All entries for June 2012

June 28, 2012

Follow–Up 2: Action point implementation

Follow-up to P3 Working In A Team from Melvin's blog

Follow-Up 2: Action point implementation

Here's a summary of how I'm getting on with my action points

  • Work at my strengths, however in times of clashes (2 shapers/both co-ordinator and shaper being present) be ready to accommodate and implement my other manageable roles.
  • Ensure I apply my preferred roles thoroughly to ensure project completion and avoidance of conflicts, whilst also making sure all the roles in the team are filled, which would give a well balanced team of ‘Thinkers, Doers, Co-ordinators and Socialisers’

During the group work sessions on my course, the neglected role that is mainly noticed is the monitor evaluator. Everyone is ready to go forward with one idea and try and finish it, but no one is ready to take a step back and see the whole picture. Luckily it is one my favoured roles and one that I implement in every group work I partake in. However, following the workshop on one of the occasions I was in a group which had 3 M.E.’s including myself. Thus at every few hours all the work done was assessed, however I realised there were clearly members missing to co-ordinate the work to be done for the presentation. We had also missing enough plants, considering this presentation was leveraged on the need for new ideas as the presentation needed ‘INNOVATION’.

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Hence I took a step back and filled in the roles, my manageable roles of ‘Co-ordinator and Plant’. This meant we were able to work much more effectively using all the personnel resources. Hence we were able to come up with an effective and innovative approach, by dividing the work amongst all of us based on our own strengths. Specifically using one of the members who is good with technology, we were able to create a unique video adding an experience to our presentation.

Thus, by formulating each person’s strengths and preferred roles as well as filling up any empty roles we ensured the presentation was completed on time, innovative ideas were formed and all the market data was evaluated effectively. Using members who were really good resource investigators and team workers to direct debates I ensured we prevented any conflicts as there were strong personalities which clashed when the ideas were critiqued. Myself being a strong shaper, I ensured I used the guidance of the socialisers (team workers and resource implementer) to ensure I didn’t offend others with my opinions/points.

Tackling the effect of the deadly 3 is still a big task to me, as at time I still end up preferring to work independently. However, as I have realised teamwork yields better results and has more benefits, I strive to tackle my instinctual nature of being a Shaper, Monitor Evaluator and Completer Finisher all the time.

Best Regards

Melvin Jose


June 25, 2012

Follow–Up 2: From ‘knowing the way to learn’ to ‘Making the Choice to learn’

Follow-up to P2 Becoming More Assertive from Melvin's blog


Follow-Up 2: From ‘knowing the way to learn’ to ‘Making the Choice to learn’

Having nearly a month to implement all I learnt as well as focus on action potentials, I have experienced both good and bad points. I can truly say I have changed as a person in my approach to people, from the reserved individual to someone who is not afraid of voicing their opinion, but with diplomacy.

Key in implementing these techniques were the groups works that I had mentioned, where there were times others wanted to do a certain subject and I voiced my opinion and made sure it was heard before the decision was made.

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The posture was an area I have been good at maintaining. Adding to that I have ensured I got out of my protective bubble to talk to new people. The prospect that each person is AGGRESSIVE/ PASSIVE at different times and under different circumstance was clear to me following some of the group work sessions we had. There were moments when others with really strong personalities took control of the group and dictated the work. Personally I hated this idea and through discussions ( maintain a group posture, eye contact ) I tried to exude some authority emphasising the need for everyone’s opinions. However, I noticed there were moments when I became really annoyed and having worked for longer than others, when other members decided that rather than them writing up the report, I do (as I’d be more aesthetically pleasing). I finally was able to ‘SAY NO’, something I always had a problem to do. Always previously being a YES person to everyone, thus not looking out for myself, this was a big change. It felt very different, as if I was in control and thus building my confidence. I made sure my saying NO was not rude but diplomatic by persuading everyone to input their bits into a document, whilst I take a well deserved break, after which I will compile it. Explaining to them what I can do for them and cannot do right now, as well as emphasising that we discussed who will take responsibility on each task. If they have problems we discuss and solve the issues as a group rather than me being the only problem solver, as in the past individual problems from a member concerning work would be tackled my only me. This would become a problem if the member had a strong personality, as in the case of the last module I had it was an issue. The person would come to me with the idea or issue and when I critique it they would get personal if I didn’t agree. Thus trying to be ASSERTIVE, I would pick out good points of the idea and the bad. If the person still wasn’t listening I called in a group discussion to critique it, rather than me doing it alone as with an AGGRESSIVE personality there is only so much you could explain ( as in this case the personal always took it personal).

This was a firsthand experience of understanding that AGGRESSIVE/ PASSIVE are traits that human beings elicit at different points. Thus I also understood the need to be ASSERTIVE, as clearly me being aggressive (even though I would be right in doing so) would not be positive for the group and would build a very negative image amongst the group members as well as affect the credibility of any opinions I made and cause loss of interpersonal respect.

Verbal communication is an area I’m still working on, as I have not mastered the techniques of the ’Voice, Intonation and Semantic SYSTEM’. Sometimes I have used it whilst talking, and have seen the image it reflects of myself, being calm, collected& stable. Thus, is still an area I’m working on as I’m key to implement it and thus the image it reflects. A key victory I really want to mention is the restoration of communication with a person who I had a problem with, following a misunderstanding 2 months ago. She didn’t talk to me previously unless needed to, even though the issue was with the other members in the group, not me. Through the use of ASSERTIVE measures especially the posture and using ’Voice, Intonation and Semantic SYSTEM’, she speaks with me and has increased over the past month.

On key area I’ve thoroughly improved on is ‘Leaving previous grievances out of the conversation’. This has improved my psychological mindset in being more emotionally stable and thus being focussed in generating an Assertive and critical argument or on the other hand having a thoroughly stimulating conversation with someone and generating the correct impression. The benefits of something I have seen during my interactions with people and with the increased interactions people have had with me compared to before I protruded an ASSERTIVE NATURE.

Therefore, being able to reap fruits of BEING ASSERTIVE I aim to develop the lacking areas , especially verbal communication and thus my SELF-CONFIDENCE. A general but very important trait is that now I express my opinions or feelings more. It feels really really really good, as if I am free to express who I really am.

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Best Regards

Melvin Jose


Follow–Up 2: From A way of Growing to My choosing to Learn

Follow-up to P7 Organising ourselves and our time from Melvin's blog

Follow-Up 2: "There are never enough hours in a day, but always too many days before Saturday"

As having taken nearly 20 days for my follow up to give an update on my progress, I clearly haven’t been able to completely tackle my the issue of organisation. However being a really busy set of weeks I cannot firmly say the above statement is completely true.

So in this update I have both good and bad news. The bad news is that I did not organise the work for my last module’s essay and thus ended up doing the last minute ‘All nighter’ once again, something I really was hoping to overcome, even though I finished my essay on time. The other issue is that I still have not applied for vacancies and always end up putting them off, primarily because I end up not managing my workload effectively and so am tired by the time I’m home every day.

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Nevertheless there are a number of good notes to brighten up this gloomy failure ridden atmosphere . I have started to implement the SMART system into my work. Though with the essay it might seem to be working poorly, it hasn’t. I have actually been able to spend all the time needed on the essay do enough reading and note taking as I started early and finished comfortably early morning, 3AM. Only draw back was the 3AM finish which I really didn’t want to do.

