Sad to say we have many people in our workforce that were born and raised right here in the US that have less than acceptable written communication skills.
Many employers when interviewing take a candidate’s word to their ability when it comes to written communication skills instead of knowing what aptitude they indeed possess. Should an employee’s aptitude for written communication meet minimum standards in construction? Your response of yes or no on this topic will typically depend on your written communication aptitude. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on how important it is to your career and business.
What do we usually hear when we address a person in regards to their written performance:
English is my second language.
I have a learning disability (dyslexia most common).
Nobody has complained.
I am too old to learn now.
They didn’t teach me in school.
I prefer the phone or in person.
Justifications, Defenses… Excuses???
Typically, the only way people gradually take steps to improve their written communication skills are when it starts somehow to rear its ugly head. This usually comes with them accepting a position with a business savvy, professional employer where status quo or taking chances with risk management isn’t an option. Let’s face it; solid verbal and written correspondence combined is what keeps our projects moving, prevents and wins lawsuits and build relationships. Lack of written correspondence or misstated correspondence is a leading cause of losses or disadvantage over most other areas of evidence in a construction dispute. Verbally, it is your word against theirs, and another example of “Talk is Cheap”! Construction documentation is the industry’s “memory of what happened on a project and written correspondence, in general, is what confirms what you said versus what the receiving end heard.
What do you do if you have someone whose writing skills need improvement? How do you measure a person’s writing ability before you hire the next construction manager?
Grammarly is an app that you can purchase for $12 a month annually or $10 a month if you and two or more co-workers subscribe at the same time. You do need the paid subscription to have it catch the majority of your mistakes. Their motto is:
“Grammarly makes your writing better while making you a better writer.”
Many individuals do not know they are being overlooked for a promotion, losing their job to another or just not being as respected as they think they are in the workplace due to their weak or lack of communication, that is so vital to a relationship with others.
Too often someone is told their communication skills need improving and they automatically think it is referring to verbal only. In today’s technology and legal age, nine times out of ten, it is referring to written or lack of written communication. We hear too often someone just doesn’t respond to emails or provide written back-up, only to find out they avoid them due to their lack of technology and/or writing skills.
If this is you or someone you know, throw away the excuses. It is just like anything else. You can improve! It only takes determination and practice. I learned the notes and the keys on a piano as a child, but because I did not practice, I can’t play a song. It was my choice not to practice, and the consequence is I cannot play the piano or teach you to play. Fortunately, I have worked on my overall communication skills and now can use them to help you do the same.
Yes, it will take doing something to improve like using with Grammarly or finding someone to help critique you in this area.
If you don’t know what grasp of the English language you have, assess your starting point.
Did you accept that change-order or did you except that change-order? Big difference of yes or no.
Did you met to get better at writing or did you mean to get better at writing? We have shared the tools with you. It’s now your choice to choose to use them or not! We hope you pick the foremost one not the latter. Our industry depends on you!
“Yes, it will take doing something to improve like using with Grammarly or finding someone to help critique you in this area.”
This isn’t exactly good grammar either
I agree 100% with the statements made in the article this week. Too often, I find myself either having to decipher what someone wrote in a business email or in a so called contract for services and even in legal documents that I have received pertaining to business transactions. Verbally, there are times when I call a customer service line and there are communication barriers there too. It is very frustrating, especially when you are on a limited time basis and really need to get to the next task. The lack of communication skills in this and other industries is unacceptable and it is progressively getting worst. I understand and have compassion for people from other cultures, however diversity & cultures and gender differences seem to be becoming more of an excuse and a global issue rather than something people experience and learn from. As mentioned in your article, people need to take the initiative to improve their skills not only to acquire better employment, but for themselves and to represent their culture. Bad grammar and broken English are usually handed down like an old pair of jeans to a younger brother or sister. In essence, if they change that cycle and become the first in their family to learn proper written and verbal communication skills, coupled with grammar and spelling skills, this could be monumental. Their children will follow suit and all will start to improve, and in time we might resolve the communication issues. What I have found is that people want to do the least possible and gain the most for their half efforts and, well, in other words, most people who need these improvements are too lazy to put forth the effort necessary to obtain them. This means most likely we are stuck with the trending issues for now.