Why are communication articles always in the business section of professional development websites?
Articles, blogs, and content about communication are everywhere. Every day, new content joins the mountain of existing material on the topic. Why are there none in the technology or software sections? Forbes, Inc.com, HBR, and others, regularly include content about workplace communication. All of it piled into the business sections of these websites.
Very few articles focus on the communication skill needs of IT professionals. Why is no one writing communication articles for IT professionals?
Communication is a ‘business’ topic
At the time of writing, Inc.com publishes 15+ articles a week on the topic. In addition, a quick search of Forbes.com returned 216,916 articles related to communication. Of course, some relate to news and current affairs but many are about how managers and leaders can improve communication skills. The few non-business articles are about technology that supports business communication.
Wired.com, a tech-focused website, returned 6424 results related to communication. Scattered amongst the news about quantum connectivity and microsatellites, are a few articles about communication. Articles like this one that helps you learn how to use Slack without annoying your co-workers. Surprisingly, even a site for tech people has nothing about developing communication skills. At least, not that I could find on the first 10 pages of results.
After 10 minutes of searching, I found zero articles targeted at IT professionals. OK, so maybe I should have looked for longer or tried different search terms. But in reality who is going to spend that long looking for advice? Most people barely even make it to page two of the Google results.
It isn’t hard to see that communication is labelled as a ‘business’ topic. Does this mean that IT professionals don’t need to focus on communication skills?
Communications is important to all jobs, not just business jobs
A study by LinkedIn shows communication to be the most important non-technical skill.
The study didn’t pick out business roles, or exclude technical positions. IT-professionals are just as likely to need communication skills as their business counterparts.
LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, has made numerous comments about communication. Specifically, about it being part of the largest skill gap. He didn’t say ‘It is only a gap for business people’. Nor did he say ‘This is important for everyone except IT professionals’. His comments were about all jobs.
Is this something we can solve?
What can we do about this gap? We know that communication is important. We also know there is a lack of content for IT professionals. That would imply the obvious answer is to start creating content to fill this gap.
But how do we do that? If it were easy, wouldn’t it have been done already?
As with most situations, it starts with raising awareness about the need. If IT professionals and IT leaders start asking for content, people will create it.
On top of this, content creators in the IT industry could create content for their own audiences. IT leaders who write in the public domain can create articles about the communication skill needs of the IT industry. They could write blog posts, or talk about it in podcast interviews. Tech conferences can include talks and training from communication experts. Research companies could investigate the specific communication needs of IT professionals. The list goes on, and on.
Do we want to fix this problem?
What it comes down to, for me at least, is do we want our technical teams to communicate well? If yes, we should start including communication content for IT professionals.
Above all, we must start creating the content that addresses this need. Not only creating it but putting it in places where IT professionals will see it. That means writing about communication in categories other than business, HR and marketing.
I’m starting with this article. What can you do to help close this gap?