Skip to main content

Alyanna Salang

Business Co-op Student

empty
Woman talking on the phone, with laptop in her lap
Credit
Magnet.me on Unsplash
When communicating with others, describe the situation or the problem, share your understanding of the situation, make your requests known, and be open to what they think.

Nowadays, most of the job postings we see include “oral and written communication skills” as part of the criteria for job selection. My first Co-op placement at Sepro Mineral Systems mentioned that a candidate should have oral and written communication skills. I thought this meant that a candidate’s English spelling and grammar should be near perfect, in which the candidate typically gets A’s in English courses and has experience in case competitions and public speaking. However, throughout my 8-month Co-op experience with Sepro, I learned that there is more to communication skills than just being fluent in English and being on par with my grammar.

Sepro is one of the world’s largest suppliers of mineral technology, in which they have been the supply of mineral processing equipment, metallurgical testing and process consulting. They are committed to providing innovative solutions to meet customer needs, they connect with other businesses to be creative with and improve their research and production. In my perspective, this means communication is one of their key characteristics to maintain and strengthen their business.

As an Events and Marketing Coordinator, some of my responsibilities included sourcing internal information for use in promotional materials and coordinating with vendors and coworkers globally when planning for events. In case you have not noticed, all these responsibilities share the same requirement: communication.

Sourcing information for use in promotional items usually occurs in two situations: our marketing team either wants a new promotional product to giveaway or we want to reorder more Sepro-branded promotional items. For example, I was given the task of re-ordering our company golf shirts, but with a different logo embroidered. To accomplish this task, I had to contact the vendor that supplied our previous golf shirts to inquire about the cost of ordering 36 new shirts and to request a new logo embroidery on each shirt. For weeks, the vendor and I emailed each other back and forth, to make sure that the colour of the shirt and the embroidered logo are accurate and reflect our company branding.

Most of my tasks are associated with event planning, especially for conferences and Trade shows that Sepro sends their sales staff to as delegates and exhibitors. Each event has its checklist, from which I work. In each event, I need to know who is attending so that I can get them registered, reserve hotel rooms and ask which promotional materials they want me to pack. It is very important to keep in contact with the show delegates so that I can send them emails of instructions, updates, and information regarding the events they are attending. For instance, this past month I had been in contact with one of the sales employees, who is the show lead for an upcoming conference. We had been in contact through email, but I frequently visit his office to follow-up on his approvals for my proposed packing lists and booth layouts.

With all these tasks that I needed to accomplish, I realized that as much as I wanted to pay attention to my grammar and spelling structure, getting my tasks done on time was important too. To complete my assignments and meet deadlines, I had to constantly email, make phone calls, and visit offices. Not only that, each email, phone call and visit required as many questions on my end, as it did information to give to make sure each stakeholder involved knew what is going on.

It might seem like over-communication, but often, informative emails and frequent phone calls were the main ways I could get my job done. In fact, these are great opportunities to build relationships with stakeholders. My supervisor shared that “communication is a strategy action to receive what you expect to accomplish.” I will not be able to get my tasks done if I did not approach my coworkers through email or a phone call to confirm whether they are attending an event or not, if they approve of the packing list I sent them, or where they want their packages shipped. I do not think I could accomplish my assignments well if I did not ask my supervisor and coworker for questions, clarification, confirmation, and feedback.

I am not disregarding grammar and spelling structure at all. I think they are both very important so that it’s easier for others to understand what is communicated. In my perspective, grammar and spelling represent the “cherry-on-top” when writing an email and making a phone call. What I learned from my Co-op experience at Sepro is to be more informative and curious and build relationships with stakeholders. When communicating with others, describe the situation or the problem, share your understanding of the situation, make your requests known, and be open to what they think.

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Alyanna Salang

Business Co-op Student
As a business student at SFU, Alyanna aspires to expand her knowledge and experience in Human Resources and Marketing through volunteering at her church and making the most of the opportunities given. She is passionate about event planning, mentoring high school students, singing, and songwriting. Additionally, she seeks to enhance her leadership and networking skills through social corporate events, work experience, and workshops.
Jien Hilario photo
What’s in a Name? Coming to Terms With Labelling Myself as a Person With a Disability

If you were to see Jien on campus, you wouldn’t know that she had a disability. She does not use a wheelchair nor does she have a seeing eye dog. She has an invisible disability. In this article, Jien shares her journey on how she came to terms with labeling herself as a person with a disability. 

Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere
Why Doesn’t Canada Have a Disabilities Act?

It is 2018 and Canada has not yet implemented adequate protection and legislation for people with disabilities. When it comes to equality for all, Canada is falling far behind. In this article, Jien discusses the research and reality of why Canada needs a Disabilities Act.

We Can Do It!
How to Satisfy Your Inner Activist

When people think about social justice, they think of things like protests or hunger strikes, but the options don’t end there. These volunteer organizations can help you satisfy your inner activist.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Two people in the bus smiling to the camera
My Co-op Work Term in Gaborone | Part One | Dumela (Hello) Botswana

Health Sciences Co-op student Kaleigh Banister is spending the spring semester in Gabarone on a Co-op work term with the Cancer Association of Botswana. In Part 1 of her series, Kaleigh arrives in Gabarone and begins to adjust to life in the slow lane.

Sunset over water and islands
How to Kick the Procrastination Monkey and Take the Wheel

Staying focused and getting things done can be something we all struggle with, especially when both work and play are online. What, then, is the "procrastination monkey", and how can you overcome the distraction it brings? Clarissa explains how to kick the monkey to the curb, and take control of your time and work. 

View of BC Cancer Research Center from W 10th Avenue looking North
Branching Out and Standing Out at the BC Cancer Agency

Working in a huge building can be intimidating and make you feel very small, especially as a temporary Co-op student. Check out what Josh did to make sure everyone in the BC Cancer Research Center knew who he was!