Another good point is that I have effectively been able to create GANT timeline for the dissertation which I will be tackling from next week. Adding to this I can honestly say I have been able to be more organised that how I used to be as I’m less stress when doing the different things I have to, as I have a clear prior knowledge of what has to be done every day. The negative aspect of this is that I also know what the latest date to leave something is, and sometimes I end up leaving it ( as in the case of the essay). Getting the every day’s to do list is very hard and is an important factor that I try to overcome every day. I have also realised at this stage of the academic year, I am a little worried about job, essays etc and thus I try to compress and fit too much into my everyday list. This could be something to improve to achieve better time management and get more organisation. Even though the CV is not perfectly completed I have completed my online Linked in profile and partly done my CV, a first step. Alongside this I have also aimed to organise my work in such a way as to allow me time to apply for vacancies by the end of this week.

A very pleasant point that I have been achieving is a healthy balance between Work time and Play time, between friends/family and work. I have also been able to set some time apart everyday just for myself to completely RESET myself. This has proved to be very effective at helping me give a little bit more to get everything done as well as that assess WORK DONE and LEFT TO DO and Prioritisation.

I believe that I am on the road to better organisation, however this road is always full of hurdles, ups and downs as well as points where I will have to give my MAXIMUM. Thus even though when reaching my threshold, I have to focus on what I have been achieving, as even the smallest victory such as the LinkedIn profile is very motivating to reach my goal of being able to organise, manage time and myself.

Best Regards b

Melvin Jose


June 21, 2012

Follow–up 2 : Speedy Reading

Follow-up to A7 Speed Reading from Melvin's blog

Follow Up 2: Hurdles on the Road to Reading Development

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Following my reflection and setting up a pathway for change, here is an update on my progress. The idea of 'Using a Guide', I integrated with everyday reading that I undertake. By ensuring I used a reader, in specific I made the 'Bright Green Pencil' my Guide, I feel my reading ability has improved considerably. By using it everyday I have made it a habit, as automatically every time I have to read I look for my guide. Resultant of this change my confidence in my reading ability has considerably changed.

However, I still face the issue of sub-vocalisation that affects my reading skill every now and then. Even though I started using 'SPREEDER' initially, which proved useful, it didn’t seem to be something I could implement in an everyday schedule. Having long days at University and plenty of reading every day, I just couldn't get myself to run through SPREEDER after coming home at 8pm.

Thus, I have made it a habit to remind myself/write a note prior to reading to remind myself not to sub-vocalise, focus on the sentence ahead to tackle this issue. I also found that playing music, instrumental, helps with the sub vocalisation.

So, on this road to changing my reading ability I understand that constant work has to be put in. With small but useful changes in the results that I obtain from these techniques and the impact of these on my confidence, has and continues to drive me to work on my reading ability, particularly considering the biggest area to implement my new skills (my dissertation) is yet to be looked at.


Thanking You

Regards

Melvin Jose


June 07, 2012

A7 Speed Reading



Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection and Road to change

SP1

Reading skills are a key aspect in everyday life ranging from entertainment to education etc. A skill that we have developed since childhood into early adulthood. An crucial skill which is taken for granted and never pushed to its limits to improve it. Hence even though each person encompass the ability to read, some harness it much better than others.

Prior to coming to this session, I have always found reading fast to be difficult. This feeding back along with the monumental amounts I am expected to read during my Masters Degree, makes the idea of reading a very daunting task. Even though I would be prepared to do it, I always had the feeling of insecurity and lack of confidence, that ‘I would not be able to read the text well’ or ‘How will I read through all this text as well as try and understand something from it?’ Thus understanding this I set on the road to change and develop my reading skills.

The workshop introduced me to a number of techniques, most favourite of which was ‘Using a Guide’. Observing my initial reading speed of 180 wpm and an average comprehension rate of 60%, really reflected my worries and the need for change. Implementing the ‘Using the Guide’ technique really illustrated a boost in my reading speed, as I found my eyes flowed over the text better. It also exuded the fact that with the use of a guide I did not stagnate on one word or a string of words. The text seemed to flow better and I also seemed to use my peripheral vision to see the upcoming words prior to the guide actually passing under them. The resultant effects using a guide doubled my speed to 410 wpm, improved comprehension to 75% as well as gave me a sense of achievement and relief (as for my upcoming dissertation I knew a lot of reading will have to be done).


