How to Have a Successful Video Meeting from Home

How you handle and manage the tools offered by video conferencing services says a lot about you and your professionalism. This not only includes your technical capabilities, but your social skills as well, especially if you are going to attend or host a meeting from your home. Your behavior and bearing during the audio visual meeting has a large impact on your reputation and more; and the business implications are also real.

Image Credit: Blue Jeans

This is the main reason organisations of various sizes are using online meeting services more often than not. A GIGAOM research indicates that 87 percent of remote users feel that video conferencing offers them a more connect option. Other research reports show that there has been a dramatic rise in the use of mobile and desktop visual collaboration tools in all types of companies. In fact, 44 percent say they use the technology while another 42 percent are already planning to deploy the same in the short term.

With all these in mind, it is time you bring your best game to your online meeting experience. Everyone could use a brush up on how to make their online interactions that much better. As you host a virtual global meeting at home from your laptop or smartphone, here are four things you should do to improve your videoconferencing skills.

Improve Visuals and Audio

If you are not communicating from your office, you have to carefully consider your surroundings and appearance on camera, explains an Entrepreneur article. This also goes for participants and presenters. Your location should not have a busy and clattered background; this includes windows that are likely to distract your viewers. A good starting point is to hang your company’s logo behind your home desk so no matter the type of online conferencing technology you are using, you have a professional setting close by.

Image Credit: Tse-The Strauss Group

You should also ensure that your room has adequate lighting so your online participants can clearly see your face without glare or shadows. Position audio and visual tools in such a way that they are still focused on you even as you move – something you can easily achieve with top quality equipment, harder with client- or web-based software systems.

Choose clothes that make you look good on camera. Avoid busy patterns like checkered shirts that are likely to be dizzying – also avoid accessories that are distracting. In terms of sound, ensure your microphone captures your voice in such a way that it is neither too loud nor too soft. If you cannot control the background noise, use the mute button. Remember to switch off all your audio and video functions so that your confidential information is not overheard or seen.

Maintain Business Etiquette

Virtual meetings, like real-life ones, require different formality levels. Like other business oriented meetings, the same rules apply when attending virtual ones. For example, if you are on a video call with one of your team members, you may spend some time joking around for a couple of minutes before the meeting starts. However, if attending to a meet with several people, especially those you do not know that well, the tone of your call will reflect that, requiring more focus and less joking.

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Follow a set of protocols can help make your meetings, even from home, more effective, efficient and enjoyable. For situations with a larger audience, you could possibly have a moderator to handle the questions.

Know Your Conferencing Tool

Just about everyone today has had some sort of experience with video. However, a casual familiarity does not mean that you will get a smooth experience. This is especially true when some business stakes are involved. As a meeting participant or presenter, make sure that you understand your hardware, software and connectivity options you have. Ideally, this check should be done before the conference commences since glitches do occur even with the best systems and to the most experienced professionals.

Be Engaging

To make your presentations from home memorable, ensure that you are speaking with (and not lecturing) the audience. If possible, steer clear of reading your PowerPoint presentations in a single tone voice. Ask your audience questions to make sure they are engage and always address them by name. Use built-in functions like white boards and chat rooms to keep every participant involved through multiple media. In addition, avoid the “talking head,” and put effort in your visuals; show videos, graphs and images that are related to what you are discussing. Do not be afraid of sharing your five-minutes of fame with other team members.

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Most videoconferencing participants tend to sit back in a passive manner, but they could be missing a really good opportunity to shine. Use audio or chat, take part in polls, offer related resources and, as much as possible, be an alert home-based participant, just as you would be if you were onsite.

Beginner’s Wakeboarding Lesson at Singapore’s New Cable Ski Park

I am a big fan of water sports and I have been at it since I was 9. Whether it is swimming, kayaking, dragon-boating, or even jet-skiing; I honestly enjoy all sorts of water sports. Apart from windsurfing and sailing which I haven’t got the opportunity to explore yet; I am really glad that I recently had the chance to pick up some basic wakeboarding skills at Singapore’s new cable-ski park, the Singapore Wake Park at East Coast Park (no, this post has got absolutely nothing to do with anything Korean).

