What's the most important business skill?
Many possible answers, of course.
In 1968 I earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Something I noted among my engineering classmates was that many of them could hardly write a complete sentence, let alone convey an idea in writing, though they might be skilled in math, science, etc..
At that time the engineering curriculum focused almost entirely on scientific and technical studies. The "soft science courses for engineers" were watered down from those for humanities students. I hope that's all come into better balance.
During my growing-up years, I had the advantage of living in a family where writing and speaking skills were highly valued. I did well in English and foreign language studies in high school. With that background, I had a big advantage over many of my engineering school colleagues in communication ability.
Marcel Schwantes, a coach and consultant who writes regularly for Inc. magazine, writes here about a young entrepreneur who was lucky enough to be chosen to chat briefly with Warren Buffet, one on one.
What a unique opportunity for a twenty-something starting out in business! Michael Hood made the most of it with this question:
So, you are talking to people that are 21, 22, just graduating school. What is one tip that you can give them?
Buffet's answer, paraphrased:
Learn to communicate - verbally and in writing!
Just think! Suppose you have a great idea or skill valuable to your business or to society, and can't explain, teach, or communicate it.
The best you can do with it is to advance and develop the idea or use the skill to do something by yourself. The results can be very beneficial, but are limited to what you can do unassisted.
A wonderful things about human beings is the ability we have to multiply our results through cooperative effort - forming teams which can accomplish much more than the sum of what the team members could accomplish individually.
This multiplied result can occur only if the idea or skill can be communicated to, and among, the team members. Writing and speaking skills are essential to make that happen.
Those who communicate best, if they also have positive attitudes, usually become the leaders who assemble and support the teams who move us all toward new and better things in life.
Read on, and enjoy! I hope 2019 is off to a great start for you.
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