I complained recently about how STEM education doesn't acknowledge the importance of communication in its educational plans, although STEM curriculum often includes communication as a topic. I sometimes feel the same way about business schools. Some business schools get their students to take one workplace communication or public speaking class from the English or Communication Department , and then, supposedly, they are good to go.
I teach a workplace communication class, and when business students leave my class, they are ready to get started.
They are hungry for more information about their fields and how to do their jobs better. Writing and communication is part of that. I wish we did a better job of communicating this back to the business school because, if, after their workplace communication class, they had a course in leadership and management communication then some of the skills they developed might really stick. Have you taken or do you teach a course like this? I'd love to know the major topics that you cover and have a link to the course description.
So that's the bad news. I think the business schools that don't offer this kind of class need to create one. The good news is that I know a great textbook for it: Communication Strategies for Today's Managerial Leader by Deborah Britt Roebuck, Ph.D.
Dr. Roebuck contacted me months ago to see if she could use a blog entry that I wrote for SCORE as an example in a book she was writing. I wondered if she meant a good example or a bad example, but said yes anyway. I was really curious about the book itself. It came in the mail on Friday, and whew, I'm a good example.
Communication Strategies for Today's Managerial Leader (Business Expert Press, 2012) is considered a textbook, but perfect for the trade market, too. I like books written this way because they are typically more conversational than a textbook and priced better. This one, for instance is only $27 for the book and $19 for the ebook on Amazon.
This is a book that first-time managers definitely need and a fast reader could skim and dive through in on a couple of plane trips. I could see pairing it with my favorite how-to-be-a-manager book, The First-Time Manager by Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick, and Gary S. Topchik. An earlier edition of this book saved me early in my career. (Corporations should give new managers both of these books.)
Dr. Roebuck's book has a lot of features that students and new professionals would love:
- Profiles of managers
- Social media tips (a lot of communication books are slow to incorporate these practices)
- Day-to-day strategies for communicating
- Tips on how to read body language (with pictures!)
The book takes a practical approach that blends communication practices with working styles and organizational strategies. She addresses differences in generations, too. This book has profiles, examples, and checklists throughout.
I really like the tips on how to plan and hold meetings. I don't chair many meetings, but the few I do have tend to be long, so I plan to make a few changes.