Friday, August 22, 2008

Effective Communication Skills? Whats the point?

Prior to taking this module, I asked myself several questions. Why should I take this module? Is it going to be useful/interesting? Is it easy to score? Does it have heavy workload? Is effective communication really that important?

Being a Year 4 student, this would be my second last semester in school and incidentally the last unrestricted elective module I would have to take. Why did I choose this module instead of a “fun” and “easy” module like Basic Japanese or some of the other highly bided modules? To put it frankly, what drew me to this module was the opportunity to learn how to write resumes as well as interview skills. At about this time next year, I would be out there hunting for a high-paying job (hopefully), competing against thousands of fresh graduates. What is going to separate me from the others? A properly written resume is only going to qualify me for an interview. Which is why effective communication so important! From that point on, everything is going to rely on my communication skills. From getting hired to climbing the corporate ladder, all these will depend on effective communication skills.

However, this module has it immediate uses as well. Year 4 focuses heavily on the Honours project, which in turn focuses heavily on research report writing as well as presentations. The only way to score well will be to rely heavily on effective communication skills, as I will need to present my points as clearly as possible, ensuring the examiners understands what I am showing them.

I’m pretty sure there are other uses for effective communication skills, but that would be another blog post for another time. Time for this monologue to end.


Brad Blackstone said...

Wei Kin,

Thanks for the very good post. You very appropriately focus on how a specific set of effective com skills are important for you.

I'm glad you took the chance and signed up for this module. Hopefully, it will benefit you. Certainly the job search section should.

Here's another potential benefit: language use review. In this post you use the modal verb "would" in several situations where, while commonplace in usual communication in Southeast Asia, it is not needed, and in fact, seems inappropriate to me.

"Being a Year 4 student, this would be my second last semester in school and incidentally the last unrestricted elective module I would have to take."

If I were you, I would do it this way, with simple present tense: "Being a Year 4 student, this is my second to last semester in school and incidentally this is the last unrestricted elective module I have to take."

The use of "would" in standard English is generally restricted to hypothetical situations (If I were rich, I would buy a yacht.) and past repeated actions (When I was a kid we would often play cowboys and Indians.). It can also be used to emphasize politeness in a request case like this: Would you like to join this group?

Do you see other examples in your post where "would" could be dropped?

Yu Ming said...

Communication skills will certainly be the saving grace for us when we enter the job race. Guess being better at asking directions will help us find shortcuts up the corporate ladder:) Of course, lets not forget about the need to talk ourselves out of trouble (or work) most if not all the time.

Good Luck

Eileen said...

What you have mentioned above is truly speaking up for the rest of the people taking this module. The most practical way is to hopefully acquire the skills of effective communication at the end of this semester and pray hard that you’ll still remember it and apply it during your first job interview. Well, at least for me I’m guilty for that, but I think developing good communication skills is a lifelong investment such that once you have overcome your fear to speak up, you will probably find dealing with all kinds of difficult situations a piece of cake!

joyce said...

Hey Wei Kin, I am also doing my Honours project now, and I agree that a major part of the results depends on the written report and the presentations. I feel that learning effective communication skills will definitely help us to be better presenters, especially when the audience consists of professors who are much more knowledgeable than we are. There is this fear that they will ask questions we are not able to answer, and the last thing we want, after slogging for a year, is to screw up at the final step. I think that this fear is minimized for those who can communicate better because they can express their ideas and opinions well. For me, I always rely on cue cards, which I hope to throw them aside one day. :)

Pei Rong said...

Hey Wei Kin,
You have the same intention as me in taking up this module! you can read our mind! haha. Although I am not in year 4 (surprisingly, many of our classmates are! well, I'm still young), I already sense the importance of being able to communicate effectively as elaborated in my blog post. it is definitely essential and useful in learning how to speak and act in public. i believe in the future when you go out into the corporate world, what you have learnt will be of great use. PROVIDED you remember and apply them.

Wei Kwan said...

Hey Wei Kin,

I have the same intentions as you too when I chose this module. I was thinking that this module will help in my career next time such as learning on how to write resumes and strategies when going for interviews. Furthermore, communications skills also are essential in my opinion when we interact with people from different cultures since the workforce in local companies are getting increasingly diversified :)

Wei Kin said...

Hey everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post. Sorry for taking so long to reply. Too many readings and too little time :P

Brad: Thanks for correcting me on the language use. Been relying too much on MS Word that I rarely (if ever) check on my sentence structure now. In response to your question, heres one example I found, "I’m pretty sure there are other uses for effective communication skills, but that would be another blog post for another time." The "would" should be dropped and replaced with "will".

To everyone else: Great to know that everyone has the same objectives as me! Hope we will all be effective communicators in the future!

Brad Blackstone said...

Thanks, Wei Kin, for reviewing this and getting back to your commentators! Your post has sparked lots of interest.


Hui Xuan said...

Hey Wei Kin,

I totally agree with what you have posted. And I can see that many people in the class also feel the same way. Initially, I was quite apprehensive to take this module. However, many of my friends and seniors who have taken it encouraged me to take it. They all said that this is a very useful module. And since I am not good at effective communication, I decided to give it a try.

And I certainly do agree that communication skills are important ,be it in school or in the workplace. Hopefully by the end of this module, all of us will be able to communicate more effectively.

Brad Blackstone said...

I enjoyed listening to your "irritating music of the week." Who is the artist? I'm a music addict, and to NOT know irritates me to the marrow.

Wei Kin said...

Hey Brad,

Glad you enjoyed the music. The song is called Great DJ by The Ting Tings.

J.Chappelear said...

What a great thought.
I really appreciate your perspective.
John Chappelear