Achieving a winning impression with all the right communication skills.
|PHOTO: Justin Theng|
The society we live in today is becoming increasingly aesthetically-conscious as well as driven by interpersonal relationships. Not only must one be effective in terms of skill and competence, one also has to “look good” in order to leave a lasting impression. All these, coupled with the need to interact with people of different personalities, can leave one feeling inadequate.
With this in mind, a series of workshops was put together for a group of church goers at City Harvest Church, under the care of Lim Meng Ching, a zone supervisor overseeing the MJ Zone. The workshops were specifically aimed at helping the zone members to find ways of improving the quality of life, and better meet the pressing demands of work. The three-part series was aptly entitled “The Winning Look,” introducing skills in personal grooming, interpersonal communication, and other fun activities.
Held at The Riverwalk, at Upper Circular Road, over three alternate Saturday afternoons, the first workshop on March 13 dealt with the topic on “Grooming and Making a First Impression.” A total of 100 people comprising a mix of students, working professionals and married couples registered for this workshop.
To bring across the principle —first impressions count—the workshop kicked off with six models taking to the stage, clad in attire portraying six common stereotypes among young adults: one with a “Mod look,” a punk-rocker, a girl-next-door, a smart looking business professional, one sloppily dressed, and “tech geek.” Participants were asked to choose, based on first impression, whom would they pick to entrust specific tasks such as watering the plants, banking in a paycheck, and meeting a Member of Parliament etc. This exercise made it clear that first impressions matter when it comes to evaluating a person’s dependability to handle responsibility.
Participants were then divided into different rooms for specific sessions on grooming, fitness, and creating a good first impression. Facilitators for the workshops were Franklin (industrial designer, certified pilot, rescue and dive master, and an avid sportsman) and Sally Wuu (general manager in the advertising and marketing industry, and a magazine and catwalk model for brands including Vera Wang, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren, Jean-Paul Gaultier).
Lim also gave a talk on how to build a healthy self-esteem and on handling people-relationships.
One of the participants, Zhang Ming Yao, who is a father-to-be, had this to say: “Through this workshop, I’ve gained interesting and insightful knowledge about making positive first impressions through appearance and through communication. I especially enjoyed Franklin’s introduction of the 3Gs of communication—to be Generous, Genuine and Gracious.”
After the success of the first workshop, participants came back a fortnight later on March 27, in eager anticipation. Facilitators continued an in-depth communication workshop entitled “Communication and Relationship Building,” where participants learned the importance of being comfortable with oneself, and being comfortable in engaging in conversations. These included tips on how to ask the right questions, body language, eye contact, and facial expressions.
Following the session, participants engaged in practical exercises. They practiced looking at one another for whole three minutes in silence. The purpose was to learn how to hold eye contact and express the right body language. It helped the participants to gauge their comfort level when engaging others. Participants then took turns to “introduce themselves” to another person in the room whom they were unfamiliar with; this gave them a chance to put into practice their newly acquired conversational skills.
Said Valerie Lim, student, “‘The Winning Look’ workshops were incredible. Not only did the speakers address the physical aspects of how to look and dress your best, they also touched on the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication. The practice sessions allowed us to evaluate where we stand as an individual and what are the areas we could improve on. They were good methods of hands-on approach to learning.”
The third and final workshop, revolved around the theme of a wedding reception, where participants came dressed for the part. The “guests” were asked to mingle, round-robin style, and carry out five-minute conversations with one another. Each person had to rate his/her partner with a specially prepared grading slip containing a checklist of points, such as, good eye contact, level of friendliness, interest level of the conversation and more.
At the end of the practical session, the floor was open to a question and answer segment with the Wuus, followed by a presentation of the “Best Dressed” award.
Participants are looking forward to an upcoming workshop on Sizzlin’ Salsa conducted by Sammy Palomo, a professional dance instructor and ballroom dance champion from the Philippines.