Estimate the attention span of your audience, then cut it in half. That's a good length for your presentation.
Contents • • • • • • • • Best Communication Skills Books This is my top 5 reading list when it comes to communication skills. This communication skills reading list includes the best of the best to improve your communication skills I’d like to mention one thing first of all. Most other communication skills reading lists that I have read online actually include titles that I would classify as social skills. My reading list list instead focuses on books to improve verbal communication skills.
So with our further ado, here’s the list: 5. Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler | | | Crucial Conversations is one of the most popular titles in our best communication skills books list. Among the biggest takeaways: 1. Make it Safe: people hold back out of fear. That’s why you must create an environment where people feel safe to speak and cared for; 2.
Fill the Pool: I loved the image of “the pool”, or the shared space of meaning between speakers. The more you fill it, the more successful the conversation will be. Do get ready for high stakes conversation, because paradoxically when it matters the most is also when we’re most likely to perform the poorest.
Quote: “ When it matters the most it’s when people are most likely to avoid or get emotionally. Both major screw up ” 4. Verbal Judo by George Thompson, Jerry Jenkins | | Thompson says that as long as you can manage to , you’ll hardly need any verbal judo. But if you can manage that, I still think Verbal Judo will help you become a better communicator. Here’s something I loved: Start with negative: when you give a feedback, start with the negative first, then end on a positive note.
With an informal prose and plenty of examples, including straight from the streets (Thompson is a police trainer), Verbal Judo is worth its communication skills weight in gold. Quote: “ Say what you want. As long as you do as I say” 3. Eliminating Passive Aggressiveness by Andrea Brandt | | | Unluckily I couldn’t find a statistics on how many people are passive aggressive. And that’s probably because everyone of us, at times, resorts to . Which is exactly the reason why Andrea Brandt makes it into the top 3 of our best communication skills books: you will communicate with passive aggressive people.
And Brandt teaches you exactly how to recognize and how to deal with it. It’s a great book with top advise and choke full of super helpful examples. A real eye-opener in the communication genre.
Quote: “ If you’re not assertive and if you’re bottling up anger, then you’re passive aggressive” 2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie | | Could anyone compile a reading list of best communication skills books without Dale Carnegie in it?
I didn’t think so either. How to Win Friends might not be for you if you need more assertiveness since it’s all about finessing and make others feel good. But I can hardly think of anyone who cannot stand to gain by applying the timeless principles of this huge classic. Quote: “ To be interesting, be interested “ 1. Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Patton, Heen | | Difficult Conversations has been the very first communication skills book I’ve read.
And every page I turned I only grew more and more excited realizing I had a wisdom-bomb in my hands. Difficult conversations helpfully dissects conversations at the three most important levels: what happened, feeling and identity.
Difficult conversations are difficult because they are heavily emotions and, sometimes, can reach us at the core of who we are (identity, also read ). Quote: “ Humans feel binary when conversations touch identities: either great & lovable or terrible & unworthy “ Final Words Guys, you can’t go wrong with any of these verbal communication skills books.
Finish to read these 5, apply the teachings and watch your communication skills go the next level. One only thing left to do: subscribe and get updated when a new entry will crack into the must read list: Also read: • • • • • • • •
best dating communication skills books on business development - Business Communication Skills Training
Effective business communication skills are vital to successful co-worker and customer interactions. Both the speaker and the listener share responsibility of making the message clear, but effective communication goes far beyond simple speech and hearing.
Body language, tone of voice, word choice, message clarification and communication style all come into play, and can make the difference between success and failure in interpersonal transactions and interactions. Effective Speaking Speakers must learn to articulate their message in a way the listener can understand, delivering it in a manner that is consistent with the message itself. Serious issues are best delivered in a serious tone, but with regard to the known or potential reaction of the listener.
The reaction of the listener to both good or bad news can be directly controlled by the speaker, as long as the word choice and delivery are carefully considered.
One part of effective speaking is knowing your listeners and how they may react, or delivering your message in a generic fashion if the listeners are not known. Active Listening Active listening is practiced by both the speaker and listener in effective communication. Active listening on the listener's part involves eye contact, nods, gestures and brief comments to show understanding. On the speaker's part, these gestures and comments are clues to the listener's reaction and comprehension.
If the listener seems confused, the speaker may re-evaluate the wording or delivery of the message, and listeners must take it upon themselves to ask questions, validate what is being said and provide input if necessary. Asking Questions Questions asked by both the speaker and listener must be of the open-ended type -- those that cannot be answered by a yes or no.
