It just drives me crazy when people minimize the importance of effective communications in the business world. I especially cringe when someone says something truly lame like, "I´m not a very good communicator" and then leaves it at that as if it´s a genetic thing, something in the blood that´s irreversible. You can learn to write well and you can learn to be a better speaker. But first you have to place a lot of importance on that aspect of professionalism. Here´s part two of my most recent Q & A with author Robbie Miller Kaplan:
Leslie: Are written communications really important at work since we have become so electronic mail-oriented?
Robbie: Technology has really taken over office communications and it´s easy to rely on electronic mail for its ease and brevity. But written communications continue to play a vital role and they offer an opportunity to gain a competitive edge in the workplace. Content and format are important so learn appropriate business letter formats and plan to use letters and notes to help build your career. Make yourself memorable by keeping in touch with your network, articulating thank you messages, offering condolences, extending congratulations, and maintaining contact. Many guides, including How to Say It When You Don´t Know What to Say and How to Say It In Your Job Search, are available with model letters; use these until you master the basics and become comfortable with your own words.
Leslie: Some people use networking but then allow their connections to lapse; is networking something that is helpful when not looking for a job?
Robbie: Networking is the best and most effective way to not only look for jobs but to build your career. It is a crucial way to get and give information and support as we navigate the world of work. Build your network through current and past colleagues, supervisors, and professional contacts but don´t forget classmates, teachers/professors, family members, friends, neighbors, trades professionals, and everyone that is part of your daily routine. Make an effort to keep in touch by conversations, correspondence, electronic mail, personal and professional meetings, and conferences.