2016. I make a decision.

A decision to enter the technological industry. In my early twenties, I try my hands on running my own event startup, starting my freelancing fitness career, playing a part in animal conservation and education and even working in an organic food kitchen. On March 2018, I left my beloved preschool sports coaching role to enter the blockchain industry.

Life till now have been nothing short of amazing. Sometimes, it does feel like I’m not moving anything ahead. But it helps to reiterate the things that I have done so far.

  • 2010-2011: Working holiday in New Zealand
  • 2012: Started a website called Illuminating Dreams, in hope to uncover passionate social entrepreneurs and movers of the society.
  • 2013-2014: Ventured into yoga, group fitness and belly dancing. Performed and taught at various locations
  • 2015: Started an inaugural fund raising performance for Cat Welfare Society
  • 2016: Founded my own events company. Gathered 50+ performers to assist in the second fund raising performance for Cat Welfare Society
  • 2017: Ventured into soft skills training, preschool sports coaching. Co-chair and emcee for GCNS Youth Forum, a turnout of 200+ youths interested in sustainability. Assisted and managed a weeklong event: Singapore Vienna Boys choir

2018. Baby steps into the technological industry

I’ve been most fortunate in my life to be blessed with people who helped me in my journey into the technological industry. Just within a year of breaking into the industry, I achieved many first for myself.

How did I do it from ground zero?

Seemingly random strings of events, they all connect to build me up to who I am. Being in the animal and kids industry, I hone up my skills of observation; non-verbal and verbal communication; and hypothesizing. And of course, the theory of reinforcement comes almost naturally to me nowadays. Having been mesmerized by how the body works through the study of biomechanics, physiology and anatomy, I could see many parallels in the technological field.

The technological industry is not just about the technological superiority and advancement. More often than not, this field needs communicators and story tellers. A company needs to communicate effectively to their stakeholders, both external and internal parties. And for a communicator to bring the idea across, one needs to learn to speak the language of the people they are communicating to. Understanding the target audience is a vital step in conveying the message. There are many layers and levels beneath an effective conversation. That is how I break into the space, with my medley of work experiences.

I will use the following terms for ease of reference:

Communicator: The party whose primary goal is to deliver a message. E.g. a DevRel sharing about the company API.

Receiver: The party whose primary goal is to receive, digest and brainstorm on the usability of the message. E.g. a lead developer exploring integrations to their product.

Communication styles

Human are social animals. As a general rule of thumb, we like people who are similar to us. That is why we don’t usually see a goth in a cooking club. When I volunteer for the GCNS youth forum, I am being shown the insights of communication through understanding how the DISC communication style work. This is further enforced by the materials of the soft skills training that I conduct in schools. The personality type of the receivers as per their DISC will affect the kind of preferred communication styles.

For example, a high D will prefer being clear, specific and to the point. Whereas a high I will enjoy some time for relating and socialising.

Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change

We all go through different stages in our lives and we have varying motivations. When I am studying sport science, I need to understand the principles underlying adherence, participation and motivation. In general, the stages of change could be grouped into 5 stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance.

The goal of understanding this model is for the commmunicator to move the receiver up the next stage in the model. At different stages, there are different course of actions to take. And that is also why companies frequently adjust their message to different segments of their target audience.

With that in mind, this theory ties in nicely with BJ Fogg’s behavior model

Behavior = Motivation * Ability * Trigger

In order for behavioral change to happen, these 3 factors need to come into play. For example, if an ability for a receiver to perform an action is low, the motivation of the receiver needs to be high. Or the communicator could implement a trigger to encourage the behavior.

Engaging the audience

Having being a preschool coach, fitness trainer and show presenter, I experience how tricky it is in terms of tailoring your message to the short attention span of people. Think about it, in company meetings, how often did the assumed receivers drift away? While it is not necessary that we rev up the crowd as if we are professional entertainers, it is important to understand how we could speak succinctly and powerfully.

Yes, content is important but so is the delivery. Julian Treasure shared a good break down on delivery.

Putting it together

During my course of work as an instructor and coach, I always have the end in mind. When I am working as a personal trainer, I will try to understand the main goal of the person. I will try to tap deeper to uncover any intrinsic goals, e.g. being able to play with their kids without getting breathless. It is not just about looking good, fit and healthy. It is about exploring the driver within the receiver to create change. From there, I will assist the receiver to expand his/her internal locus of control over the decisions and effects in life.

Once we have clarity on the main goal, we will break it down to a micro level into SMART goals.

2019

Seemingly random strings of event. Yet they connect in ways that I will not think is possible. 2019, a group of industry veterans and enthusiasts of blockchain are coming together to organise Singapore’s first cross disciplinary blockchain hackathon.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt