Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Soft Skills - Part 1

Having worked for some time in software industry now I can say you need to have good soft skills to survive in the industry and to move up. BTW, if you wonder what they are,

a) Writing Emails
b) Search

In the first place you might think writing emails looks very easy but one need to remember that everything and anything happens over emails in software world, my colleague might be sitting next to my cube, but still I would be mailing him. And most customers and users interaction with the development unit happens through emails, you name it and we do it through emails. When I got my first job and during the initial training/deputation period I asked my mentor on how will I get work, he told me it would be through emails, at that time I laughed and thought, then I won’t have much work to do, but realized it was wrong with experience.

Also the number of emails you get is really proportionate to the number of years you are in service with that company, if you get more than 30 mails everyday then you must be serving that company roughly for 2-4 years, more years leads to more mails. Coming back to writing emails, first you must spend a lot of time in reading the mails you receive, you can take for granted that 15% of time everyday would be spent on reading them and almost same or more would be on writing replies to them. In my previous company (which was a very big MNC in US/India) reading mails and replying them were part of my and everybody`s productivity time, then you can really imagine what all of us were actually doing there.

Writing mails is more like art; of course we get lots and lots of tips/inputs on how to write a better email, 90% of the email population reads it not to follow it, so you get all types of emails and need to reply in all possible ways, but still your manager will never be satisfied with your communication skills. If you are working for some multinational company where you need to exchange mails with counterparts in other countries then all the more burden, its possible that you need to digest anything from the other end, but need to make sure you write the best and perfect reply as the odds are at stake at our end according to management.

The best mails are always written short and simple, sometimes people get it wrong that writing very long emails means showing their smartness and knowledge, but the truth is the reader presses the delete even before crossing the 3rd line.

All this had made me to realize how important the “writing a letter” classes at the elementary school level I missed, after all everything works fine if you have a perfect foundation.

oops this is really great

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