Open-ended questions encourage further communication, dialogue and understanding, and can help all involved in the conversation to further investigate and clarify the message. Body Language Recognizing and deciphering body language is both an art and a science. Eye movement and contact, stance, posture, facial expressions, fidgeting and other body language can sometimes give clues to the speaker and listener alike.
If the tone of a speaker's voice is calm but his facial expression or posture is tense, the message can be confusing to the listener. Conversely, a listener who fidgets or does not make eye contact can give the speaker the impression that the listener is bored or not paying attention.
Communication Methods In the modern business world, people communicate by text, phone, email, written correspondence and verbal communication.
In effective communication, you must choose the communication method best suited for the message. Businesspeople who are articulate speakers may not be articulate writers, so the message in email and and written correspondence can sometimes be misconstrued. The same goes for writers who can craft detailed communications in written form, but choke when it comes to verbalizing.
Learning to be eloquent with all forms of communication methods may not be the easiest task, but the effective communicator knows her limitations and chooses the medium to match the message. About the Author Matt McKay began his writing career in 1999, writing training programs and articles for a national corporation. His work has appeared in various online publications and materials for private companies. McKay has experience in entrepreneurship, corporate training, human resources, technology and the music business.
If you are having trouble communicating with your family and friends, you are not alone. Communications, whether it is written or oral, is one of the most complicated and feared skills. Regardless of how powerful or smart some people may appear, many harbor insecurities around how they write or how they communicate in front of other.
But effective communications skills is a must for the individual and the company. In fact, companies are better positioned to thrive when they have a clear message and communications strategy that outlines who they are in the world, what they want to be known for and what sets them apart. And executives who can move others to action with their words are beloved.
Often when we think of skills, we focus on hard skills. But being able to communicate well is one of the most important soft skills you can develop and it is also a key determinant to success. Think of your doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant, sitter, or your child’s teacher.
Your relationship with these individuals, and your confidence in them, is influenced by how well they communicate. Arguably, communications can make or break the company or the leader. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources to help you improve in this area. A host of communications books focus on everything from how you write, how you speak, how you communicate with your family and friends, and how you use communications to advocate for issues important to you.
The books are impactful whether you are a born communicator, or whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. They will help whether you are struggling to find and assert your voice in personal or professional relationships or whether you are struggling to maintain appropriate boundaries at work and home. I have broken the list up into books that are especially centered around communicating at work, and books that apply to your communications and social skills at work and at home.
• • • • • Never Eat Alone is one of my favorite books. Author Keith Ferrazi highlights the importance of cultivating mutually beneficial relationships and makes a strong case for how those relationships can propel one to extraordinary success.
For someone like me, who is part introvert and part extrovert, the book is a reminder to be intentional in building relationships. It is easy to rely on the people with whom I already have a relationship but expanding one’s circle is not only a good idea, it’s essential to career and professional growth.
What I love most about the book, is Ferrazi not only tells you what to do, he walks readers through “how to do it.” There are several practical tips for cultivating relationships and powerful anecdotes on how doing so can change one’s life.
2. On Becoming Fearless • • • • • Ariana Huffington’s “On Becoming Fearless” was also transformative. She covers everything from becoming fearless in the workplace to passionately pursuing one’s personal calling. The truth is fear is a common reality for many of our lives. We allow fear to keep us from reaching for our dreams, keep us from speaking our truth, or remain in unhealthy situations.
Drawing from her own experiences, Huffington walks readers through strategies for confronting and overcoming fear. • • • • • If you are interested in learning strategies for promoting your work and ideas, my own book is an excellent resource. The book highlights case studies from actual social justice campaigns and the strategies me and my team used to place important issues on reporters’ radars.
The book also focuses on how to cultivate relationships with reporters, who can have an outsize impact on how the world, including your audience, views you and your work. 4. How to Win Friends and Influence People • • • • • Written in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a timeless treasure. It is one of the best selling books ever.
The book focuses on strategies for creating and maintaining powerful relationships. This is key because your success is directly tied to the relationships you cultivate and the power of those relationships. He discusses principles such as appealing to what is in your colleague’s interest rather than focusing narrowly on your own self-interest, the importance of memorizing the names of others, and the lost art of listening.
