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:
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!