Spoke with Business Communication class (20 students?) last night. I was channeling Jack Black (School of Rock) with a splash of Robin Williams (the English/Vietnamese class in Good Morning Vietnam). Which is to say I knew I’d never be invited back. I almost always learn more from these little talks than the people I’m speaking to. And I’m usually surprised.
- only a couple of smartphones in the class, although everyone had a mobile
- very little engagement with social media. Maybe half the class had Facebook account; a few had heard of Twitter but weren’t sure what it was; only experience with YouTube was watching a video forwarded by email; no bloggers
- Only one hand went up when I asked who had read a book in the past year. This set me off on a short rant about reading and vocabulary and the obvious –to me– relationship to communication (business or otherwise)
I’m pretty sure this was their first encounter with the idea that social media might be an important part of business communication. When the subject of the iPad came up, the first question was “Can I run Word on the iPad?” followed by “How do we print?”
I was reminded how ingrained MS Word has become in our business culture. Most folks don’t know there are other word processors.
I responded to the print question with, “What do you want to print?”
“Uh, a report for this class?”
“Why not save it as a PDF and email it to the instructor?”
It was clear from the look on the instructor’s face this might not be an option.I suspect college business communication courses still involve a lot of paper. Maybe even mail merge (shudder).
My final transgression was telling them to watch Office Space, any season of The Office, and to read Scott Adam’s The Dilbert Principal. And forget everything else.