Sunday, September 5, 2010

We Need to Improve our Written Communication Skills

Good Morning.

“And the beat goes on…………………….”

Corrections from last week's blog: 
I inadvertently misspelled Marc Vogl's name and offer my apologies.
Also I listed Justin Laing as Program Director, Arts & Culture, the Heinz Endowments instead of the correct title of Program Officer.  My apologies. 

Mastering the English Language:

What with email, text speak, twitter and the general demise of English language usage, increasingly it seems that basic writing skills continue to suffer. That’s a shame, because effective written communication remains a critical business necessity. I am sometimes appalled at how many people, not just in our field, but across all fields, can’t compose an effective letter, let alone draft proposals that are cogently and persuasively written.

This is another one of those essential skills that can be taught and learned, and yet there is never a focus on improving ourselves in this area as part of any professional development plan.  I have seen lots of courses and workshops on grantwriting, but never any on how to hone basic written skills. 

All too often people don’t even use spellcheck, and send out written works that are embarrassing to even a grammar school student. All of us, of course, are guilty of certain grammatical errors in our writing. The English language is not always the easiest language to properly master, and there are dozens of rules that elude us.

I have always had trouble remembering (or really knowing) when to use “who” and when to use “whom.”

I ran across this list of “24 Things You Might Be Saying Wrong” that is really instructive. It turns out the rule for “who” and “whom” is: “ It all depends. Do you need a subject or an object? A subject (who) is the actor of the sentence: "Who left the roller skates on the sidewalk?" An object (whom) is the acted-upon: "Whom are you calling?" Parents, hit the Mute button when Dora the Explorer shouts, "Who do we ask for help when we don't know which way to go?"

Check out the other 23 rules and see if you too have been making mistakes.

And do what you can to improve your written communication skills. It will make you a better manager.  And it will make you a more qualified and attractive candidate for future jobs. 

Have a great week.

Don’t Quit!