People in technical industries often mistake written communication skills as optional and easy to learn "along the way." Rather, communication (and other “soft”) skills are not just important for the non-technically minded: they’re vitally important in any field. Engineers, programmers, scientists, and other technically minded individuals may have poor written communication skills, especially when communicating with non-technical people. Unfortunately, these poor technical writing communication skills can translate into lost productivity, lost business, and wasted time.
Written Communication is UnderminedIt’s easy for technical people to snub their noses at seemingly common sense communication skills. It’s obvious that looking at your audience is more effective than burying your face in your notes. Avoiding spelling mistakes and speaking intelligently are obviously advantageous. Tech-savvy people sometimes even consider “soft” skills such as good communication a cover-up for weak technical knowledge. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Technical Leaders Use Communication Skills DailyWhy is Steve Jobs the face of Apple, Inc. and Steve Wozniak isn’t? It’s not because Jobs was better at crunching numbers or writing code or designing new product features than Wozniak. It comes down to the ability Jobs had to mentor his staff, build strong relationships, and inspire others.
It’s easy for the technically minded to fall into a trap. Their thinking becomes: “Since I’m not usually required to interact with clients the way front-office people do, it’s not necessary to hone my communication skills.” However, because leaders must be effective communicators , influencers, and negotiators, this type of thinking leaves the C-suite open to others who deal directly with clients.
If technical people stick with the notion that good communication isn’t an important part of their job, or that it’s simply not in their nature to communicate effectively, they hold themselves back, both in terms of advancing their own professional career and maximizing company profits.
Fortunately, written communication skills aren’t innate; in fact, they can be taught to anyone in any profession. If you want to make teaching good technical writing communication skills to your employees a priority, contact Hurley Write, Inc. to learn more.