Another key effect that I noted was a reduction in sub-vocalisation, that is as long as I followed the guide and did not back track my eyes over the last few words again. However, sub-vocalisation is another point I will have to tackle, possible with the use of ‘SPREEDER’, which initially seemed to preposterous and overwhelming but something I realised was forcing me to subdue the overly active sub-vocalisation.

Hence in short, following this workshop I have assignments and presentations which are an excellent place to start practising these techniques and thus preparing me well for the big task of dissertation based research. I plan on executing the following developed ‘Action Points’ , which include

  • Constant use of a guide
  • Practise using Spreeder to quieten the Sub-vocalisation
  • Ensuring regular 10 minute sessions are taken for practice and another 10 to evaluate my progress and troubleshoot issues, I might come up against.

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Thank You Han-Na for the valuable techniques

Best regards

Melvin Jose


P3 Working In A Team


Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection

In Team Character > 

Preferred Roles: Completer Finisher, Monitor Evaluator, Shaper

Manageable Roles: Implementer, Co-ordinator, Plant

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With teams being an integral part of society and working in them being vital, I believed understanding them was crucial to operate successfully in them. Results are used as the primary measure of ‘success’ simply because they are easy to measure. However, there are better means of measuring team performance; which can both be linked 100% to an individual and in which Belbin Team Roles play a crucial part.

It is a well known fact, throughout the world at large, that inputs lead to outcomes. In companies this means that the results you achieve come from the activities you put into the market. In turn, these activities result from the competence of the individual concerned. People do not like carrying out activities where they think they will fail. Or, if they are forced to carry out this activity, they will not be as successful as they should be. It’s the difference between ‘doing what you’re best at’ compared with ‘doing your best’.team













Thus using the Belbin’s Team Roles my preferred roles were highlighted, stated above. These traits come with both pros and cons, illustrating that I need to truly understand my strengths and work using them in a team. It also suggests I understand the cons the traits exude and thus improving on them. So using the skills I learnt from this workshop, I plan on equipping myself with knowledge of my preferred traits (ones I am possibly good at), as well as knowledge of the other traits that are need in a successful team ( traits other group members could be). As I have had varying experiences with group/team projects whilst on the course, I aim to optimise myself to in team working through good understanding of the team dynamics and the roles played in a team. Therefore, I aim to make this session over the 2 week period very good and fruitful.

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Hence in short, following this workshop I am about to start my next module which contain group work, an excellent place to use these team working skills. I plan to meticulously follow the developed ‘Action Points’ , which include:

  • Understanding and analysing the traits of each of the group members
  • Work at my strengths, however in times of clashes (2 shapers/both co-ordinator and shaper being present) be ready to accommodate and implement my other manageable roles.
  • Ensure I apply my preferred roles thoroughly to ensure project completion and avoidance of conflicts, whilst also making sure all the roles in the team are filled, which would give a well balanced team of ‘Thinkers, Doers, Co-ordinators and Socialisers’
  • Also having the deadly 3 I will need to ensure, whilst working in the team to work with each member, as the disadvantage of my preferred roles illustrates one who does things independently


All of the above are essential to prevent the formation of a dysfunctional team.

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Thank You Trudy

Best Regards

Melvin Jose


June 03, 2012

P4 Delivering Effective Presentations


Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection and Road to change

Although eager to improve my presentational skills, initially I was unsure as whether to book this workshop. However Bev through her 'Assertiveness' workshops, provided the motivation and determination needed to take the 'step for change' with confidence. Even though the idea of presentations to be made in front of an unknown audience seemed daunting, confidence was the first milestone that needed to be covered. Thus it made me book this workshop and in turn make progress on the path for change and personal development.

