Please don’t communicate like this in business.

Today’s editorial was originally released on Nov 20, 2007. It is being republished as Steve is at DevConnections.


The sysop added an HDD and did a RAID rebuild OTF. AFAIK, the Vol with the MDFs got wiped for the CRM that runs 24/7.


Can you imagine someone talking to you like that. I mean actually speaking with “words” like “T-T-Y-L?”

I saw this article about how most people are speaking English in business today, but with the globalization of many companies, it’s easy to not only mis-communicate, but also offend. And that can be a big problem with not only co-workers, but also customers.

Whether we standardize on English or some other communication, I hope that we continue to keep the skills of our language alive. The new generation of workers, working in shorthands and their own slang, seem to be losing out on the ability to effectively communicate with others. Too often they want to bang something out on a keyboard rather than talking directly to someone.

I’m sure I sound like an old man, lamenting the good old days of paper, ink, and phones without voicemail. However it’s not the shorthand or slang that bothers me as much as the lack of the ability to clearly articulate themselves that plagues many people in the IT world. When I started in this business, it was always an issue communicating because things were so highly technical and few people understood how computers worked. The geeks that could truly make a computer sing had trouble communicating with business users.

I think the same thing is true today with communication, despite the advances in making computer interations simpler, greater familiarity, and a comfort level with technology by many business users. For every step we’ve made in computing becoming more accepted by users in all aspects of society, we’ve gotten worse in our overall communication skills with acronym and shorthand overload. I almost shudder to think of the text-messaging generation entering the workforce.

Technical jargon is important. It helps us quickly, clearly, and easily communicate with other IT workers with very specific meanings, but it’s not the way that we should communicate with those outside of IT. Even if you are never any type of analyst, designer, architect, it pays to be able to clearly and effectively communicate your ideas, thoughts, and concerns to others.

Save the shorthand and slang for those times when it’s appropriate and be sure that you can communicate using clear and generally accepted English (or your native language) with everyone else you encounter in your career.

Steve Jones

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