Introduction to Professional Communication

1 Why am I Reading this Book?

If you’re reading this sentence, chances are you’re not going to be a communications major (but that’s an excellent and growing field of study and it’s a great option if you’re interested). In all likelihood, you’re an undergraduate student looking at a different field of study, such as computer information systems, accounting, nursing, social work, or some other field where communication is an essential skill, even if not the focus of your program.

Educational programs are made by experts in various fields of study. Those experts are convinced that communication skills are essential to the learning in your program. That’s the real reason you’re reading this book: communication is arguably the most important skill in today’s professional workplace, regardless of your occupation.

Students studying criminal justice are often surprised to learn that police officers spend as much as one-third of their time writing reports. Anybody who has ever worked as a server at a restaurant will tell you that better communication with guests means better tips. Being a doctor is more than memorizing every body part, every disease, and every drug ever known; diagnosis and treatment depend heavily on listening to patients and communicating with them clearly. Their lives depend on it. The same can be true in many other communications contexts.

Every year, Forbes Magazine publishes a list of the top skills employers look for when recruiting candidates. This list changes a little bit every year, but one pattern is consistent: employers want good communicators. Their list for 2021 includes 10 skills, at least half of which are clearly communication skills: thriving in a virtual environment, coping with ambiguity, the ability to coach (be that for peers, subordinates, or customers), problem solving through critical thinking, and adaptability (Forbes, 2020). On other similar lists, writing skills and public speaking skills are often featured prominently.

Professional Writing Today: A Functional Approach is designed to improve your communication skills, specifically in written communications, which you will need to succeed in your future career, whatever that may be.

Perhaps more importantly, the skills taught in this book will help readers earn future promotions in their careers. The person promoted to manage a team of accountants is probably not the best accountant and the person promoted to manage a team of computer programmers is not the best programmer; they’re the best communicator. That’s the skill that is absolutely essential for moving from entry-level jobs into management.


Forbes Expert Panel. (2020). The top 10 skills recruiters are looking for in 2021. Forbes Magazine.


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