This page reviews some great communication books including...
Relationships have an emotional bank account, and the currency is trust, and trust is earned in many ways, one of the most important being communication. Communication experts estimate that only 10 percent of our communication is represented by our words, while 30 percent is our tone, and 60 percent is our body language (Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
This book gets five stars because of the quality and quantity of helpful tips expressed in a concise way. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially young adults.
This book has over 90 tips in the areas of body language, first impressions, making small talk more interesting, increasing the connection with people, how to sound smarter (or like an industry insider), and be more persuasive.
Crucial Conversations gets a five star review because of its principled approach to communicating with respect in emotionally charged situations.
This book was obviously a careful collaborative effort over time. It has a good process for productive talks when there are opposing opinions, high stakes, and strong emotions.
A few of the steps include start with the heart (what do you want from the conversation and the relationship?), learn to look (for content, conditions, and triggers of conversational issues), make it safe, and explore others’ views. If the tension increases consider reinforcing or revisiting shared respect or shared purpose.
Their research for the book focuses on moments of emotional and political risk. “The current quality of your leadership and your life is fundamentally a function of how you are presently handling these moments.”
This is a five star book that provides a clear and compact message format to help connect with people and could be thought of as a universal value proposition format for communication.
It is based on the three forces of narrative, which are agreement, contradiction, and consequence. It has also been proven through many years of experience.
The core of this book is the "ABT" format, which is _____ AND _____ (desires), BUT _____ (problem), THEREFORE _____ (solution). This is based on the three basic forces of narrative, which are: agreement, contradiction, and consequence (Randy Olson, The Narrative Gym).
Example... Most parents want to communicate better with their kids and help them live smarter, but they struggle to "get through" to them. Developing communication skills is the best place to start, for both sides.
Starting the ABT or value proposition with a desire is easier and more likely to connect with others than starting with an assumed problem (people can be sensitive about their problems). If you start with a problem that the other person doesn't feel is really a problem, it can immediately make the other person defensive. If we get the desire right there can be more room for not getting the problem right, and using the word "but" gets people's attention.
This is a very popular book with a 4.8/5 rating with over 88,000 reviews on Amazon. I'm giving it five stars because of how practical and insightful it is. It has a related book for the workplace called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.
It's a quick and easy read that everyone can relate to. The five languages include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, and acts of service, quality time.
For those who don't read much, at the end of each chapter there is a short summary.
This is the oldest five star communication book I reference on this page. It is based on a long period of studying relationships, and it could be useful for pretty much anybody. The communication tactics it includes are, don't condemn or criticize, find out their good points, and give honest and sincere appreciation.
Ways to get people to like you include, be genuinely interested in them. Smile and remember their name. Talk about their interests and make them feel important.
Win people to your way of thinking include, begin in a friendly way, respect their opinion and never say "You're wrong." If you are wrong admit it quickly. Let them do most of the talking.
Leadership communication includes, if you must express fault in someone begin with a sincere praise. Instead of telling someone to do something directly, ask them a question with a choice. Give them a good reputation to live up to and encourage them.
Another five stars for this book as it provides proven tactics for expressing empathy and persuasion in tough conversations.
The author was an FBI hostage negotiator, who gave us some amazing communication tactics in this book. It points out three basic personality types of an accommodator, assertive, and analyst, and how this consideration can help communication.
It talks about the importance of labeling people’s emotions and mirroring any comments that seem interesting. Mirroring other's comments triggers a subconscious desire to explain more.
The book tells you how to ask calibrated questions to better understand the other side’s perspective, along with “no” oriented questions because we have become conditioned to be defensive when someone asks a question that has an obvious “yes” answer.
Like most communication books Never Split the Difference emphasizes empathy and how to express empathy by summarizing the other person's views and feelings.
This is a five star book, as it provides a formula for tactfully expressing your feelings about a tough situation. Of course, it can also be used to express gratitude.
This book provides a proven process is to state an observation, followed by how it makes you feel, explain your need, and make your request to fulfill the need. Then work on getting the same from them, what they observe, feel, need, and their request. When we label people and judge their intent they naturally get defensive, but if we label their behavior and explain how it made us feel, our perspective is much more likely to be accepted.
This is a logical process to help insert empathy for you, into their thought process, and minimize emotion. Of course the body language and tone should be humble, open, and curious, not arrogant, accusatory, or defensive. It sounds like... "When you ____, I feel ____. I need ____. Would you consider ____?
When we exercise empathy, listen and express back to others what we understand about their perspective, how it makes them feel, and their needs, it helps them to feel understood and can build trust.
