Why should I focus on my communication skills?

Because in every field–and especially in technical fields–you will stand out most if you are both competent in your field and credible in your communications.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Engineering, students can add a Technical Communications Certificate to their degree.  While I was at Wisconsin I cheerfully completed the Technical Communication Program and have never regretted adding those extra courses to my packed course calendar.

In 2006 I was featured in a story for the College of Engineering’s Perspective Magazine.  The editors wanted to market the benefits of the Technical Communication Certificate to engineering students and I was happy to help the editors (plus it was great publicity for my employer).

What I said in the article is even more true today: the communication skills I honed in the Technical Communications program have made all the difference in my career.

What have you done lately to improve your writing or speaking skills?

Are you taking advantage of communications classes at work? Will you in 2010?

Do you have a friend that’s a good writer or speaker than can coach you or give you good feedback?

Have you considered joining Toastmasters?

Like the blog tagline above says, “Stop waiting.  Start driving the change you want.”

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3 thoughts on “Why should I focus on my communication skills?

  • January 1, 2010 at 5:25 am
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    For the past three years I’ve been taking online writing classes through Ed2Go. I started out with the “write your life story” just because I don’t want to leave this world with just pictures or a headstone that says “born…died”.

    I found my voice in the “Beginners Writing” class. The “Descriptive Writing” class really made me more observant of the world I live in.

    But, still I didn’t know where to begin writing my life story. Did I begin at the beginning, the day I was born? What about beginning with today and writing backwards? Or I questioned should I begin someplace in the middle? There I was stuck in the mud and nothing was getting written. Finally, I took the Fiction writing course. Now, I know I’m not a good liar and besides Mom always taught if you tell one lie you have to tell another and before you know it you’ll be looking like Pinocchio.

    In the end I figured out where to begin writing our story. Plus, I learned how to outline the story without spending time writing it. Now to figure out how not to bend the truth to make it fit in the story structure.

    For 2010 I’m planning to take more writing courses. The Technical Writing course is high on my radar screen along with improving my Microsoft Office skills.

  • January 22, 2010 at 6:17 am
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    Wednesday I started my first online class for 2010. I am taking “Effective Business Writing.”

    First, I’m mixing pleasure with work. Something I used to think went together like oil and water. In our first lesson we were taught how to have fun while problem solving.

    I used the first technique taught in the class I’m in to help me decide where I’m heading in life and how I’m going to get there.

    Today I’m multi-tasking. I am going to turn my issues into a solution. Not only am I attacking my issues but solving problems for myself and others all at the same time.

    Back to my assignment.

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