All entries for Wednesday 04 July 2012

July 04, 2012

P1 Introduction to skills develpment and WSPA

Follow-Up 1: An introduction to skills development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio

Workshop Tutor: Han-Na Cha


I wanted to attend this workshop for a long time now; I had already participated in five different workshop from the Master Skills Programme, and I thought that I have to attend the “Introduction to skills development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio” just because it’s a requirement for the Award, I was wrong! As it turned out to be a most informing experience, in which I was presented with various tools and techniques to gauge my skills, determine what had room for improvement and recognize my learning style. I found it very important, because up till that moment I was only deciding what workshop to attend based on intuition, now I have a scientific method.

An example, the learning styles questionnaire which reflected my learning preferences as follows (learning style followed by score):

  • Activist: 4
  • Theorist: 8
  • Reflector: 5
  • Pragmatist: 6

This showed me what areas could be improved; activism and reflections. In the action plans I shall address these.tlswheelfull_clickable.gif
However, these did not reflect perfectly my styles as I tend to be a mix of the different ones giving preference varying on situations. Considering the questionnaire gave me a low preference for the majority and only one moderate preference, is an incorrect representation of my styles. But observing the different questions I was able to pick up points to improve on, my action points.

But the workshop wasn’t all about information and work, it was fun as well, and I had the chance to connect on a much personal level than usual with other participant, because the number of students was low, which also meant that each one had the enough time to express what was on their mind, besides the Han-Na was very friendly and lively, contributing hugely to the success of this friendly workshop.

In the following part I will make my action points as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Timely) as possible.

Action Points

1. Taking actions towards becoming more active and pragmatic; I chose the following actions from the Learning Styles Questionnaire (Honey, P., 2008)

o Backing a hunch once in a while, rather than over analysing. Allowing myself to trust my feelings more.

o Take a challenge and try the different ways of doing things rather than being set in tried and tested ways all the time.

o Reflect on pieces of work prior to submition by having a few rough drafts .

2. Take the complete Vark questionnaire from; this will hopefully help me fully understand my favoured learning styles, along with providing methods to develop my less favoured one.

3. Develop my under-developed skills; namely assertiveness, presentational and organisational, with the help of the Warwick Master Skills Programme and some practice.

Best Regards

Melvin Jose

Follow–Up 2: Presenting With Confidence

Follow-up to P4 Delivering Effective Presentations from Melvin's blog

Follow-up 2: “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” ~ Dale Carnegie

The past weeks being quite busy led to my late update on my progress. However, these 4 weeks provided me 2 great opportunities to practise and hence subsequently improve my technique and presentational skills. During the time following my last blog, I tackled my action points in two distinct scenarios. Through the 2 presentations I worked on the 2 initial actions points:

  • Tackling initial nervousness with concentrated and calm breathing
  • Ensuring a thorough filter of all the research available to ensure a flowing story with correct and only enough information to match the time available.(MUST, COULD & SHOULD know technique).
  • Obtain correct preparation: with a systematic personalised but flowing structure alongside other tools.

Subsequently, over the weeks I was exuberant at grabbing every opportunity to apply the principles in everyday life, conversing in a presentational manner with friends and family at times. Thus enabled me to work on my other action points:

  • ‘Practise is also another point ( few sessions with loud presentations in front of the mirror or other people, as similar conditions as possible to the real thing)’


Firstly, during conversations with friends and family, I ensured the full use of my mouth ( as you had taught the two finger approach). This helped me focus on my voice and understand the stability and power it gave to the words I spoke. Adding on to this I also added intonation and tone modulation to emphasise my point or add feeling to it, thus make my point of view more understandable. Building on this I ensured eye contact with an ‘ASSERTIVE POSTURE’ and smile, all valuable reflected in the way the audience responded positively by listening meticulously and giving their full attention Hence by using friends and family as the primary stage for practise I was able to prepare myself even before being presented with a need for a formal presentation. Nevertheless, being fortunate to have 2 presentations over these weeks allowed me to develop and actively implement these skills.

Secondly, preparing for the presentations was something I ensured I gave ample time to ( every time remembering the on the spot presentation on ‘Coventry’ I had to give during the workshop). The need for preparation was vital and so I ensured I was at least 60% ready 2 days before the presentation. Something that I have always found useful every time I become nervous was thinking back to when I had to stand on the bridge in front of the library and hum aloud. Always when I go on to present I remember the words ‘ Relax, Breathe and Smile’ prior to speaking. I must add it really has helped me to gain composure when I am very nervous. The presentations have also provides the perfect platform to use the voice intonations and modulation. Putting the experience into words is a little tough, thus I would like to share my words from a presentation, one opportunity where I spoke in the following manner:

 I understand to make our strategy a reality a lot of hurdles have to be overcome’…..PAUSE….EYE- CONTACT…….POSTURE …..’But we believe in it and we urge you to share the dream we believe in.’…..BRIEF PAUSE…..‘Thank you’ .

The presentations also gave me an opportunity to ensure a flowing story with correct and only enough information to match the time available. Whilst in a group presentation (30 minutes, 3 people) I used this tool thoroughly to ensure time keeping(as the markers were strict) and getting across the message well. As I was presentation the latter half of the presentation and thus finishing I had to reassess and filter the information needed to be conveyed without going over time.

The effect of the usage of all the tools POSTURE,PERFORMACE, PITCH, POWER and PACE etc was clearly visible as other students on numerous occasions chose me as a speaker for the group, as well as achieving a distinction for my presentation from the professors. Thus since the workshop I have put in hard work and effort into presenting with confidence. The results has changed my attitude and confidence considerably as following the workshop, over the weeks, I have become exuberant about the prospect of presenting. It has changed me as a person, making a significant difference to my life

Finally, I do believe the results are not limited to presentations, as in the case of standing up and talking, and believe these tools as well as measures will be very handy in personal branding at interviews as well as trying to convey ideas (Important as in the case of meetings with the supervisor for my thesis) something which I will be doing a lot of in the next two weeks. Even though I have downs every now and then I strive to practice, bettering myself at every chance I get because…………

“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first’’~Ralph W. Emerson


Melvin Joseman-jumping-joy-2159708.jpg


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  • Hi Melvin, I look forward to your blog! All the best, Margie by on this entry
  • Hi Melvin, That's a great result :) Really pleased for you. Just to let you know, I'm postponing the… by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Hi Han–Na, Sorry for the late reply…. I've been out of town for a while. I'm so sorry but I won't … by Melvin Jose on this entry
  • Hi Melvin, I can't remember whether you got back to me about being a presenter – would you like to s… by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Hi Melvin, Just realised that I hadn't commented on your comment. the event is a WSPA showcase event… by Han-na Cha on this entry

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