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

While I am not exactly sure how big Singapore’s wakeboarding scene is, I really do hope to gain mastery of the sport over time and be able to teach the sport to others in the future. In fact, after a few try-outs at Singapore Wake Park (the only local cable-ski park); I am totally hooked to the sport.

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

For those who are entirely new to wakeboarding (myself included), you might have the impression that this sport is super expensive and that it is only meant for the angmohs. You might even have doubted yourself and thought that wakeboarding is a difficult sport to learn.

Well, after my first wakeboarding experience at the Singapore Wake Park, I am more than happy to tell you that wakeboarding is an affordable sport for everyone; yes including children above 6 years old to seniors in their 50s! I honestly thought that wakeboarding is a difficult sport to pick up but much to my delight; the new cable-ski park at East Coast features three state-of-the-art cable systems comprising two System 2.0s designed for beginners and a full-size cable system for experienced wakeboard enthusiasts all in an enclosed body of water.

If you have previously been to East Coast Park (2015 and earlier)and passed by the cable-ski park; you might have noticed that the previous cable-ski park had only one full-size cable system where amateurs and even experienced wakeboarders go onto the same system which made the sport pretty unsafe.

The new management (Island Lifestyle Group) partnered Sesitec, the German company renowned for designing and building cable systems worldwide, to install the latest cable-ski systems in the park to cater to both beginners and experienced wakeboarders at the same time.

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

The System 2.0 marked its first set-up in Singapore, featuring a two-tower system that is especially well-suited to novices, with only one wakeboarder allowed at a single time, thus allowing the instructor to focus fully on the individual. This makes wakeboarding more accessible for adventure seekers, groups of friends, and families who wish to try a new sport. Furthermore, it has a gentle increase in speed from 0 km/h to 25 km/h, which helps the wakeboarder anticipate the pull of the cable and is controlled manually to allow for personalised adjustments.

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

Honestly, for the rate of SGD$40/hour (weekdays) and SGD$60/hour (weekends); I really feel that it is worth the money to have an instructor who is fully present to take you through the basics of wakeboarding while enjoying a good workout. My muscles were aching the day after and yes; it worked my abs too.

The new Sesitec full-size cable system has size towers and six evenly-spaced carriers to take experienced wakeboarders around the cable-ski park. It uses advanced sensor technology to ensure reliable interaction among all components of the system. Stable floating walkways on the edges of the lagoon both serve as wave breakers for a smoother riding experience as well as platforms for wakeboarders to climb on and walk safely back to the starting docks.

Both the full-size cable system and the System 2.0s are environmentally friendly, with low noise and zero greenhouse gas emissions. This improves the overall wakeboarding experience where the water quality in the lagoon is not compromised. What’s more, the lagoon is also equipped with floodlights to illuminate the area so that wakeboarders can enjoy themselves until 10pm daily.

Aside from the three cable systems, what I really like about the Singapore Wake Park is that it also features many amenities such as shower facilities, changing rooms, lockers for the safekeeping of belongings (you have to bring your own personal padlock though), and free wireless connectivity!

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

Cable-ski equipment, vests, and helmets are included in the cable-ski package although you are welcome to purchase your own wakeboard and swimwear accessories from their pro shop onsite. If you’re a regular wakeboarder, you can also have the option of renting storage space at the park for added convenience.

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

Furthermore, the park offers many spots for people to gather and relax. Wooden decks next to the lagoon allow for comfortable lounging by wakeboarders who wish to take a breather or for spectators who wish to get a closer look. The café and bar next to the lagoon, Coastal Rhythm, is another great spot to watch the action on water. It is open to the public and it serves a full food and drinks menu, so family and friends can chill out over food while joggers and cyclists at East Coast Park can grab a bite before going on their way. I personally feel that the café and bar is a good place to hangout and chill.

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

I am so looking forward to wakeboarding again and just so you know, the Singapore Wake Park is having an exclusive one-for-one promotion that starts from today till the end of November 2016. What this means is that for SGD$40, you can bring another friend to come and wakeboard with you for free!

Wakeboarding at the Singapore Wake Park 2016

I’m so going to jio my siblings for some core body workout!

For more information, do check out Singapore Wake Park Facebook Page!

