I’ve always wanted to be a better communicator…
To cruise a room and captivate people with my charm and wit.
Unfortunately, I’m far more comfortable sitting in my underwear behind a laptop than being utterly hilarious in a group encounter.
Well, these books might just change that Goddamit.
If you routinely trip over your own tongue when getting coffee, check out these recommendations.
The Best Books on Communication
1. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Crucial Conversations is a book about how to have effective dialogue when the stakes are high.
It focuses on how to handle difficult conversations by using specific tools and techniques.
The book also has stories from real-life examples to help illustrate the points being made.
The first chapter of the book is about defining crucial conversations and what they are.
Crucial conversations are defined as those that have the potential to impact an individual’s life, their work, or the organization they work for.
They are also conversations in which emotions run high and there is a lot at stake.
The next chapter covers the principles of dialogue, which are key to having successful crucial conversations:
- Seek first to understand
- Suspend judgment
- Speak truthfully
- Stay in dialogue
The following three chapters discuss each of the skills necessary for handling difficult conversations:
- Focus on what you want
- Build a bridge
- Make it safe
Chapter six is about preparing yourself for a crucial conversation, covering topics such as identifying your outcome, gathering information, and rehearsing.
Chapter seven is about delivering your message during a crucial conversation, discussing tactics such as using “I messages” instead of “you messages” and choosing your words carefully.
Chapter eight is about responding effectively during a crucial conversation, including advice on things such as staying calm and not reacting defensively.
Chapter nine is about following up after a crucial conversation, providing tips on how to evaluate the outcome of the conversation and ensure that any changes that were made are actually implemented.
The final chapter of the book is about maintaining healthy dialogue in your personal life as well as at work, providing advice on things such as setting boundaries and learning how to apologize effectively.
Overall, I thought Crucial Conversations was an interesting read.
I found it especially useful that the book included real-life examples to illustrate its points.
My only complaint would be that some of the chapters were a bit long-winded and could have been condensed down into a more concise format.
2. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a communication process developed by Marshall Rosenberg that aims to create understanding and connection between people.
NVC begins with the recognition that all human beings share the same needs, and that our actions are attempts to meet those needs.
We can communicate more effectively with others by understanding their underlying needs and empathizing with their experience.
Rosenberg developed the NVC process over many years of studying human psychology and conflict resolution. The basic steps are:
- Observe what is happening in the moment.
- Express what you see, feel, and want in a way that is honest and direct.
- Listen to the other person’s response without judgment or interruption.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until everyone involved has had a chance to express themselves fully.
The goal of NVC is to create a compassionate connection with others, which can build trust and understanding even in difficult situations.
3. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo
If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with TED talks – taking the world’s most pre-eminent thinkers and sticking them on a stage for the benefit of all.
Talk Like TED is a book by Carmine Gallo that provides a guide to public speaking.
The book is based on the idea that the key to delivering a successful TED talk is to adopt the style ofTED speakers.
Gallo outlines four steps to follow in order to achieve this:
- Be passionate about your topic
- Tell a great story
- Use strong visuals
- Keep it short and sweet
Gallo backs up his advice with examples of successful TED talks, as well as interviews with the speakers themselves.
He also provides tips for overcoming common fears and challenges associated with public speaking.
Overall, I found Talk Like TED to be an informative and helpful guide to communication in a presentation-style format.
Gallo’s advice is clear and concise, and he provides plenty of helpful tips and examples.
I would recommend watching TED talks alongside reading the book to really internalize the advice.
4. Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling by Matthew Dicks
I was drawn to this title because I’m captivated by people who are able to tell a good tale.
Matthew Dicks is a storyteller, author, and teacher and in this book, he provides readers with a guide to crafting accounts that are both engaging and memorable.
Dicks begins by discussing the importance of stories and how they can be used to engage and educate audiences of all ages.
He then provides readers with a step-by-step guide to creating their own stories, from developing an idea to polishing the final product.
Throughout the text, Dicks shares many examples of his own stories – which are really fun, as he’s led an interesting, and at times, crazy life!
He provides clear instructions and plenty of examples, making it easy for readers to understand and apply the concepts presented in the book.
The stories themselves are engaging and provide a good overview of what can be accomplished with storytelling – you can also check out the author’s own stories online, which make a great accompaniment to the text.
Overall, I found Storyworthy to be an informative and enjoyable read – and a wider example of how improving your communication skills can also improve your life.
5. Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston
Just Listen is a book about how to be a better communicator.
It’s written by Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist who has a lot of experience with communication issues.
The book is divided into three parts:
- The first part is about understanding communication.
- The second part is about using communication effectively.
- The third part is about fixing communication problems.
I thought the first part of the book was the most interesting -it’s full of interesting facts and examples about communication.
For example, did you know that the way you say something can be more important than what you say?
In one study, people were more likely to give money to a charity if the person asking for money said “Thank you for investing in our children” rather than “Thank you for your donation”.
The second part of the book was also interesting, but it was more practical.
It talked about things such as active listening and how to give feedback effectively – I particularly liked the section on empathy because it highlighted how important it is to understand other people’s points of view (something I learned first-hand after working in the health field).
The third part of the book was less interesting to me, but it had some useful tips for fixing communication problems.
One tip that I liked was to “take a step back and take a deep breath”, great advice for anyone who’s feeling angry or frustrated.
Overall, I thought Just Listen was an excellent read, filled with interesting facts and practical tips that will help you become a better communicator.
These books will soon have you befriending everyone, making you a popular little sausage.
Whether you want to become a social slicker or climb the greasy corporate pole, your words will take you further.
Let me know how you get on!
P.S. A special mention should probably go to How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which is definitely worth a read.