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- To: seaoc(--nospam--at)power.net
- Subject: [SEAOC] RE: Thread on communication
- From: "Bill Sherman" <SHERMANWC(--nospam--at)cdm.com>
- Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 19:59:13 +0500
(message was delayed/ resent via power.net) Per previous discussion on the subject of communication: >I generally look for content... If you picture the person saying it with their voice, >the meaning is the same... I spell words the way I pronounce them and then run them >through the spell checker...I can design buildings to resist earthquakes and wind >storms, ask me to spell correctly and I'll fall flat on my face. >Though I recognize the need for correct spelling for certain situations, it's mostly >attorneys, insurance agents, and school teachers who are concerned with dotting i's >and crossing t's, few of which I have much regard for. IMHO it is this type of attitude that causes others to look down on engineers. When engineers act as if spelling and grammar are unimportant, it implies that "numbers" are more important than words, i.e. communication with other people. If your responsibilities relate primarily to number crunching and verbal communication, then correct spelling and grammar are not so important. But if you write specifications, reports, and client correspondence, then these items are very important. While everyone makes occasional mistakes, if a client sees too many language errors it may be concluded that the writer is less skilled, and favor will be given to others with better presentation skills (even if the writer may have adequate technical qualifications) - are you willing to lose work because of this? Poor spelling implies laziness. And errors in technical documents can change the intent or leave the meaning up to interpretation - and potential litigation. Good communication includes anything which enhances clear understanding - poor spelling or grammar confuse the reader's understanding and thus they represent poor communication. You may not like attorneys, but they generally only get involved once there is a misunderstanding due to communication problems - it's not their fault that a report or specification is not clearly written. (And teachers are only trying to help students learn to communicate properly.) We should accept responsibility for our own errors and not blame other professions. Overall, a well written document shows the reader that you have their interests in mind - not just your own interests. ...
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