Book Review: 15 Successful Communications Lessons

As a high school principal, one of my main roles is communication.  I communicate with our faculty/staff, students, parents, the community, and folks that are considering our school.  Because I have so many communication opportunities, I always try to sharpen my skills by reading, attending lectures, and learning from those that are better communicators than I am.  The other day, Amazon put 15 Successful Communications Lessons on the list for Kindle readers to read for free.  Several points in this book were pretty familiar, but I did pick up a few new things and gained new perspective on some familiar things.  I’d really encourage you to check it out if you are in a role that requires you to communicate with others on a regular basis.  Here are my highlights from this book:

  • Less is More should be your guiding principle when you are creating your presentation graphics, as well as its corollary, When in doubt, leave it out.
  • By understanding Perception Psychology and applying it properly, you can control the effect of your graphics on your audience. And in presentations, you want that effect to be positive.
  • The rhetorical question can be an excellent icebreaker, as long as it’s both provocative and relevant to your audience.
  • An anecdote is a simple and effective way to make an abstract or potentially boring subject come to life.
  • The USP is a succinct summary of your business, the basic premise that describes what you or your company does, makes, or offers.
  • Your job is to become the navigator for your audience, to make the relationships among all the parts of your story clear for them.
  • Think of the leverage it creates for you and your organization when everyone can communicate the So What Benefit of what you do in such a clear and compelling way that your audience wants to know exactly how you do that.
  • Persuasion is the art of moving your audience from Point A, a place of ignorance, indifference, or even hostility, toward your goal…navigating them through an unbroken series of Aha!s…to Point B, a place where they will act as your investors, customers, partners, or advocates ready to march to the beat of your drum.
  • Managers do not need answers to operate a successful business; they need questions.
  • Management needs questions before it gets answers.
  • Follow your gut. It might not lead to any particular problem or issue of concern, but it’s worth developing any line of questioning whenever a feeling of uncertainty, suspicion, or inquisitiveness comes along.
  • A manager who interrupts his or her employees during their response to questions is showing an enormous amount of disrespect to them, and to himself or herself as well. Not only does this devalue the person speaking, it also diminishes the manager in the eyes of all present.
  • Walking away needs little explanation.

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