The workshop provided a very dynamic, challenging and solution driven environment to tackle myp4.jpg presentational skills and tackle my nervousness. Supported with the ‘Becoming More Assertive’ workshop, the need to maintain good non-verbal communication (posture, feet position, shoulder level) was just reinforced. The importance of posture was illustrated with practical demonstrations, illustrating the correlation of posture with breath supply which feeds to good voice production, something that I have to focus (as deeper the breaths, calmer it makes you feel).

Non-verbal communicational means also encompassed the ‘EFFG’: eye contact, facial expression, focus and gestures. All of these together builds a picture of yourself before, during and upon finishing the presentation. Thus giving me a clearer picture on the steps needed to present and perform effectively. The remainder of the P’s, Power/Pitch/Pace have all been previous knowledge, though the clear implications and characteristic reflections of the variations in these were not and thus has illustrated to me the importance the 5 Ps play in a presentation.

Key to professionalism and clear transfer of the presentational knowledge from presenter to presentee focuses also on the varied need for pockets of silence that emphasise and clarify points whilst also giving a touch of professionalism, the '2 second pause' Rule. Having previous experience with presentations the importance of structure, content and delivery was prior knowledge, though the detailed points of action for each was something novel and rather helpful.

Thus by having to perform 3 different presentations to a group of unknown individuals, as well as go out to the bridge and hum loudly the 5 Ps were tackled alongside a careful dissection of the presentational parts, structure or content or delivery.

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Therefore in short, in succession to this workshop I have reflected on myself and my presentational skills, illustrating a set of key action points, central to tackling my prime weaknesses in presenting; nervousness and effective time management, the latter a resultant of poor filtering of data to suit the time limit provided.

With a new module on the horizon from next week, specifically one which carries 40% on a presentation, it provides a crucial opportunity to put into place everything I have learnt. I plan to meticulously follow the developed ‘Action Points’ , which include

  • 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.
  • 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)

Thus I will ensure a smooth start allowing for a steady beginning as well as ensure the right amount of information is presented for the time given. Hence these action points will be thoroughly implemented in the next 2 weeks prior to the presentation day and any issue faced tackled, in turn improving my presentational skills.

Thanking you Bev for a thorough, challenging and highly useful workshop

Best Regards

Melvin Jose



June 02, 2012

P2 Becoming More Assertive


Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection and Road to change

P2 assertive

With behaviour and approach being so entwined with a healthy lifestyle and mindset, it is key to identify not only your needs but others too, as well as expressing both. As your behaviour is a reflection of your personality and traits, it is one of the key factors society uses to analyse each person.

With traits varying from ‘Aggressive to Assertive to Passive’ the key question of whether these three were all at different points on the same scale or completely different behaviours was analysed initially at the workshop. Understanding this difference helps us relate to the fact that we as human beings elicit all the three traits at different points, with high dependence on circumstances.

However both ‘Aggressive and Passive behaviours’ could be categorised as having emotional basis, where as assertive behaviour is a trait which is carried with you all the time, in your personality. Thus assertive behaviour is an ability that you have within you to act at certain situations, being prepared for situations and being proactive, standing by your decisions, avoiding conflicts and at the same time being respectful towards other also keeping your self-respect intact.

Through the various dynamic and interactive exercises intricately crafted by Bev , the combined importance of both ‘verbal and non-verbal communication’ was recognized. Something that could create a first impression of a person without even any direct interaction. Specifically as in the case of the non-verbal communicational means including importance of ‘posture and stance’, which could create a friendly, accepting and mature image or another exuding being closed, arrogant or reserved. Something that could make a difference where ever you are; friends, family, interviews, social or professional events etc. Thus importance of a good posture and the difference it has was firmly established in my mind following this workshop, which I hope to apply in everyday moments. Adding to the set contained within good posture ( shoulders head position, firm foot placement), a ‘high head and low tail system’ could be also implemented to voice my opinions with authority; assertiveness demands I give respect however also demanding respect back.