Carnegie focuses on the power of being genuinely interested in other people, which is critical. The book is a reminder that people will accept your advice, act on your recommendations if they like you and IF they believe you like them. They will not follow you based solely on your leadership position or your rank in an organization. There are so many communications gems in this book, that it deserves an article unto itself.
Suffice it to say, this is a book you should buy yesterday. It is seriously that good. 5. Words that Work • • • • • Frank Luntz’s “Words that Work” is the last book I’ve read on communications. It is juicy. Luntz brilliantly describes that people hear what you say through the lens of their own experience. Communication is less about what you say, and more about what people hear. It is therefore important to focus on what people are likely to hear to sidestep saying the wrong thing or having your message misconstrued.
This is why certain words are deeply triggering for certain communities. Once you use triggering or loaded words, nothing else you say matters. Your audience will get stuck and miss your entire message. • • • • • I am learning that we live in a society where telling the truth, especially unsolicited truth, is not always welcome.
In fact, it takes tremendous courage to be direct and tell the truth. In my profession, I routinely am asked to give feedback when people I work with have media interviews. A person’s ability to improve, with the media or otherwise, is directly correlated to the coaching and feedback they receive, but that doesn’t necessarily make telling the truth easier.
When commentators, reporters or even political leaders tell the truth as they see it, they sometimes face harsh criticism. However, no relationship works without each party having the freedom and the space to tell the truth in love. “Crucial Conversations” is a road map to having difficult but necessary conversations in the workplace and at home. If you are seeking to improve your social skills or communicate unpleasant information, “Crucial Conversations” is a must-read.
The fact is most of us are coached not to tell the truth, so training in this area is beneficial. 7. Leadership Presence Scroll down to continue reading article This was one of the books my coach, Sheryl Phillips, recommended. What I appreciated most about this book is the importance of nonverbals in communication and the strategies it offers to develop leadership presence.
Books on Communicating at Home 8. The Power of Now • • • • • Eckart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” was transformative. He outlines how to remain present with one’s thoughts and present situations. There have been many times when I have reacted to things that happened in the past or things that could possibly happen in the future. Such ruminations are a major contributor to internal suffering. They also inhibit us from being fully present in the lives of our family and friends.
• • • • • We are all created in the image of God. We express our love and God’s image differently. In Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages,” Chapman explores the importance of understanding not only our own love language, but our family and friends’ love language as well. The book identifies the five love languages as “words of affirmation,” “acts of service,” “receiving gifts,” “quality time,” and “physical touch.” For instance, my love language is two-fold, “quality time” and “acts of service.” If a person wants to communicate their love for me, they should both spend time with me and perform acts of service.
My sister on the other hand values time. She is giddy when I invest time with her and her family. When I have attempted to offer gifts in lieu of time, our relationship suffered. The best way for me to express love to her is to offer uninterrupted time.
That means time when I am not doing other things such as playing on my cell phone, working or otherwise being physically present but mentally occupied. You cannot have a healthy relationship at work or home without understanding what the people around you need to feel valued and respected. For this reason, I strongly recommend The Five Love Languages.
10. Boundaries • • • • • Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries” is a timeless relationship book. It is essential because boundaries inform people how they should and should not behave in your life. For persons who have suffered childhood abuse, it can be difficult to establish or know when one’s boundaries have been violated.
However, you cannot have a healthy relationship without creating guardrails that keep you safe and inform people how they can show up in your life. Often, anger is an indication that a boundary has been violated. When I have peeled back the onion, I sometimes realize that I was not clear with boundaries. 11. The Four Agreements In sum, the four agreements, are to 1. Take nothing personally, 2. be impeccable with your word, 3.
don’t make assumptions and 4. always do your best. In addition to the book, the teachings are also available in a compact card deck which offers daily reflections. Books on Written Communication 12. On Writing • • • • • Since I’m a professional communicator, I don’t think it’s possible to write an article on communications and social skills without discussing writing. Regardless of what you do, or who you are, at some point you will need to put ideas and thoughts to paper.
From standard office correspondence, to long-form essays, to business documents, and reports, you are bound to write. One of the most inspiring and helpful books on writing I’ve ever read is Stephen King’s “On Writing.” He covers everything from the mechanics of writing to his personal journey with the written word.
The book is humorous, easy to digest and inspiring. 13. Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life • • • • • Bell Hooks is one of the most prolific writers of all times. Like Stephen King, she produces full manuscripts the way many of us communicate via text message – nonstop. “Wounds of Passion: The Writing Life” focuses on hooks’s early career as a writer and the process she followed to produce some of her earliest works.
