I've been teaching for a long time now that I believe communication is the basis for everything we do in IT. However, communication is the one thing we ignore the most - both in practice and skill building. I dislike the term "soft skills" because "soft" implies easy or optional. The reality is that unless you communicate well with everyone in the organization, you lack the knowledge to solve problems and keep a project on track.
I ran across an interesting article this morning at computerworld.com about how one CIO does this :
Here are some quick tips:
1) Be intentional
You have to keep communication in mind and be thinking all the time, "Who needs to know this?" You also have to be thinking "What do I need to know?" and "Whom should I be speaking with today?"
2) Do not confuse e-mail and meetings with communication
These can be vehicles for communication, but they have flaws. E-mail fails to convey the tone of our communication and meetings can drift into discussions of many topics. Just pick up the phone or walk down the hall if you really want to touch base with someone.
Yes, practice how you say things. Learn the words that carry meaning and power. Learn how to control your body language and read the body language of others. Do you have a big presentation in your future? Do you have an important conversation with someone soon? Practice!
4) Read before sending
So you've written an e-mail, status report or some other piece of written communication. Take an extra 60 seconds and read back through it. Place yourself in the role of the people who will receive it. How would be feel if you were the recipient? Are there any obvious gaps, typos, or other mistakes? Testers get nailed on this because we are highlighting others' mistakes. People aren't perfect, but try to find mistakes the best you can.
A really good book on this subject is Naomi Karten's "Communication Gaps and How to Close Them".
I hope I have communicated my thoughts on this well! Your thoughts?
Have a great day.