Five stars for Verbal Judo, as a book on how to have a conversation with someone you have authority over, and you need to ask them to do something, but you think they might resist. His tactics were developed during his time teaching and as a policeman.
The Verbal Judo way “is to treat people with dignity and respect, most of all, your family and close friends. Be ever so careful how you speak to them, as words can cut deeper and fester longer than sword wounds. Ironically, we often spend less energy being kind to those closest to us.”
The verbal judo process…
You can learn to use your words to redirect the negative force of others toward positive outcomes.
This is a classic five star communication book that gives practical advice on how to strengthen relationships and connect on a deeper level.
It has three sections, the heart, the questions, and the disciplines of conversationalists.
The heart section includes five levels of significant conversations, casual, contextual, conceptual, considerable, and catalytic, and discernment of whether they need care, counsel, or courage.
“One of the greatest privileges in relationship is when you experience somebody at their deepest point of fear and doubt, then to see them overcome those moments and step forward to see the victory that is the result of their lives as they have an impact on other people.”
Russell finishes the book with seven disciplines of the conversationalist, including removing barriers of engagement, defining the people, places, and priorities, clarifying expectations, and asking great questions.
Then he gives 50 great questions that help start better conversations. Here are just a few, What's one thing about you I don't know? What's the important thing going on in your world right now? What are you looking forward to the most this year? What's the most significant challenge you've faced in the last year? What books have you read more than once?
A five star communication book for facilitating change in a workplace. "Conversational Intelligence is essential to an organization's ability to create shared meaning about what needs to be accomplished and why."
This book provides a TRUST model to guide conversations. Transparency. Relationship (through heartfelt appreciation). Understanding. Shared Success. Testing Assumptions and Telling the Truth. It shows how to move conversations from I to We, in each of the points of TRUST.
The book explains the five conversational blind spots including: Assuming others see what we see, feel what we feel, and think what we think. The failure to realize that fear, trust, and distrust changes how we see and interpret reality. An inability to stand in each other's shoes when we are fearful or upset.
The book also provides some classic thoughts and behaviors that reveal when a feeling of distrust rises up (like expecting more, assuming the worst, and interpreting with fear), or when a feeling of trust rises up (like expecting less, assuming the best, and interpreting with facts).
This five star book has good practical tips for connecting with anyone. It includes timeless tips for creating good first impressions, starting conversations, and connecting with people.
It has a section on how to create “Big Talk” as opposed to the boring old small talk. It also recommends some specific topics that spark more lively conversation. The book refers to a study that shows being different wakes people up, or a slightly unusual request raises more interest.
The book also gives practical tips for follow up questions that can increase your memorability, including highlighting important aspects about the person you are talking with, and have a personal story stack that launch from common topics.
The book mentions a study that concluded confidence is often more important to a professional’s reputation than skill set or history.
It also highlights how to make a good first impression with body language, keeping your hands visible, having a good posture, and making eye contact, all help increase feelings of trust, respect, and inclusion. “The best conversations aren’t about what you say, they are about what you hear.”
The Coaching Habit is a five star book focusing on a specific coaching method for helping empower others to uncover their challenges and best ways to overcome them.
This book opens with a reference of a Daniel Goleman article for the Harvard Business Review, “Leadership that Gets Results.” It says coaching is one of many leadership styles and it has a “markedly positive” impact on performance, culture, and the bottom line. It also points out that few leaders use it because it takes time to teach people and help them grow.
The Coaching Habit helps others build resourcefulness, by thinking through what they want and what steps they need to take to get it. The Coaching Habit is a process of seven core questions, with possible follow up questions for each core question.
The questions include, What’s on your mind? And what else? What’s the real challenge here for you? What do you want? How can I help?
When we help others think through their challenges and obstacles and help them come to their own conclusion and next steps, it helps them remember the conversation and increases their ownership in the next steps.
While this book is not just focused on communication it has some good five star communication tips, especially on how to be more persuasive through empathy, based on tactics from a championship debater.
It explains why we should try and think and communicate more like a scientist should, and not preach, prosecute, or politic (unless that is in fact, your profession). The basic core of the scientific method is to make an observation and form a hypothesis or idea about the observation, then test the idea to see if it is correct.
Being a scientist is not just a profession, it's a mindset, a mode of thinking that searches for the truth and runs experiments to test ideas and discover knowledge (Adam Grant, Think Again).
The book explains how a champion debater lowers his opponents defensiveness by expressing empathy and even agreement of the value of their views, then proceeds to subtly add his view. When trying to persuade people if our words and tone implies they are an enemy, or wrong, it usually shuts them down or gets them angry. If we humbly respect them and communicate with empathy it can open them up and inspires reciprocity of our humility and respect.
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