Operating Hours of the Park’s Cable Systems:
10am to 10pm daily
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays: 9am to 10pm

Operating Hours of Coastal Rhythm Café and Bar:
Mondays to Thursdays: 10am to 11pm
Fridays and Eve of Public Holidays: 10am to 1am (next morning)
Saturdays: 9am to 1am (next morning)
Sundays and Public Holidays: 9am to 11pm

SG Secure: Get Involved And Be Prepared For An Emergency Crisis

It’s a Saturday evening and after a satisfying dinner; you decide to bring the whole family to check out the magnificent Christmas lighting along Orchard Road and spend some quality family time.

Suddenly, you hear a loud “boom” and the next moment; you see shards of glass raining on the streets and you hear people screaming and running amok.

Woodlands Emergency Preparedness Day 2016

What will you do?

If I found myself in that situation; I will be stunned momentarily (that’s for sure). But at the same time, I know I cannot stay there permanently and the most immediate thing that I have to do is to check if my family is alright and move them to safety as soon as possible. Only when my family is safe and secure will I then venture out and put my first aid skills to use so that more people can be helped and rescued.

Woodlands Emergency Preparedness Day 2016

There are a thousand and one scenarios as to how a terrorist attack can unfold here in Singapore but how we respond to an attack (should one ever takes place) is extremely important.

Woodlands Emergency Preparedness Day 2016

As a nation, are we physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for an attack? If we aren’t, what are some things we can do to prepare ourselves?

Stay Alert

Be vigilant, look out for security threats and know how to respond.

Call 999 or SMS71999 if you see something suspicious.

Use the SG Secure App to provide information to the authorities.

Stay United

Build strong ties with your community.

In a crisis, stay calm and do not spread rumours.

Resume daily activities as soon as possible.

Stay Strong

Be prepared and know what to do in an emergency.

Know and apply ‘Run, Hide, Tell’, Improvised First-Aid Skills, and CPR-AED procedure.

I believe that everyone can do their part to ensure a safe and secure Singapore and as much as people would want to believe; we are now operating in an uncertain environment where it is not a matter of whether an attack can take place but a matter of when an attack will take place.

Be prepared for an emergency because to be prepared is half the victory.

Review: The New Volkswagen Golf Variant 1.4 TSI DSG R-Line

I’m still getting used to not having a car but honestly, having a car does make a whole world of difference; especially if you want to get around and travel to the more ulu part of Singapore.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

Thanks to the folks from Volkswagen Singapore, I had the opportunity to bring the Mrs, the brother, and the sister-in-law to be; for an epic outdoor adventure in the northwestern part of Singapore where we pushed the car to its limits.

Exterior Design

I always have got issues with Volkswagen cars in terms of its exterior design but the new Golf Variant (and the Volkswagen Beetle) are an exception.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

The Golf Variant’s styling with its precise lines creates a sporty and impressive look and the two-part rear lights emphasizes its family affiliation to the model range and the brand.

The standard R-Line exterior styling package includes R-Line bumpers in a striking, sporty look, a dedicated radiator grille with R-Line logo, side sill extensions, a roof edge spoiler, a black gloss diffuser and 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

Personally, I really like the side profile and the overall sporty exterior design of the Golf Variant; although I have to admit that taste can also be quite subjective. Hence; design-wise, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Interior Design

The interior of the Golf Variant overcomes class boundaries through its high-quality materials and exclusive appearance. When stepping into the car, the wide centre console is immediately apparent and its ambience is akin to that of a premium class car.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

One awesome feature of the Golf Variant is its large boot space! With the rear seats up; it offers 605 litres of boot space but with the rear seats folded down, the boot space increases to a whopping 1620 litres! If you frequent IKEA during the weekends; you will definitely love the Golf Variant because you can shop till you drop and still have ample space for many more shopping bags.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

The Driving Experience

What impressed me the most about the Golf Variant is its refined and intuitive driving experience. Despite it being a longer and heavier vehicle than the Volkswagen Golf Hatch, the Golf Variant is pretty nimble and ultra-responsive. With a top speed of 205 km/h and a maximum torque of 200 Nm, the Golf Variant sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds. Overtaking another vehicle is a breeze although I very much prefer to drive defensively.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

Turning and cornering is agile, thanks to the XDS differential lock that reduces the need for steering angle inputs by targeting brake interventions at the wheels on the inside of the bend. This means that the specific braking torque applied by XDS contributes towards keeping the steering angle difference small, compared to a neutrally steering vehicle.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

Although the lower centre of gravity provides much stability to the driving experience, it also means that the feedback from the tarmac road can be easily felt; especially if there are mini potholes or bumps on the road. Having said that, the Golf Variant has no issues going over humps or off-road driving as the suspension handled it really well.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2016

In terms of fuel consumption, it’s pretty decent if you utilise the Eco mode most of the time; but if you choose to engage the Sports mode permanently; you’re probably burning away fuel faster than you earn money.

