Archive for How to find a suitable Guy

How to write topic sentence in Business Letter (Formal Letter)

Some common Malaysian mistakes in reply business letters


“We refer to the above.”

“With reference to the above, …”

“Referring to the above matter, …”

“With regard to the above, …”

Or, when you want to sound very “corporate” :

“Pertaining to the above-captioned matter, …”

Or, when you want to use Malaysian Business Language:

“The above matter refers.”

They are a waste of ink.


Use a topic sentence such as:

“Thank you for your letter of 22nd March 2012, in which you …………

Effective Topic Sentences do not use the phrase

“the above matter” or “the above subject”,

nor do they use the words

“refer”, “reference”, “regarding”, “pertaining to”!



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How to improve your English

Ways to improve English

happy girls

Read, write, listen and speak and you will get there.



Read books whose subjects interest you, and try if possible to get some advice on whether the books you have chosen are written well.

Also, choose books whose language provides some challenge to you, but not too much, because that might discourage you. If there are 10 or more words on every page that you don’t know the meaning of, find a simpler book.

There is also no library near you. You can go to the Project Gutenberg website at languages/en


Reading alone is not enough, look up a word in a dictionary to find out its exact meaning or meanings.



 Improving on your writing skill. If you have no tutor or a friend to help you, just write a diary. You don’t need to write every day. But whenever you feel happy or upset or angry about something, try to write how you feel in your diary.

Never mind if it is somewhat ungrammatical at first: you will get better as you read more and write more. And if you feel upset or angry, writing it all down may actually help you feel less upset or angry.



The BBC has a useful website for learning English, where you can also improve your listening skills through listening to the passages that are read aloud, and the conversations between people.

Try browsing the following site: index.shtml



Speaking may be the skill that is hardest to improve. Having a friend who is proficient in English would be helpful. If you don’t have such a friend, try getting a tutor, if you can afford it.

If you have neither friend of that description, nor cash to pay for a tutor, don’t despair. If you listen to the language often enough, you can try to speak it on your own.

Try reading aloud in the privacy of your home or room. It can be enjoyable.


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How to reply a letter of complaint

Do you believe that the customer is always right? If so, you will write a Letter of Apology, which might go something like this:


Dear Customer,

We are extremely sorry that you have been disappointed in our service. We were definitely in the wrong and we sincerely apologise for all the inconvenience which you have had to suffer because of the negligence of our staff …

You might end by repeating the apology:

Once again, please accept our profound apologies.


You have just lost a customer!


In this extract, there are seven words which can only serve to erode your customer’s confidence even further in your company.

If the customer is right, then someone has to be wrong.

So don’t write any such thing!


In dealing with complaints,

the issue of who is right and who is wrong should not come into question.

So, when a complaint comes in,

write a Letter of Adjustment.

Using the ‘5 As’:

> Acknowledge:

This is not like acknowledging a cheque, so don’t write:Your letter has been received and the contents noted. As mentioned in a previous article in this column, this is rude.

Write a topic sentence which summarises the customer’s difficulties. Only when you have acknowledged the customer’s difficulties will you have credibility to do something about these difficulties.

Don’t use the word refer in a topic sentence. Write something like: Thank you for your letter of (DATE) in which you highlight to us the delays you have experienced in …

> Accept:

Accept the blame if you need to, but don’t write sorry and try to avoid apologies also; use regret, as it serves to place some distance between you and the conflict. Remember, the integrity of your company is in your hands.

> Account:

Account for the problem. Give some explanation. Don’t overdo this. I once received a letter of adjustment from a bank, in which I was informed that the manager of the department had been dismissed because of dishonesty.

Knowing that certainly did not increase my confidence in that bank! When you account for the problem, be briefly informative as a courtesy to the customer.

> Act:

Do something! Tell the customer what you have done or will do. You may not be able to accede to a request like I demand a complete refund! At least say that you are investigating the issue or that you have passed therequest (not demand) to your management for their consideration.

