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Monday, May 12, 2008

Have expectations for good writing skills gone out the window?

In today's article, Business forum: Get current to keep new hires interested, author Lynn Schleeter starts her article with the text messaging lingo:

"Wlcm 2the cmpny!!! :)"

She goes on to say that we'll need to send out messages like this to "connect to younger workers". However, I've been busy giving training lately to teach people that this is not appropriate business writing. I don't think that we can use this kind of lingo in one instance and then complain about a lack of written communication skills in the workplace.

One of the biggest challenges I've seen lately in developing future leaders is a lack of communication skills - written, oral and presentation skills. This is a theme that comes up time and time again in succession planning meetings. How do we improve these skills in our workers?

I think that we can connect to younger workers without making every instance of communication so informal that it sets a bad example. Sending a "Welcome to the Company" text message sounds like a great idea as long as that's what it actually says. We need to make sure that people understand that, "meet u 4 lunch," is not the way to make a great impression on your new supervisor - even if you're offering to buy.

I loved this article posted on the International Herald Tribune today. It takes this message to the extreme by writing the entire article in texting lingo. It may be extreme, but anyone who has had to explain that a Sr. Manager was not being cocky when writing to the CEO, because he used "IMHO" (in my humble opinion) before starting his rant about something the CEO said or did, knows how this kind of non-business writing can cause problems in the workplace.

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