Advice from the EMProfessor

Most Important Skill You Need for Science & Engineering

The most important skill you need to find success in science and engineering is — effective communication.

I have seen many bad scientists and engineers climb the corporate ladder when they are good communicators, but I have rarely witnessed bad communicators rise the ladder regardless how strong their technical skills are.

Perhaps it is unfortunate for the greater good of humanity, but I have to rank communication skills as more important for career success than anything else.

Communicating effectively takes practice and much can be learned by observing good communicators. Good communicators put a lot of effort into organizing their information. They invent new ways to explain and visualize complicated concepts. Good communicators use simple language and simple but high-quality graphics. It is common for good communicators to spend more time on their graphics than they do on their words.

To become a good communicator, sharpen your computer skills for desktop publishing and generating graphics. Practice public speaking. Strive to make everything you produce professional, polished, and consistent. Make your documents and presentations fun and memorable, while still being professional.