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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Writing: The most important skill to learn.

Several years ago, when asking people what was the most important thing I should learn in college, one person told me business writing skills. I thought "Phooey" no one is going to care if I can write. They just want someone who is talented and smart. They don't care about business writing skills. I've since realized my error, and the truth in what they said.

Today, I'm amazed at the overall lack of people's ability to communicate. I understand not everyone is a brilliant writer, but to not be able to organize thoughts and punctuate them is baffling to me. Notice I did not mention spelling. Spelling is not a huge issue any longer thanks to spell checker. Besides that, I am a horrible speller without spell check. I do, however, make an attempt to at least proof read an email before clicking "send".

Not the case for everyone. This is an email I received yesterday. I know some of you are reaching for your red pens to make corrections, please don't since red is so hard to clean off your monitor and by the time you finish, you'd have a red film on almost every inch of your screen.

[edited to protect anonymity]

I [name] is a female trying self employment after lay off at [company 1] previously was known as [company 2]. Once [company 3] merged with [company 1] and had to many locations ours was closed. My severence pay ended Dec 15th not sure where else to go my bills are coming up over due and my credit cards almost over the limit very much destroying my credit and once that happens financial assistance is impossible. I'm in [industry a] and [industry b]. Im not quit noticed yet business hasn't got started in reputation. I am starting from scratch and need assistance funds to purchase a [equipment 1]. [equipment 2]. Im interested in a [equipment 3] do you know of any commercial accts in this area. I would appreciate anything you can assist with. I can't claim Unemployment because my association with my business there is no income being generated to pay bills. I have [training] thru colleges and management and leadership experience as well as education thru [organization]. Advertising on my truck and home office window is needed and any other stratedy to promote my business making it more noticable. A business memory desk top computer to assist in my book keeping etc. I hope you can assist me in my endeavors and dreams to assisting my community with my services thanks again for your time and efforts in this matter.. [individual's name] your friendly customer satisfaction and goal orientated professional.

That was the email, exactly how I received it - spelling, punctuation, paragraph breaks (or lack there of) and all.

Coincidentally the Wall Street Journal's Career site has just released this article titled, M.B.A. Recruiters' No. 1 Pet Peeve:Poor Writing and Speaking Skills. How appropriate.

Credit to Ben for the link