Don’t Write The Way You Speak

Nothing is more irritating to me than to read something that is written in the way two high school friends would talk to each other.  Yes, it is OK to be informal in most written communication i.e.  E-mail – most of the time.  It is not however, OK to write as you would talk.

While teaching at a community college we would regularly be visited by different companies looking to hire students.  The number one request – actually it was more of a plea for help – was to teach students how to communicate in concise and complete sentences.  Grading papers I could easily feel their pain.

During the faculty group discussions regarding this dilemma, it became apparent the students had never been taught the proper way to communicate in writing.  If the majority of writing you have done consists of texting your friends in cryptic words and phrases it can be difficult to unlearn this habit.  If you’ve ever had the privilege to grade one of these papers then you know what I mean.

I began to address this issue by setting clear goals and examples at the beginning of the class.  All assignments and e-mail communication must be in complete sentences, concise and grammatically correct.  While I thought this was a relatively easy and simple request it became very apparent, really quick, that it was not.

After explaining my conversation with many employers and the need for concise communication that was in a complete sentence and grammatically correct, most students understood and appreciated my taking the time to help them with a problem they did not know they had.

It is your responsibility as a Supervisor/Manager to mentor your staff and teach them the proper way to communicate.  Yes, it will be a pain and yes it will be difficult at times; but it is ( or at least should be) part of your job.  It will be worth it the first time you get a thanks for taking the time to help.  I know it was for me.