Building on the previous posts about writing styles, have you ever wondered why most of the job descriptions include “excellenet verabal and written communication skills”? With globalization and electronic communications on the rise, communication skills rank very high for new age professionals. All things equal, a person with better communication skills has a definite edge.
In my personal experience, hasty, poorÃ‚Â and vagueÃ‚Â communication is the top reason for confusion, friction =lack of productivity and low success rates of projects. I see this happen with offshore projects all the time.
Its really important for technical folks to understand this. When you are explaining a technical issue to any non-technical people (finance, marketing, sales etc), you have to set the proper context, cut out the jargon and make things easier forÃ‚Â your audience (yes I assume youÃ‚Â know them well!)Ã‚Â by breakingÃ‚Â issues down in digestible parts.Ã‚Â Often times I see a terse e-mail from a technical team member who assumes that others have the background of the topic under discussion, know the jargon and acronyms and worse of all – who try to impress others with their tech knowledge.
For the youth who have been raised on IM and SMS, it may be hard to give up the convenience but phrases such asÃ‚Â “Can U send me the paper 2day” do not fit in the corporate world of today – period.
Of course, geeks are not the only ones guilt of poor communication. The non-technical or businessÃ‚Â teams make similar mistakes: oversimplify things (to suit their agenda in some cases) , introduce too much hype (sales), overdoes of corporate BS etc.
So no matter if you are writing for a business case asking for funding, an explanation for an outage, business requirementsÃ‚Â or a process flow – make sure that you step back and think for a moment about all the stake holders. E-mail has made it really easy to fire off things to other – just take the time to think through what will be the impact of your note. Same applies to face-to-face meetings or conference calls.
And if your message is going to executives and other busy decision makers, pay special attention to your choice of words, how you summarize things for them and how you can pro-actively answer their questions and concerns at the right place with the righ supporting numbers or evidence.
The business world is full of poor writing, learn from these mistakes and rememberÃ‚Â -Ã‚Â not focusingÃ‚Â on your communication skills will harm your career in the long run.