> Assure:

Do not write this common, though meaningless and insincere sentence: Assuring you of our best service at all times. It’s a lie! Nobody can ever assure this.

Similarly don’t write

We assure you that this will never happen again.

If it does happen again, you are in double trouble!

Assure only what you are capable of delivering. Before assuring anything, ensure that you have both the Capacity (physical and legal) and the Commitment (from all parties in the organisation) to deliver.


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How to conduct yourself in a meeting

Common expressions used in a meeting

Here are some common expressions used in a meeting:

Welcoming and introducing participants

Please join me in welcoming Mr Tan …

It’s a pleasure to welcome Mr Krishnan …

I’d like to introduce Mr Pritam …

I don’t think you’ve met Dr Hanafi …

Stating the objectives

We’re here this afternoon to discuss …

Our aim is to look into the revised employment act …

I’ve called this meeting in order to …

Apologising on behalf of an absentee

I’m afraid Mr Yong can’t be with us today. He has gone to Shanghai …

I have received an apology for the absence of Madam Vijaya, who is in Paris negotiating a business project …

Reading the minutes of the last meeting

First, let’s go over the minutes of the last meeting, which was held on …

Please read the minutes of our last meeting, which was held on … After that could someone kindly propose the minutes be passed, and could someone else second it.

Requesting a brief report

John, can you tell us how our condominium project is progressing?

Cik Azizan, how is the sales promotion campaign coming along?

Sundram, when can our video-conferencing facilities be ready?

Introducing the agenda

Please refer to the agenda today …

There are four items on the agenda. First, …

I suggest we look at item 3 first …

Appointing duties

Ms Susila has agreed to take the minutes …

Cik Fatimah, would you mind taking the minutes?

Introducing the first item

Let’s start with item 1 …

Shall we start with item 1 …

The first item on the agenda is …

Closing an item

I think that covers the first item …

Shall we leave that item?

If nobody has anything else to add, let’s move on to item …

Next item

Let’s move on to the next item …

The next item on the agenda is …


Before we adjourn the meeting, let me summarise the main points …

To sum up, …

In brief, …

Shall I go over the main points?

Finishing up

Good, we have covered all the items …

Is there any other matter?

Proposing the next meeting

Shall we fix the next meeting?

So, the next meeting will be on Aug16 at 2pm, at the same place.

What about the following Wednesday?

Thanking participants for attending

Thank you all for attending.

Thanks for your participation.

Closing the meeting

The meeting is adjourned.

We have come to the end of our meeting.

Yong Ah Yong is a lecturer at UTAR (Perak).

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How to stand out in an interview

The interview:

Where your listening and speaking skills count.

THE main purpose of a job interview is for the business management to get to know you better. They are already satisfied with your qualifications and now they wish to see you in person to have a clearer picture of who you are. How you carry yourself before a panel of interviewers will be observed and assessed. The interview is often the final filtering process as confirmation of recruitment can be made after deliberation by the panel of interviewers.

Getting prepared

Before attending an interview, it would be helpful to get hold of a brief history of the company, identify their products or services, their customers as well as their vision and mission. This will help you see how your expertise and experience fit in with the company.

Although one cannot judge a book by its cover, the interviewers are able to judge you by verbally exchanging information with you. At the same time, they are watching you and scanning you from head to toe and your body language can either enhance your image or betray you.

Your attire should be neat and professional. A lady may sport long hair but not a man. Imagine how a professional manager in a well-established firm would look, and dress that way.

You need to carry with you all the relevant documents and certificates. Your CV (curriculum vitae) or résumé, list of referees, samples of your past projects and anything else that they may want to see should be brought along. Make sure everything is well arranged and any item can be easily retrieved.

Testing the applicant

A company may make a mistake by firing the right person or hiring the wrong one. Therefore, the management has to be very cautious in its selection process. A job applicant may be put through a series of tests other than the interview to see his true colours.

Handling job interview questions

Your listening and speaking skills will be put to the acid test in the interview. This means that you must not remain silent during your meeting with the interviewers or just give yes or no answers to their questions. That would indicate to them that you dislike communication or that you lack communication skills.

