You’re Not in College Anymore… So Stop Communicating Like You Are.

This post was written by Jacob Ward, Managing Director and Co-Founder of The Latimer Group’s NextGen Services.

When we learned to write in school, I’m guessing that many of you received the same sort of instruction that I did. Often, we were asked to hit a length target. “Fill up the page,” or “It must be six pages, double spaced.” And so on. Length was the number one focus of most of my teachers. If your paper was too short, no matter how well written, you had not completed the assignment.

In the business world, we have the opposite standard. Being verbose almost always leads to feedback like “I don’t have enough time to read all that.

At The Latimer Group, we speak often of the five ingredients of great communication, one of which is brevity. And nearly all of us need the nearly constant reminder to cut back on our word count, and distill our message as succinctly as possible.

Good business leaders are always thinking about strengthening their organization, by investing in their people. And the best organizations realize that one of the best investments they can make is in their newest employees, helping them build the necessary skills early in their career.

So, leaders, as you think about your newer colleagues, fresh out of college, don’t forget that nearly everything they have ever written in their life has been judged on its length. I am writing from experience. When I was in school, (not all that long ago, but feeling further and further away all the time), I would avoid using contractions to get that extra word on the page. I would go to great lengths to create more volume. All of my peers did.

Leaders need their early-career professionals to learn these lessons right away. If they don’t, their organization and its next generation will suffer.

And you young professionals, you also need to learn these lessons right away. If you don’t, you and your great ideas will not be heard. In order to be heard, we must adopt the communication skills of the business world, writing succinctly, often in bullets, and often avoiding full sentences entirely. This is the language that your colleagues and clients will understand.

Writing skills and content expectations are different for those new to the workforce. Onboarding and early-career training programs can and should reflect that.

Good luck, and have a great day.

Business leaders, if you want to invest in your new hires, The Latimer Group’s NextGen Services can help. Young professionals, if you want to invest in yourselves, we can help you too.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

We transform teams and individuals with repeatable toolsets for persuasive communication.
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Jacob Ward

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.