Adding to this is the ‘Voice, Intonation and Semantic’ system. These work on the verbal aspects that could significantly radiate stability and/or psychological issues based on the extent of usage and usage quality for each of these. A personal tool that I hope to implement in everyday behaviour to tackle conflicts as well as interact effectively.

Upon deciphering the link between ‘confidence and self-esteem’ to behaviour and how they can feedback to alter behaviour, it was key I put tools and points I learnt from this workshop to everyday life allowing me to personally grow and develop to having both high self esteem and confidence levels. Thus being more assertive for me would mean being more effective at interacting with people, as I have a tendency to be quiet especially around new people. It would also mean I could build a professional and confident image that I can exude to the society.


Hence in short, following this workshop I am about to start a module relying heavily on group work, an excellent place to implement these skills. I plan to meticulously follow the developed ‘Action Points’ , which include:


  • Ensuring maintenance of an assertive posture, whilst also exuding vitality in introducing/networking with others, as well as voice my opinions freely.
  • Understanding that the maintenance of my self-esteem is a personal endeavour and it not dependent on other, thus grab every opportunity to take initiative and build confidence
  • Improve on verbal communication via use of the tools stated .
  • Make the steps of an assertive behaviour a habit:


i) State the problemP2c Assertive

ii) Explain how it affects you

iii) Listen to the other person’s point of view and respect it

iv) Be prepared to negotiate

v) Leave old grievances out of the conservation




Thank You Bev for a motivating and insightful workshop

Best Regards

Melvin Jose



P7 Organising ourselves and our time

Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection

Considering that I had always managed to leave assignments to the last as well as getting it just in time, the need for assessing my time-management was in order. Although something I’ve worked on previously throughout the year, it wasn’t until the workshop that I was able to understand my success stealers and stress triggers, ‘unstructured time distribution’ leading to poor completion of work.

The workshop allowed me to understand the basic time management tools and skills, as well as learn the different types of planning (Macro and Micro) alongside the reality of life which requires a balance of everything, family/friends to university obligations. We were also taught about the importance of prioritisation and scheduling to clarify and ascertain our objectives, specifically applying the ‘SMART technique’ .

Although the workshop is reminiscent of the views of academic professors and teachers, it provided a more detailed and clearer picture of my current standing, allowing me to step back and develop steps needed to make better use of the time every day.

With a very intensely packed year encompassing 12 modules, each of which consisted of reports, presentations and exams, as well as a dissertation accounting for nearly half of the degree my workload is very high. This alongside an active social and family life, the need for time management was vital as always one was sacrificed for another. Thus, previously I have tried to tackle it using a diary as a time management tool recording all important deadlines and events. However, as of recent I have noticed my use of the diary was sparse and poorly kept up to date. In turn I have resorted to using a smart phone to maintain an up to date and on the go ‘time-management tool’, with alarms to alert me to events.

In addition I also aimed to decipher the reason behind me procrastinating , being distracted by everything else except do the work needed. So leaving less time for work, thus being stressed out and having to sacrifice the balance of things to keep to deadlines. Hence the need to prioritise.

Prioritisation technique

Thus in short, following this workshop I plan to intricately follow the developed ‘Action Points’ , which include

  • Make good use of SMART in everyday situations, especially with respect to managing work for the next two modules, alongside lifetime planning (completing CV and start applying for vacancies).
  • Use of macro and micro planning, also GANT charts, to set a course of action for my dissertation (stages of the dissertation, completion dates for each stage, understand how will I ascertain if I have achieved completion of each stage).
  • Start to develop lifetime planning and set goals to achieve them (Develop and complete my CV, research job vacancies, start applying and planning next steps following Masters).
  • Finally try to maintain a balance between ‘Work-Family-Friends’

Thank You Beverley for a very useful workshop

Best Regards

Melvin Jose


June 2012

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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
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