All in all, the Volkswagen Golf Variant provides a very pleasant and smooth driving experience.

If there’s one thing that I don’t like about the Volkswagen Golf Variant, it will have to be its length. It took me a day to get used to driving such a long car and horizontal parking proved to be quite a challenge (even though it comes with the park-assist function). Then again, a car of this length have its advantages as well and like I said, the large rear storage space is one such example.

Overall Conclusion

If there’s a need for speed, ample storage space, and a sporty looking design; the Volkswagen Golf Variant is worth considering. In fact, don’t belittle this Category A COE car because for the price that you’re paying, it certainly packs a punch on the road.

Money Saving Tips When Travelling In Singapore

Singapore is truly a must-visit destination because it offers an exciting and interesting travelling experience; although sometimes the price to pay can be a little too high. In order to enjoy Singapore at an affordable price, travellers should book their transportation and accommodation online and make the most out of various promo codes and coupons. Moreover, when traveling in Singapore, the adventurers at heart can fully enjoy themselves at a lower price, if they follow these money saving tips:

Image result for singapore

1. Booking Accommodation Through A Specialised Website Like booking.com

For the best accommodation deals in Singapore, it is advisable to consult a website for booking hotels and other similar accommodation. The best of such websites is Hotels.com, which offers an exquisite amount of accommodation possibilities for any place in the world, Singapore included. Travellers can make a telephone call or create an account and then search for the most affordable hotels, apartments or resorts on the desired dates in the year. to get the most out of the website, one can indicate the desired hotel class and guest rating, as well as the preferred facilities within the accommodation. Once all of this has been decided, detailed descriptions of all available accommodations in Singapore will be presented and one can choose the most appropriate option. Hotels.com also offers reviews from previous visitors, so travellers can get acquainted with these first-hand impressions on a place of stay and be certain of the sincerity of its overall review score. When choosing a district of stay in Singapore, it is advisable to look specifically in the area of Little India, where lodgings are especially affordable.

Bunc Hostel @ Little India

2. Careful Planning Of The Transportation

Another vital point to consider when travelling in Singapore is to book for a cheaper form of transportation so that you can save some money for other activities. The most inexpensive option is to book for a transportation with Avis, a company which specialises in providing travellers with easy car rentals. All one needs to do is to indicate the pick-up location and the location of return, the dates and times of the pick-up and return, and then proceed to select a suitable vehicle. By renting a car from Avis, one can save money and have complete freedom in deciding exactly what landmarks in Singapore to visit, and also when to visit. Furthermore, using the available coupons and promo codes for companies like Avis will further cut the travel costs in Singapore and ensure that travellers can get the best discounts.

3. Careful Consideration Of The Choice Of Food And Drinks

In Singapore, it is advisable to avoid alcohol, fancy restaurants, and as well as bottled water, because they can be quite expensive. To save money, it is best to drink from the tap, which is considered safe, and if you wish to, drink alcohol only during happy hours, as there are many discounts and offers available during the happy hours period. For inexpensive meals, one can turn to the local hawker centres, wet markets and Chinatown, all of which offer delicious food at reasonable prices.

Chinatown Complex Food Centre

4. Finding Free Fun

Visitors can find many different activities in Singapore which are free of charge, but yet interesting. For anyone who enjoys exploring the nature, entrance to the Singapore Botanical Gardens is free of charge and there are many unique native flora that you can find there. Culture enthusiasts can enjoy free concerts and occasional art exhibits at the Esplandade over the weekends. At Marina Bays Sands, travellers can take pleasure in amazing light shows and experience the wonders of Singapore at nightfall.

Singapore Botanical Gardens