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SLP Skills Saturday: Professional Communication in Speech Pathology

10 January 2015

No matter if you are a student, clinician or researcher in speech-language pathology or audiology the ability to communicate professionally is one skill you should have. It is increasingly important with all our abbreviations and text-speech that we remain professional when communicating with others. Here's a quick why, when and how "cheat sheet":



Why

The main reason is the fact that you want to show respect to others. You want to illustrate that you hold them in a high regard and acknowledge anything that they have accomplished (such as obtaining a doctorate degree). Besides showing others respect, you want to create a sense of respect for yourself and your occupation by communicating to others effectively so that those you are corresponding with also show you the same. We are about language and communication after all! 

This segues into another reason-- networking. You want to remain professional and emit respect to others as you never know who is in their network. It also demonstrates that you hold others in a high regard, which will help build your rapport, not only with other professionals but clients as well. All of these people can build your clientele or provide you with job opportunities. 

Lastly, you need this skill so that you can fill out paperwork (or even e-mails) in an efficient manner. Those reading your correspondences most likely have busy schedules and don't want to read a 2-page long e-mail. You need to be concise in what you say while transmitting your main points. 

When

This section is fairly simple. You want to remain professional whenever you are talking to:
- (Potential) Clients
-Coworkers, Supervisors
-Professors (even if they are not in your major)
-Potential referrals/ collaborations

How

-Use proper forms of address: Begin with "Dear" followed by the appropriate form (Mr., Mrs, Dr...) with the person's last name.
-Conciseness in the body: Mention who you are, your title and where you work/study or who referred you. Then give a brief description or summary of why you are writing. Follow up with what you are inquiring about. In the next line/paragraph you'll want to thank the person for his/her time.
- Signature: Sign off with "Regards," or "Sincerely," followed by your name and title on the next line.
-When writing: Do not use abbreviations ('ASAP', 'Carlow/ UCLA') or text speech (eg. 'brb' , 'u'). There are some exceptions to the 'no abbreviations' part, such as if it is with an assessment or test you used with a client, but the person you are talking with must know what the abbreviation means. When discussing organizations or similar items (like 'Carlow University') you generally don't want to use an abbreviation (like 'Carlow') when taking to others, even if they are from the area and know what it refers to as it lacks a sense of professionalism.
-Always proof-read!


Do you have any tips for professional communication? Comment below!