Interviewers will often ask some warm-up questions, such as:

How did you arrive at our company?

Did it take you long to get here?

Where did you park your car?

Were you caught in the rain?

Whether you say yes or no, do elaborate.

In other words, provide slightly more information than required.

Tell them, for instance:

Oh yes, it is very convenient to get a cab at KL Sentral. It took me just 20 minutes to reach here. The cab driver knew your company location very well …”

Of course, don’t drag on.

Answer their questions precisely.

Tell them what they want to know,

and don’t tell them what they do not ask.

The interviewers will continue to ask about your previous employment or education, or they may ask you a hypothetical question to gauge how you would handle a difficult situation or to hear your personal opinions.

What if we want you to work at our branch office in Kuantan in the first two years?

We know your major is Financial Management at the university.

Do you mind if we post you to the Public Relations Department?

Frequently asked questions

Here are some questions that the interviewers may ask you:

How would you handle a difficult customer?

You may relate an incident at your previous workplace,

then explain the situation and how you helped solve the problem.

If you have not experienced such a case,

you could tell the interviewers about a similar situation where you managed to settle a quarrel among friends.

That would give the interviewers some idea of your social or inter-personal strategies.

Why should we choose you?

Mention that you like the job and you are suitable for the job. Let the company realise how they will gain from having you as an employee. Give some idea of what way you can be of value to them.

Tell us about yourself.

Give a brief summary of your education, experience and expertise. Tell them your ambition and immediate plan.

Reveal your personality by saying that you enjoy team work, are eager to learn and will do your best for the growth and development of the company.

What are your weaknesses?

Don’t say “I don’t have any”. Everyone has weaknesses and it takes courage to admit them. Say something relevant in a humorous way:

Yes, my girlfriend always tells me I am too straightforward and I will never make a successful sales manager. Perhaps I need to learn how to be a little bit tricky in order to function in my job.

What are your strengths?

Tell the interviewers honestly what you can do well. However, be modest and tell them there is still plenty of room for you to improve yourself.

Show your goodwill

Throughout the interview, maintain eye contact with each of the interviewers.

At the end of the interview you may ask the interviewers one or two questions to show that you are really interested:

Could I know when you will inform me of the outcome of this interview?

Do you encourage your officers to do a part-time MBA while they are serving in your company?

Before you leave, thank all the interviewers.

Thank them again by e-mail, text message or phone after a couple of days.

That may impress them to a certain extent. Try to be a little outstanding, and your name will at least stand out in their short-term memory.


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How to Argue Effectively and Win

How to Argue Effectively and Win

It can be difficult for people to get their point across without hurting one another in the process. Here are some tips for effectively resolving a problem by stating your views, while being collected and reasonable. Also included are tips on winning an argument.

Stay calm & Keep a steady low tone.

The energy you give off is usually picked up on by the other person; if you are calm they sense you mean no harm and relax more. Even if you get emotional, try to keep your dignity and don’t lash out unexpectedly. Also consider your tone of voice; try to keep a steady, low tone and volume, not fluctuating to much in speed and sound. Try to sound as relaxed as possible and avoid high-pitched sounds. Also consider your body language: have a good firm posture that makes your feel powerful but not aggressive.

Don’t insult the other person.

Avoid to, in any way, say something that might be taken as an insult. When people are angry they are much more sensitive and will take even the smallest comment as an insult.

Express that you are willing to listen to the other person and respect them.

Even though you might not agree with what the other person is saying you need to remember that they might feel just as strongly about their views as you do about yours.

Winning an Argument –

      Think about the possible arguments for and against your side, and the opposite side. If there is any major weakness in your argument, you must fill it before coming to a confrontation with the opposition, or risk losing the argument.

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How to write a closing notice


Dear Customers,

Our office will be closed from Chinese New Year’s Eve Feb 2, 2011 (9am-1pm) to Feb 6, 2011, and will resume operations from Feb 7, 2010. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year.

The Management

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