Like King’s “On Writing,” Hooks’ book is somewhat autobiographical as it provides insight into her journey and, well, writing life. She documents the trials she experienced, including an abusive relationship, while she was discovering herself as a writer. If you are serious about effective communications, and need help demystifying the process, these books are required reading.
While there are several books on this list, I recommend each of them as necessary for developing better social skills and better relationships.
Featured photo credit: It has been said that you do not get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for. I have seen this play out time and time again – in my own life and in the lives of others. Chances are, you have too. Have you ever been in an employment situation where you were hired and thought you had an okay deal only to realize a colleague received a great deal?
Regardless of how skilled you are, chances are you can benefit from tips that position you to be a better negotiator. For example, if you are in talks to purchase a home and are wrangling among a seller, the seller’s agent and your own agent, you could benefit from tools to help you remain calm under pressure and assert your wishes.
If you are preparing to negotiate for a new position or promotion, and are questioning whether you are asking for too little, too much or just enough, here are at least 12 points on how to negotiate better so you can keep in mind prior to heading into negotiations. 1. Understand That Negotiations Are Inherently Stressful, and That’s Ok Walking into a negotiation is not like walking into an informal lunch with a friend.
Negotiations are inherently stressful, and you should let yourself off the hook for feeling anxious about these adrenaline-pumping discussions.
Minda Harts, the founder of The Memo, shared, “Negotiations are a high-stakes game because everything is on the line. It is natural to feel anxiety.
Whether you are negotiating pay, equity or whatever, it is important to prepare for high-stakes conversations. You can do this by conducting research, role-playing and getting clear on your worth.” 2. Know Your Worth Before you ever sit down at a bargaining or negotiating table, you should have a clear sense of your worth. Understand what you do better than others and understand how your work will improve the organization or company to which you belong or are seeking to join.
At the most fundamental level, you should have a good sense of how your skills will add value to the company. When you have a sense of your worth, you have a starting point or frame of reference in negotiations. You will also be better prepared to answer the “?” question. Harts agreed, “If you go into a negotiation not knowing your worth, you’ll look to others to define your worth and they may not value your contribution appropriately. Understanding your skills and expertise, and knowing your worth allows you to position yourself from a place or power.” 3.
Understand Your Emotion and the Emotions of Others In the workplace, women have been conditioned to hide or abandon emotion. Men and women alike are told emotion has no place in negotiations. This isn’t entirely true. It doesn’t serve us well to avoid or discard emotion. We should understand our emotions as well as the emotions of others. When you understand your emotions and work to be emotionally intelligent, you anticipate what others are feeling and respond accordingly. When you consciously try to understand the emotions of others, you allow that insight to assist you, enabling you to pivot and adjust during the actual negotiation.
Failing to understand emotions may mean you are unable to develop creative approaches for unanticipated challenges. Researchers Kimberlyn Leary, Julianna Pillemer and Michael Wheeler observed in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article:  “The truth is that your passions matter in real-life deal making and dispute resolution.
You need to understand, channel, and learn from your emotions in order to adapt to the situation at hand and engage others successfully. That means you need to be emotionally prepared to negotiate—even when you expect the process to go smoothly.” 4.
Conduct Tons of Research You cannot begin to know what is fair and what is appropriate without research. If you are negotiating for a new position or promotion, you’ll want to know your predecessor’s benefits package. You’ll want to try to determine what the last person who interviewed and perhaps was offered the position received. You will want to review a company’s 990 to determine what its highest earners make and what those people do. You will want to know what the market offers for positions like the one to which you are applying and what you can be replaced for.
If you are negotiating for a new home, you will want to know what the home appraises for, whether there are liens against the property, what upgrades the seller has made to the home and what other homes on the block have sold for. You will also want to know whether there have been foreclosures in the area so you will know how those foreclosures impact your property value. If you are in labor negotiations, there is a whole set of other information (such as profits, information from 990s, public complaints, long-term goals, etc.) you need to know before you can begin to know what is fair and acceptable for both the company and the union.
The bottom line is that walking into a negotiation without information is a recipe for disaster and dissatisfaction. 5. Understand What Motivates the Other Party For some people, status matters. For others, money and resources matter. For others still, autonomy and flexibility are motivators. Regardless of which side of the negotiating table you sit on, you need to understand what motivates the people with whom you are negotiating.
