Opinion

Writing Needs Transformation: An Intellectual Skill For Communication, Not Just Exams

Nitin Nayyar
Writing Needs Transformation: An Intellectual Skill For Communication, Not Just Exams

A turning point: School education to professional school

A life-changing transition happens, the student leaves a school and enters a professional education, that every student has to go through. Also, this is a stage where most of the students broadly decide about where their core interest lies i.e. medical, technical, educational or general graduation in any stream based on the subject they have chosen after passing Xth standard. Broadly, categorizing they have three streams to choose from i.e. Science, Commerce & Arts. Once they have chosen science stream, they have the option to choose either medical stream i.e. with Biology as major or non-medical stream i.e. with Mathematics as major. Whatever may be their choice, they mostly follow further professional career based on these broad categories. Accordingly, they develop their skills and interest irrespective of the industry they join.

The school develops intellectual artillery

Students & their parents generally are unaware or ignore the fact that fundamental skills of reading, critically analyzing content and writing about various subjects and themes are actually the soul of any profession, whether they become a doctor, nurse, engineer, or a marketer, or a lawyer. Every profession requires a methodical development and design of documents. Students when become professionals need to communicate with stakeholders through their content in the form of emails, letters, reports, presentations, descriptions, databases, articles, press-release or at least a well-crafted resume for themselves.

Intellectual artillery skills i.e. writing, reading and critically analyzing content are rarely taught utilizing a scientifically-proven methodical approach, even in professional courses. These are never given the desired emphasis and no special subject exists in most of the professional courses. However, every student when enters professional career is expected to make reports, presentations, promotional articles, create official mails, explain products, including write for website or services in the digital world, design and develop content for technical product brochures and services related customer delight stories, research reports, marketing case studies, promotional stories and interview drafts etc.

All these skills are expected from the day-one in any job-role offered by any corporate, industry, or government authority without exception. It is well-said that “Most frequently produced product by any professional in any industry is a “document” that communicates.” However, no industry, course or training exists that facilitates students to get prepared and updated in these skills of writing for their chosen subject without which all other skills never bring the desired impact.

Seeds of intellectual artillery skills like reading long hours, writing assignments, making notes, critically analyzing text are mostly done at the school level. Once in a professional degree college, an engineer will learn technical details of machines, theories, algorithms and their basic application from the exam point-of-view, a medical student may write a good description of diseases or physiology which is good enough to pass the exam but could not develop a real-time clinical note or case study for the patient while practising medicine in a hospital. Also, when it comes to writing health policy document, a standard operating procedure for a hospital or a marketing activity plan for a medical product, develop a presentation on a treatment, create a promotional leaflet of technical features or engineering services, prepare an educational lecture for an engineering team or a patient, students are never introduced or taught formally how to do these tasks which the industry will ask them to perform.

Communication skills are not just about English speaking

When it comes to learning communication skills, English speaking is at the core and that also includes personality development. This is because students, as well as parents, assume, if an individual can speak English well, he or she must be able to write and convey professional messages well, as well. However, communication is not just about English speaking, it also includes professionally writing about your subject, what you want to exactly convey to the person you are communicating with i.e. writing case of your patient, writing an email to your team members, developing a brochure for your customer, developing a case report for a magazine or a newspaper on your subject, writing an educational booklet for new technology, press release for media houses or letter to authorities or vendors. These are all frequent and daily-routine tasks that every company, corporate, NGO or authority will expect from the professionals, irrespective of size and type of industry i.e. medicine, commerce, engineering, law, marketing.

Writing is the only skill that creates a person’s personal brand by introducing the reader with his unique thought process. The never-to-be-automated skill of writing can differentiate a professional as a brand in their area of expertise. Also, writing differentiates an intellectual professional from the mechanical one who can just perform a task but cannot explain or educate others so that others can replicate what is done, which is actually required in any industry. Writing professionally and methodically is a skill that prepares a professional in increasing their visibility in the industry, gaining authority in their subject of interest and enhancing credibility among their desired target market for eg. patients for doctors, customers for marketers etc.

Only intellectual or professionally sound subject expert can express their opinions and understanding of their chosen area of interest in a uniquely engaging manner. They know the art of weaving words so systematically and smartly that a single subject, they can easily communicate to a variety of readers. They can explain technicality without complexity. They can use their skills of choosing words, with so much of ease that a common man can understand what is cancer in “medical terms” and what is “resistance” in engineering terms. An intellectual medical professional can easily develop educational material for a patient to explain how to take precautions to prevent infection and they can also teach nurses in medical terms what precautions are clinically relevant to be used during critical care.

Make them write not just an exam, but what industry expects them to write

Students get their engineering degree or a medical school tag, but rarely write their original thoughts, opinions and concepts which they have developed during learning and never come up at any published platform to share those like magazines, newspapers, blogs, videos or research case-studies. They are also not fully prepared on how to communicate through writing, with professionals once they join the industry. However, many professionals, who are not even well aware of the subject but are good at communicating complex subjects with ease and know how to interact with professionals through written documents become well-known in their chosen community of experts, through their art of using words.

Writing for industry: Need for short-term niche certification courses

Education industry needs to contemplate upon what should be our priority i.e. to prepare students to write for academic examinations or to communicate effectively through their words to flourish in their chosen industry?

We have an option to develop and deliver niche courses on professional content writing like for medical science, writing for marketing or about legal writing from the school time to bring their interest in expressing their views on their subject of interest or area where they want to excel in their profession once they enter the industry. So that we may prepare them in becoming better visible, more credible and authority speaker on the area of their expertise with industry.

Author:  Nitin Nayyar

 Director, Medical Intellect, THY GALEN Medical Media IEC Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi

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