Communication is one of the cornerstones of expertise


After the hot summer, it’s nice to return to a district-cooled office. And after exchanging holiday gossip, most people wonder how they’re going to survive the flood of email that has accumulated during their vacation, and also how to manage their email on a day-to-day basis. How do you distinguish between messages that you need to respond to immediately and those that are already out of date and can be deleted right away?

Outlook has plenty of features that can help you manage your email. By selecting the right filters, you can automatically direct emails to different folders and speed up message handling. But above all, it’s important for senders to carefully consider whether email is the right way to handle the matter at hand, and whether their email is definitely addressed only to those people who need to respond. I would argue that the volume of email in every organisation could be significantly reduced if everyone considered the actual need to cc recipients, and also made use of other forms of electronic communication.

These days, experts need to work closely with their colleagues, customers and partners. Interpersonal skills are an important aspect of expertise, but organisations rarely have a shared vision of what skilful internal communication means. Communication via digital channels has increased considerably in recent years, and in order for communication via new media to become natural, it has to be practiced. Expertise is the skill to choose the right tool for communication in each situation. Skype instant messaging is an excellent option for handling quick questions. Messages in Teams discussions are stored by topic, and it’s easy to find the required documents. More informal discussions can be held in different social media.

During the Otava Group’s Star Player coaching in the early summer, we discussed how important it is to agree on shared practices for communicating with Office365 tools. These new tools will no doubt enable us to give up some old tools or practices. I personally think that, when we start using Office365 tools properly, email volumes will decrease significantly. It’s a good idea for everyone to participate in developing a set of rules.

Openness and common working methods will contribute to smooth communication, cohesion and commitment.

Communication always requires two parties, and both are responsible for ensuring that communication is both clear and smooth. Skilled communicators listen to others and read messages before replying to them. They make sure to communicate truthfully and in a timely manner. A skilled communicator is also polite in digital channels. It’s nice to reply to a colleague who starts an instant message with a cheerful greeting to check that you’re at your computer. It’s also nice when a colleague thanks you for your help. It should also go without saying that people no longer shout in their messages by writing in capital letters. I have accidentally sent slightly amusing instant messages when autocorrect has replaced certain character combinations with emojis. The text and emoji were rather conflicting. Luckily, the recipients have checked whether I was being purposefully ironic.

I’m happy to discuss and spar with you concerning user experiences of new communication tools, either face-to-face or virtually. So please feel free to contact me!

Mervi Korhonen

Publishing Manager, Sciences

Otava Learning

“I’m an education and publishing professional, and my goal as a manager is to enable people to succeed. Interesting tasks, great colleagues and permission for both personal and other development motivates me from year to year. Learning is my passion.”