Most CEOs that I talk with these days will complain about the decline in writing skills in the working population. There seems to be a number of factors involved but generally it is pretty hard to find people, particularly in the technology world, who are capable technically but also have good writing skills. There have been many articles quoting career counsellors, that technology people need to have good soft skills in order to advance.
I think there could actually be a good debate here! If you agree that the advent of instant messaging and perhaps the proliferation of email, together with the decline in “snail mail” has led to a decline in “writing skills” then has that been offset by better productivity?
If I can communicate with someone effectively using a shorthand approach, like in text messaging then is that effective? If I can manage multiple such conversations at the same time is that not a productivity gain? If the people that I am communicating with are from the same generation and appreciate that mode of communication then what is the problem?
I think the issues comes more from “boomers” like me, who associate good grammar with professionalism and expect that kind of communication rather than today’s IM shorthand.
So … if I send long emails to people and they choose not to read it because they are used to “sound bites” am I really communicating well? Doh!
Life is full of shades of grey and I think we all have trouble adapting to change. The world of communication has changed, and the short form means of communication has reached a high degree of acceptability in the workplace. I also think that not being able to communicate effectively with senior decision makers, using more traditional writing skills will hurt your career.
Perhaps today’s professional needs to be bilingual … short hand and long hand!!!