A personal differentiator

After more than four decades of being an engineer, Herb Flink is retiring. Flink spent 37 of those years with Parker Fluid Control Division in New Britain, CT, most recently as its customer support engineering manager. On March 1, 2007, he will leave the company that provided many opportunities to indulge numerous areas of interest, including customer support, problem solving, and training for ...

02/01/2007


After more than four decades of being an engineer, Herb Flink is retiring. Flink spent 37 of those years with Parker Fluid Control Division in New Britain, CT, most recently as its customer support engineering manager. On March 1, 2007, he will leave the company that provided many opportunities to indulge numerous areas of interest, including customer support, problem solving, and training for new engineers. It's that latter topic that has him hooked.

“Today's engineers are measured by how well they link technical expertise with effective communication skills.” says Flink. “It is vital to take the time and do whatever is necessary to make yourself understood. In fact, it is your responsibility as an engineer to make sure the other party understands your explanations.”

Flink believes excellent communication skills are not only an asset, but a differentiator. “Strong oral and written communication skills can improve job performance, enhance work relationships and help overcome obstacles,” he says.

Flink recommends implementing a long-term plan of assessment and improvement in a number of areas. Some of these include active listening, verbal and written communications, team communications, customer communications, negotiation, and conflict resolution. “You can systematically categorize these areas and then rate your skills,” he says. “Next, I urge you to interview your friends, co-workers, peers, supervisors, managers, and even long-standing good customers with whom you have developed a good relationship. Ask them for an honest assessment of your skills, and then construct a plan to improve your weakest areas.”

As daunting as this task might be, “press on,” urges Flink. “It is important to remember that you have already mastered your technical skills; it is your communication skills that you are considering here.” Based on the training Flink has done on the subject, he's put together a whitepaper with specific advice and encouragement for both new and seasoned engineers. It's available in the Resource Center section of www.controleng.com .

Another engineer that has spent many years honing his communication skills has found a new outlet for them. Former Control Engineering Senior Editor Frank Bartos, P.E., has a new quarterly column in our pages. “Advancing Technology” debuts this month (on page 20) and will cover new and emerging technology for automation and control. Let it be an oasis of technical calm as you ride the waves of interpersonal communications.

renee.robbins@reedbusiness.com

Online Extra
Read Herb Flink’s whitepaper, “ Communications Skills 101 .”





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Sensor-to-cloud interoperability; PID and digital control efficiency; Alarm management system design; Automotive industry advances
Make Big Data and Industrial Internet of Things work for you, 2017 Engineers' Choice Finalists, Avoid control design pitfalls, Managing IIoT processes
Engineering Leaders Under 40; System integration improving packaging operation; Process sensing; PID velocity; Cybersecurity and functional safety
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
click me