Communication is one of the most important aspects of human life. The delicate dance of human interaction provides an amazing mechanism for transferring ideas and information that can create change, enhance relationships, inspire creativity, initiate or impede behavior, improve workplace environments and transform marriages.
Unfortunately, communication isn’t instinctual such as thirst and hunger. Therefore, the skills of effective communication are not always easy for most and need to be learned. As one of our most important abilities, how does one learn the art of effective communication?
There are a lot of good communication books on the market geared at assisting us to learn how to get our ideas across and communicate more efficiently. But do the top communication books really deliver?
Can we learn to get our message across in a succinct and interesting manner, just by reading a book? I’ve compiled a list of useful information to help you decide whether the most popular communication books are worth the read.
Best Communication Skills Book Comparisons
|Crucial Conversations||CHECK THE PRICE|
|Just Listen||CHECK THE PRICE|
|Communication||CHECK THE PRICE|
|Everyone Communicates, Few Connect||CHECK THE PRICE|
|People Skills||CHECK THE PRICE|
What is Communication?
Although a seemingly everyday concept, the act of communication is anything but simple. This crucial component is an integral part of our existence from the time we are born and until old age. Whether an infant or an elderly person, we are always trying to get our needs met.
The inability to communicate or make one’s needs to be known is a common reason for conflict in relationships, both at home and in the workplace.
For example, if you’ve ever experienced a situation where you felt misunderstood by another, couldn’t get your point across in a meeting, had children who just didn’t listen, or had a manager who didn’t understand you, then you have first-hand knowledge of how important communication is to the quality of our lives, careers and our relationships.
By simple definition, communication is merely the exchange of information between two parties. However, there are many different types of communication to include non-verbal, verbal, written and visual.
Non - Verbal
Non-verbal communication occurs through our gestures, body language, appearance and behavior. Non-verbal cues can be intentional or unintentional and can include facial expressions, posture and dress. Another form of Non-verbal communication is sign language.
It can support what has been communicated verbally, confirm a known fact that may be the subject of the conversation, offer a response to someone, and guide the stream of communication (think heads nodding or implied understanding).
Verbal communication uses our words and can include face to face interaction, telephone conversations, television and radio. Verbal communication is an important way for us to exchange ideas and connect with one another.
A one-on-one conversation can soothe after a long day whereas a radio or television broadcast entertain or provide necessary information. There’s nothing like a telephone to encourage another if distance or timing is an issue.
Written communication includes various mediums such as email, magazines, letters, cards and articles or posts online, just like the one you’re reading now. Much like verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication can solidify an idea, provide information but the exchange is supported by the use of the written word.
Unlike verbal and non-verbal communication modes, written communication can be edited prior to the message going to the recipient. This is why written communication is a staple of formal communication in business.
Visual communication uses the help of visual aids such as charts, maps, advertisements, photos and anything else you can think of that would visually imply a message. This mode of communication is another favorite of businesses, as visual communication can be used to impact one person or large crowds in a consistent manner. A good example of visual communication is the internet.
Each of these modes of communication is important in order for us to feel understood, make our desires known, get our needs met and do the same for others. As employers seek to find ways to increase productivity and limit employee attrition with younger employees, effective communication is a highly valued skill in the workplace. I personally appreciate an engaged manager who uses communication to provide a positive and welcoming workplace.
Also, employees with the skills to compose an articulate email, interact with customers, clientele or co-workers are more sought after than their counterparts. In fact, many believe that employers value communication as one of the top attributes of new-hires.
Why Read a Book on Communication?
If you want to thrive in your personal and professional life, being an effective communicator may be an essential guidepost. However, unless you have the time to undertake coursework on the matter a book on the subject of enhancing communication skills may aid you to learn how to better articulate your needs, wants and desires while honing your own unique communication style. Also, a book on communication can provide you with the skills to better communicate with your children, spouse, friends, family, and colleagues.
When it comes to effectively getting a point across, engaging others and actively listening not everyone is an expert. Some folks are good at sharing ideas, but not adept at listening. Other people are great listeners but fail miserably when it comes to saying what they mean. Still, others are good with overall written communicators but lack the insight to handle conflicts well or verbally express themselves.
Some of the best books on communication can help you become a better partner, a more engaged parent, a productive employee, a better friend, and an effective manager. Also, with learned communication skills you will be better equipped to resolve conflicts.
For example, in a marriage or business partnership, the way that a couple communicates when there is conflict is indicative of the stability of the relationship. Although conflict is an inevitable part of any close association, it’s not always acceptable or prudent to argue. It stands to reason that people who learn how to communicate without losing their tempers may have more fulfilling relationships overall.
When employees and managers can communicate, the result is a more productive and enjoyable work environment. When parents and kids use effective communication, the likelihood of a peaceful household is achievable.
Which Book is Right for You?
