I have always emphasised listening as the single most important skill for engineers to develop. It’s easy too. It’s not the same as hearing. So I was happy to come across this podcast on listening from Australia’s ABC. It’s entertaining and thought-provoking. If you want to improve your listening skills, look for an ABC podcast with a transcript. Listen to the podcast (at full speed, for just 5 minutes or so), then prepare your notes, and then compare your notes with the transcript to find how much you missed. For more see “Learning Engineering Practice”. Or buy the book “People Skills” by Robert Bolton.
Illustration Credit: Saeed Karimi at unsplash.com
On repeated occasions, surveys in Australia and elsewhere report business leaders complaining about graduates without appropriate skills.
Recently I wrote about one factor that could explain this: the implicit privileging of writing about all other forms of communication throughout our education system. Graduates, therefore, tend to have weak skills in listening, seeing and reading, even drawing and visual communication, all of which are critical for engineering and most other professions.
This helps to explain why the reputation of graduates is so low, particularly in the minds of business employers. And it is not just engineers, apparently, that are said to have terrible communication skills.
My research on engineers provides some novel answers that lie deep within the structure of our education systems. There are some other factors that have emerged from this research affecting not just engineers, but all graduates.
In this post I will describe the second of these factors: the implicit relegation of collaboration. Continue reading
On repeated occasions, surveys in Australia and other countries report that business leaders complain about graduates without appropriate skills. It is not just surveys that tell this story.
Not so long ago, a well-known Australian university decided to promote itself by seeking local business leaders to extol the benefits of their experiences at the university. Well, it turned out that most had actually dropped out of their courses and never finished their degrees! So the campaign was quietly abandoned.
Why is the reputation of graduates so low in business circles, particularly in the minds of business employers? It is not just engineers, apparently, that have terrible communication skills.