Subscribers to the Harvard Business Review rated “the ability to communicate” the most important factor in making an executive “promotable,” more important than ambition, education, and capacity for hard work.
One 20-year study that followed the progress of Stanford University MBAs revealed that the most successful graduates shared personality traits that distinguish good communicators: a desire to persuade, an interest in talking and working with other people, and an outgoing, ascendant personality.
William Schaffer, Sun Microsystems, made the point emphatically: “If there’s one skill that’s required for success in this industry, it’s communication skill.” Other high-tech experts back up this claim. Over 90% of the personnel officials at 500 US businesses stated that increased communication skills are needed for success in the 21st century.
One study, published in Business Outlook, based on responses from over 1000 employers at Fortune 1000 companies found that workers send and receive an average of 1798 messages each day via telephone, email, faxes, papers, and face-to-face communications. Some experts have estimated that the average business executive spends 75 to 80 percent of the time communicating, about 45 minutes of every hour.