The best laid strategy can be undermined by poor communication. Many of us know that communication is not so much about what we say, it is about what people interpret from your words, tone, and demeanor. Whether we are trying to get momentum for a strategic initiative or trying to influence an outcome, preparation is key.
Like any other personal or professional growth, being effective in our communications takes a combination of attention, intentional learning and practice. I watch and listen to those I consider to be great communicators; I reflect on my own conversations, and I read.
My most often recommended books:
1. How to Tell Anyone Anything, by R. Gallagher. Geared to managers, I have found it applies to all personal and professional discussions. Learning and practicing this approach in a low stakes situation will prepare you for critical discussions.
2. Words that Work by Frank Luntz. All about influence and #leadership communications. Many insights into politics, applicable to #organizational politics as well. The subtitle is engraved in my mind for its universal truth: “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.”
3. The Well-Spoken Woman by Christine Jahnke. She is a speech coach who has worked with many prominent women. This book is an essential companion to anyone (male or female) who wants to make a lasting positive impression with a speech or presentation.