Freelancer in media
Former Halogen Intern in year 2013

What does influence mean to you?

Perhaps influence starts from attention. Every advertiser, marketer, screen and product is fighting for your attention. You might give them your attention for a brief moment, and then forget about it. Or you might move beyond passively absorbing the information to frequently thinking about it. Be it consciously or unconsciously, you also begin to behave accordingly to these thoughts. You’ve been influenced if you continue acting out the same behaviours over a period of time. There seems to be two types of people in this world – the “influencer” and the “people who are influenced”. I don’t believe in this dichotomy because we are all able to choose our influences, and are equally able to influence anyone else. If you’re ever unsatisfied with your behaviours, you can choose to shift your attention elsewhere. Your influences might therefore change. And your choice might influence others.

What are some memories/experience of influence being exercised in your life? (Share a halogen memory if applicable)

Working together with Ivy as an events intern back in 2013, I had the privilege to observe her hands on working style. This might seem like a small thing, but Ivy had this habit of writing out her to dos on a stack of paper on a clipboard. I don’t think I actually paid much attention to it during my internship. But, while working on my Final Year Project in university, I began structuring my daily to dos on recycled paper using a clipboard. On days where I kept getting more and more tasks to work on, and I just felt that I had endless work, I always went back to the big picture I had written down on the clipboard. It helped me keep track of my work, and prioritise. I guess this is the sort of unconscious influence Ivy had on me. Another one of my team member picked up the habit as well and although she did not use it for long, and I think it has served us effectively during our busiest days.

How has your time with Halogen impacted the way you exercise influence (in your everyday life)?

Before interning at Halogen, I had seen and believed that leadership is a top down approach to managing people. It’s a sort of permission to order people around to do things for you. And usually leadership is for people with some sort of power or commanding voice. If my team failed, I would have to bear the responsibility of the failure. So I didn’t really want to be a leader, and I was always hesitant to take up anything that had to do with leadership.

At Halogen, I first learnt that leadership was influence. I don’t think I fully understood the phrase, but it did come back to me again and again as I was putting it in action during my years in university.

Working in a team, I learnt that leadership is an opportunity to learn about my teammates, how they work as people, and how I can work with best with them so that we all learn in the process. Influential leadership builds camaraderie and trust in a team. As a team, we did fail, but because of our synergy, we continued pushing each on and didn’t let it stop us from working towards our success in the end.

What do you think is the potential of influence?

This probably sounds cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Influence is like a drop of water, landing on the surface of still waters. It can create a ripple. Whether the ripple is small or huge, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the drop of water continues to create ripples so that other drops of water may also create ripples