THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ELOQUENT: I'm sure we've all had a class whose subject matter is incredibly interesting, but whose professor is not a particularly great communicator. At some universities (*cough cough*) it's partially due to the fact that many of the professors don't want to be teaching -- they want to be researching, getting grants, and publishing papers. Sometimes the professor just doesn't speak English well, or isn't a very fluid speaker. Sometimes I just sit in class and mentally pound my head against the desk thinking, you know so many things that I want to know, tell me them right now! Some of the professors at UCLA are quite brilliant in their fields, but I sit in class and everything just washes over me because they can't articulate it in an understandable way. It's maddening because I want to know everything and they seem to be incapable of telling me.
Another situation we're all probably familiar with is trying to make conversation with that girl that sits next to you in class. I've written a story about Flirtation, and how difficult it can be at times. Usually it ends up with me feeling like a babbling idiot (today, for instance). Words just keep pouring out of my mouth in broken phrases and endless run-on sentences, and when I look back I can't even figure out what the heck I said. Mostly nonsense, I'm certain. I have no problem talking in front of hundreds of people, but sit me down next to a cute girl and my mind just goes totally blank. It's like I have nothing to say, but I have to talk anyway. I like to think that I'm moderately eloquent (or at least coherent), but this afternoon I felt like a total doofus.
In the various jobs that I've had over my life, I have learned that the key to advancement and achievment is speaking and writing with clarity. Sure, it's important to know your stuff and meet your deadlines, but it's equally important to write clear reports and to explain yourself and your knowledge with words. I'm an engineer, and I work with many non-native English speakers and with many people who are far better with numbers than with words, and the fact that I can speak and write precisely has been a great advantage for me. I suspect that in any field, particularly those that are not writing-intensive (as law is, for example), strong language skills can be useful for setting yourself above and apart from your co-workers. In fact, once you reach a certain point in your career language skills can be more important than technical skills simply due to the requirements of management and administration.
It doesn't matter what you know if you can't share with other people.