You cannot assess what you will need to give or make appropriate offers without an understanding of key motivators. 6. Don’t Wait for Perfection One of the things I loved about Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s was their take on the dangers of perfection. They assert that often women wait for perfection before submitting projects or asking for a raise or promotion. They point out that we underestimate our own work.
I see this in my own career, and I imagine it rings true for others as well. The key takeaway for me from their book was that perfection isn’t insurance for progress. to begin negotiations over what you want. Scroll down to continue reading article If you wait for perfection, you may never seek out that raise, promotion or reassignment. 7. Say If Afraid If you are someone who shuns conflict and the very thought of negotiating unnerves you, you should know that you can negotiate while afraid.
You do not have to be courageous to negotiate. You can ask for what you want, even when it scares you. I remember desperately wanting a pay increase but was too afraid to ask for it. I was fearful I would introduce the topic at the wrong time; I was fearful my boss would scoff when I made my request; and most importantly, I was afraid she would say no. My boss was an incredibly busy lawyer, and I knew every moment of her time was valuable.
However, I knew that my silence and unwillingness to ask for what I wanted would gnaw at me. I resolved that I was just going to ask and blurted out my request during a check-in. She said no. I thought about my presentation and realized that I should have made my request in a more formal manner. I should have put it in writing and outlined my contributions. I didn’t anticipate that even an informal request could get me closer to what I wanted.
A couple of months later, my boss told me that she hadn’t forgotten my request, and when it was time for the annual cost of living increase, I received that as well as a small bump. She did exactly as she promised.
Going forward, I will be better prepared, but the lesson for me was to ask, even when fearful. 8. Be Willing to Walk Away Every opportunity is not for you. Regardless of how much you want that position, home or promotion, be willing to walk away if you do not receive a deal that makes sense for you.
Do not allow yourself to get desperate and accept a position that you will come to view unfavorably in the future. Have enough confidence in yourself and in your abilities to leave the table completely. When your sparring or negotiating partner realizes that you are willing to walk away completely, he or she may negotiate in better faith.
9. Shun Secrecy I am a proponent of being discreet, but discreetness can be the enemy when it comes to negotiations. To negotiate the best deal, you may need to shun secrecy. You will need to ask others what they earn or whether the offer you received makes sense for your years of experience, for the area of the country where you live or the position to which you are applying.
If possible, find out whether the company offered the position to others and on what terms. I was negotiating for a position and was comfortable accepting $85,000, and then a friend told me the company offered the position to a man with similar credentials and experience for $100,000. With the assistance of a friend, I was able to get $99,840. This example illustrates why it is important to speak with trusted colleagues and mentors about offers and solicit their input on whether you are getting the best deal.
10. Look for the Win-Win Negotiations are not one side takes all, so try not to fall into the “winners” and “losers” trap. It is possible to negotiate in a way where there are no losers but everyone wins. The best way to is having tons of research, understanding what motivates the other party and being willing to show and discern emotion.
Another strategy for identifying the win-win is listening carefully during negotiations to discern what is of interest to the other party. People will tell you what they want – the question is whether you are listening.
If you are in tune with the person with whom you are negotiating, you will be better equipped to identify what he or she needs to feel satisfied and give it to that individual. 11. Refuse to Fill the Pregnant Pause In my line of public relations work, I train colleagues and clients to resist the urge to fill the pregnant pause during media interviews. One tactic that some reporters use is silence during different stages of the interview, hoping the interviewee will keep talking.
But with an abundance of words comes an abundance of opportunity for error. The same is true in negotiations. Once you state your salary and compensation package requirements, be quiet. If the person you are speaking with gets silent, you remain silent with him or her. Do not fill the pregnant pause by lowering your requirements or awkwardly adding chatter because you are uncomfortable with silence.
Refuse to fill the pregnant pause. 12. Be Honest When you are negotiating for a new position, be clear with yourself about what you need. Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others. If the offer represents 70 percent of what you want, do not discard the 30 percent that you are not receiving. If you are honest, you can make an informed decision about whether the position is indeed in your best interest or whether you should open yourself up for other opportunities.
If you can be mindful of these points and utilize these tactics, I am confident you will negotiate in a manner that gets you and the other party what you both truly need. You can negotiate like a pro and get the life that you deserve.
More Resources About Workplace Communication • • • • • Featured photo credit:
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