepen our misunderstandings, we took the blame for the causation of the whole conflict.

Currently tied on both hands, we can only try to prevent such things from happening but we all know that the same thing will bound to happen again. What can we do to solve this?


Friday, August 22, 2008 7:06 PM

Significance of Effective Communication

Since the day we are born, communication has played an important role in our daily lives. Be it for personal or professional reasons, it is no doubt that communication allows us to better transmit information between one another. Appropriate usage of words and non verbal expressions not only reduces the risk of misunderstandings but also forms the basis of all kinds of relationships.

Throughout our educational period, students are often trained to utilize the verbal and written skills of communication. Writing skills is the most essential part of report writing as it serves to present ideas or results in a clear and concise manner. Professors will not want a report which is ambiguous and beats around the bush since they have tons of scripts to grade. The consequence of such poor writing ability is of course the bad grades that end up in our transcript.

Oral skills are equally as important when we engage in presentations where we have to present the gist of the research findings to our superiors. Imagine a monotonous speaker who takes 30 minutes to enter his main project aims. Audience will gradually lose interest through the presentation process or even fall asleep before the speaker can even touch on his findings.

Furthermore, as we embrace globalization, effective communication skills takes on an even greater significance in our interactions with people of different cultural and religious background. On top of the fundamental verbal and writing skills, it is also essential to extent our knowledge of communication to incorporate such differences. Take the language and cultural differences of Singapore and Japan as an example. Singaporean usually greets others with a simple hello with an occasional handshake. However, hand shake is usually uncommon in Japanese greetings as they usually bow to show respect to one another. Thus, it is yet another aspect of communication that we must acquire if we happen to do any business dealings overseas in the future.

All in all, I would like to end the post with the picture below. Never neglect the power of communication as it might be the missing puzzle to a successful relationship.