The Value of Communication — A Real Skills Perspective
Across small and large organisations that may exist in different geographical locations, great communication can foster creativity, drive project progression and build professional networks.
By Juwin Lee
Any team project from student assignments to corporate engagements comes with the opportunities and challenges from collaborating with fellow team members. Ideally, effective communication across face-to-face and virtual means takes advantage of teamwork while navigating around the pitfalls. Communication is so important to employers that over 95% of employers screen for communication skills as one of the top traits in job candidates.
By the time STEM students finish their education, they need to have career-specific technical ability supported by strong communication skills. Real Skills Education runs the STEM Leaders Program (SLP) which provides a risk-free environment to communicate with a team and market yourself to employers. A program participant has agreed to share how communication and interpersonal skills can bring out the best of a great opportunity.
“My name is Justin Nhan, and I am currently a final year computer science and psychology student. As a keen technologist, I am interested in a software developer or software consultant career towards building up my technical and professional skills with the long term aim of enabling creative freedom in my career.”
About the STEM Leaders Program
“During my participation of the SLP Spring 2019, I was given the opportunity of working in a diverse technology team where we prototyped a web-application empowering librarians to visualise noise of an enclosed room.”
“Even beyond my team, Real Skills Education (RSE) has an awesome community of driven students, supporting, inspiring and learning from one another. During my time in the STEM Leaders Program, I was very impressed by how organised the RSE team was running the program with the whole experience moving seamlessly for participants. I had a blast of a time getting to know the people better and making some great friends along the way. The RSE team is also passionate, open and supportive of ideas on how to improve and become better than before, and you can learn so much from seizing the opportunities that come to you.”
What did Justin learn?
“One of the key challenges I encountered was working with an unfamiliar team of varying skillsets under demanding time pressures. We had less than two weeks to complete a prototype and to bring about our best possible work, so we needed to communicate, prioritise and delegate tasks quickly. With tight deadlines for a technical project, stepping up to bring meaningful value to the team and keeping each other accountable became key to our success. We were also lucky to have hands-on mentors with Honeywell, who were supportive and open to all our queries.
“Here’s my learnings from completing the program. Use whatever resources available, and invest time to understand what you don’t know. Crafting questions to address those gaps will be appreciated by your mentors and greatly help them help you better. Also, be open to chatting with them and any other partners for that matter — it’s a great opportunity to network (and learning how to), which could possibly help you secure some internships down the track.”
What you can take away from Justin’s journey
I fully appreciate Justin has worked in an environment where the demands of time and quality required focused teamwork driven by group communication. He recognised the constraints of the challenge in front of him as well as the challenges to come in his chosen career could be managed by actively communicating with team members. At the same time, communicating with the industry professionals involved in the program provided him with the chance to take in their guidance and practice networking. We aim to promote and facilitate the development of communication skills through team projects and workshops in our STEM Leaders Program.
Applications for the Winter 2020 STEM Leaders Program are closing this Sunday, so take a look and sign up: https://bit.ly/SLPWinter2020Applications
Here’s an information pack for the program: https://bit.ly/SLPWinter2020InfoPack
If you’d like to contact us or learn more, check out our socials!
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