Home > Articles > Business & Management

Communication Tips for Technology Professionals

Technology professionals who are serious about seeing their career elevate beyond the level of bits and bytes will go above and beyond what their peers choose not to do. Noted author and technical futurist Leo Wrobel explains why verbal and written communication skills are key to not only keeping a job but climbing the corporate ladder.
Like this article? We recommend

Your training and effort has paid off. You have hired into that first professional position or secured that first big promotion into management. You are now in a place where, as my dearly departed father used to say, you now get paid for what you know and not for what you do. Pat yourself on the back and take a bow. Not everyone makes it, and these days it is tougher than ever. So now what? Well, for starters, it’s back to school again on what will now be the most important focus: communication.

Back in your college or tech school days, classes in management, math, science, and information technology probably occupied most of your time. Perhaps these classes were even easy for you. After all, you did gravitate into your present technical position didn’t you? It is likely that you did so because you had an aptitude for it, because you were good at it, and because you enjoyed doing it. These facilitators helped you get hired into the business world and into a technical position where all your hard work as well as your educational years translated into a paycheck. So far so good, right? Then you entered management, and it’s not all about technology any more.

Verbal and written communication is now the most critically important skill to master in your new role. Stated another way, what does it matter what you know if you can’t illustrate it in writing or the spoken word to your superiors, subordinates, and peers in the workplace?

What Companies Want

Technology professionals who aspire one day to stop writing code, swapping circuit boards, or administering networks need to develop the skills that allow them to effectively communicate with others. In fact, according to one friend of mine who has worked for years in management hiring, potential employers consider communications—not technical prowess—highest on the list when recruiting. When major corporations call on executive recruiters to recruit technology a professional for their organizations, the recruiter is called upon is to help the company to identify candidates with not only technical skills but also exceptionally strong verbal and written communication skills.

Technical skills alone, relatively speaking, are not that difficult to find. In fact, chances are that potential technical employees in places like India, China, and Korea are ahead of you at least in terms of the “hard” sciences and skills. Exceptionally strong verbal and written communication skills, however, must be developed and refined, and these skills are actually rarer. According to my friend, his search for the “right” talent is multiplied in complexity due to the need for effective communication skills. Because companies place such value on such skills, a superior competency in this area can be used to differentiate you from the pack and advance your career.

Improving Verbal Communication

While you concentrated on math, science, and computer related classes in college, odds are that nobody told you to also give your best effort in a speech or debate class.

Why is verbal communication so important? The answer should be apparent: Technology professionals who wish to progress to team leadership and managerial roles will eventually expend much more effort interacting with their team as well as business owners across the corporation. They spend far more time in meetings and other verbal communication settings than they’ll invest into working with bits and bytes. Consider project-funding requests, for example.

In many IT departments today, the ability to get funding for a proposed project is largely dependent upon a technology professional’s ability to present the business value behind a technology project in a group setting. This skill set encompasses more than classy PowerPoint slides. The decision-makers in finance or upper management (often one in the same) must believe you. You must be credible. Failure to properly communicate in a group setting where your audience is generally made up of higher level managers and executives will frequently result in a lack of funding.

We’ve all been there. Therefore, make sure you are knowledgeable about the subject you are getting ready to present. Research your facts; practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. When you go to make your presentation, let go of yourself and concentrate on your audience. Anticipate their concerns as well as their questions. Go into the meeting primed and ready for success.

Setting aside my wisecrack about karaoke bars, serious technology professionals who wish to overcome a fear of public speaking might consider joining a local Toastmasters International chapter. These chapters are available across the country and meet on different days at different locations. Chapters exist to help members to improve communication and leadership skills and build self-confidence.

“Shocked, Appalled, and Dismayed!”: Improving Written Communication

Whether you think about it or not, you communicate in writing every day. Don’t underestimate even trivial things, like email. Every time you send an email or a corporate memo, you’re sending out impressions of who you are, what you do, and how you do what you do. Moreover, you are sending each missive in a traceable written form. Be serious, even in emails.

And for God’s sake, if you are indeed serious about your professional imprint, leave the texting and social media home unless it is directly germane to the audience. I don’t mean never send a text message, but reserve such informal communication to close in day-to-day tasks, preferably with peers—not superiors or subordinates. Remember, anything that goes out to a broad audience is actually an advertisement for you. Written communication of any kind can be a first impression that can’t be taken back.

Technology professionals who need to improve their written communication skills might consider taking a college level business writing class or two. For example, I took a class in business correspondence during graduate school. For our first assignment, we were given 20 minutes to write the following letter in class:

  • Imagine you work for an outfit called Company A. Company A has 250 employees and does $25 million in business each year. Because Company A is a family-owned business, you know the CEO personally. You also know the Company A CEO’s best friend, who is the CEO of another firm, Company B. The two golf together, dine together, and are inseparable friends. Company B is a critical business partner with Company A. Here is your problem:
  • Company B is 90 days late on a multimillion obligation to your company. It is rumored that Company B is in serious financial trouble. If Company B declares bankruptcy, it would be ruinous on your firm, perhaps so much as even dragging Company A into bankruptcy with Company B.
  • Your assignment is to write a letter to Company B that (a) tactfully seeks information as to the multimillion dollar obligation, (b) respects the sensitivity of a person whom you know is a close friend of your CEO, (c) does not offend your own CEO by virtue of the letter being sent, but which most importantly (d) alleviates the financial risk to Company A and gets your company’s money.

Try this assignment for yourself. The letter you write will give you an appreciation of why your boss earns the big bucks. He or she can probably write such a letter effectively, indicating that they can handle thorny and multi-faceted problems. I have actually used this same exercise as part of the interview process, in order to gauge the writing and thought processes of a management candidate.


Executive recruiters confirm it. The biggest difference between candidates who are limited to “C level” jobs and those who receive the choicest offers is the quality of verbal and written communication skills. Isn’t this fact alone worth the cost of a refresher college class or joining a professional speaker’s organization? Isn’t it worth it to elevate your career, compensation and future? We would be shocked, appalled, and dismayed if you believed otherwise.

Seek out opportunities to speak before groups. Do the scripture readings at church or synagogue. Go sing at a karaoke bar if it helps! But also get used to getting up in front of people and presenting compelling arguments that support your position or establish a proposition. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

Technology professionals frequently fail to understand the significant impact of written communication. When sending an email to their boss, for example, they fail to take the time to write in complete sentences or to even check spelling and grammar. You will not lose your job for such sloppiness, of course, but neither will you be considered promotion material. Whenever you send an email, make sure it articulates a cogent point. Be sure that the message you send presents a business case or clearly establishes your proposition. When addressing a superior in an email, it is almost always better to err toward the formal rather than the casual and informal.

Yes, it’s that important!

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020