Because of the sheer volume of books on the topic of communication, it can be helpful to narrow down the subject based upon specific categories or skills that you wish to acquire. For example, you can find books on non-verbal versus verbal communication, business communication skills, guidance on improving communication in the workplace, relationship communication, tips on effective communication, communication in a marriage, and how to improve overall communication skills.
When choosing from the best communication books of all time it can be helpful to select a book that speaks to you (no pun intended) and provides an avenue of interest for your specific communication goals.
For example, should you wish to enhance the communication in your marriage, a book on communication in relationships may suit you. Or, should you wish to learn to communicate at work, a book related to business communication may have the information to transform your speaking and writing skills. Feel free to look for an author whose work you admire or whose name you are familiar with.
Top 5 Communication Skill Book Reviews
Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition
- Paperback: 272 pages
This Best-selling book features a foreword written by Stephen R. Covey, the renowned author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and offers readers no-nonsense ways to handle tough situations without getting buried in the emotions that may impact the situation. With a quiz to self-analyze your own communications style, strengths and flaws, this book offers a practical approach to bringing ideas to the table when there is a lot to lose.
As a parent, I can appreciate an author who dedicates a section to explaining the difference between a ‘crucial’ versus ‘casual’ situation. This book explains how to manage the conversations that involve high stakes, emotions and varied opinions.
- Practical advice and real-world tools
- 2nd Edition includes a video vault of author’s communication styles
- Complaints of dry, textbook style
- Complaints of remedial advice and a simplistic discussion
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
- Paperback - 256 Pages
This popular book is revered by those who looking for practical solutions to common communication issues. Packed with real-life examples that everyone can use, this book cuts through the typical “self-help” and offers a sensible way to decrease the frustration that comes with trying to change others
This book does a good job offering tips and solutions that the reader can easily implement into daily life. Hailed as the “go-to” book for an easy to follow format, this book provides tools for one to get in touch with and label emotions. Readers like how this book’s motivating source encourages gaining insight into one’s own mind in order to communicate better.
- Easy to ready with real-life examples
- Complaints of ideas being common sense
- Complaints of lack of credible examples
Communication: Golden Nugget Methods to Communicate Effectively – Interpersonal, Influence, Social Skills, Listening
- Paperback: 262 pages
In a world marred with social media influence, hidden agendas and the “me” generations, the authors of this take on two-way communication provide a refreshing look at the misunderstandings that can weaken and sometimes ruin relationships. This engaging read offers valuable insight into the notion that communication takes at least two people and includes both speaking and listening.
From how to deal with stage fright to the importance of honesty in communication, this easy to read guide gives the reader ideas on how to handle the unpopular parts of communication such as insecurity, fear, assumptive attitudes, and emotions.
- Pragmatic and useful
- Sound advice – logical
- Complaints of a book being too short
- Complaints of hard to understand words
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
- Hardcover: 288 Pages
From award-winning author John Maxwell comes a book that makes it easy to understand why Maxwell is renowned as a trainer of leaders. As a groundbreaker in the art of communication, the author encourages readers to overcome communication difficulties by asking real questions: about themselves and other’s motives. In doing so, Maxwell challenges readers to look for the deep connection between our egos, inner dialogue, and the intended recipient’s humanness.
This book sheds light on why we sometimes have a breakdown in communication and offers advice and tips on how to engage others without getting in your own way.
- Practical advice on how to connect with others
- Praise for simple and antidotal writing style
- Complaints of author touting his own successes
- Complaints of an unrealistic mix of communication and leadership
People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
- Paperback: 300 pages
This ageless guide to enhanced personal and professional relationships focuses on various elements of communication such as active listening skills, the power of body language and resolving conflicts. Readers will gain insight into how resentment can impede intimacy, as well as what it means when our minds drift aimlessly while someone is speaking.
Known as a handbook to eliminate communication barricades, this book teaches real-world and useful skills. Author Robert Bolton depicts what he considers to be the most common barriers to communication and shows the reader how damaging they can be. Bolton suggests that when you can bypass certain attitudes and emotions such as being defensive, aggressive, or dependent, you can find the path to honest communication.
- Realistic techniques
- Complaints of obvious content
- Complaints of uninspiring advice
The Best Choice
In the case of the best communication book, the best choice would have to be Communication: Communication: Golden Nugget Methods to Communicate Effectively – Interpersonal, Influence, Social Skills, Listening. This book would be the ideal tool for anyone looking to improve their communication skills and enhance their relationships.
A few notable features that set this book apart from the others is that it provides thoughtful information about the importance of consideration when communicating. Also, this book reminds us that communication is a two-way street and it’s impossible to communicate effectively without considering the intended recipient on many levels.
Hands down, this book is the optimal choice if you don’t have a lot of time to spend sifting through reading materials or taking a course on communication, but want an easy-to-read tool for streamlining the process of improving the way you communicate.