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Re: [SEAOC] RE: Thread on communication

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>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 
>Overall, a well written document shows the reader that you have their 
>interests in mind - not just your own interests.   
Hi Sherm,

I read your comments today about communication.  I't seems like we are in
pretty much agreement on most things.  I never put down the need for proper
spelling on any important or public documents, you made that up yourself.  I
think and know from experience it is very important.  This thread of
conversations originally started with someone putting down some email
correspondence from someone in another country, Norway I believe.  Obviously
there english and grammar is not as good as ours but picture yourself trying
to communicate with them in their language.  I saw no reason to put someone
down because of poor spelling.  I understood what he was saying, even though
words were mispelled.  My comments were more aimed at whether it is
something to worry about in these informal email conversations.  I don't
have spell checking on my mail program and am not going to waste my time,
$2/min. is what I charge, to worry about whether I add an extra e to a word
or whatever, we are exchanging ideas in this list server, not producing
legal documents.

I fail to see how this attitude degrades engineers.


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