Presentation Skills: Recommended reading

By Carolyn Crawford

We often get asked for our top communications books. So below is a short-list of some of our faves:

  1.  “People Skills” by Robert Bolton – I reckon I go back to this book at least once a year. Great coverage of: the Barriers to Communication; Listening Skills; Assertion Skills; and Conflict Management Skills. Beautifully written. The author practices in writing what he preaches.
  2. “Dynamic Writing” by Nick Souter – while this is ostensibly about writing, this book directly  reinforces tools we cover in our both our Simply Influencing and Simply Presenting workshops. I don’t fully agree with everything he says but it’s clear, straightforward, thought-provoking in places, and a nice example of a good piece of writing that effectively gets his message across! Topics include: understanding communication; understanding our reader; tailoring our communication utilising the NBI; structuring our communication to ensure succinctness and focus; drafting, redrafting and editing.
  3. “Secrets of Facilitation” by Michael Wilkinson – Our Simply Facilitating workshop draws on much of Wilkinson’s work. Specifically relevant if you’re regularly running meetings or workshops. Some great ideas for: preparing your questions and format; opening clearly and strongly; keeping the focus; gathering the right information; managing the time; and managing the people. Chock-a –block with case studies and examples that make it meaningful.
  4. “Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott – strong focus on making every conversation a quality conversation that furthers your relationship. Excellent themes around courage; being fully present; being real; allowing space and taking responsibility. Great stuff.
  5. “7 Habit of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey – an oldie but a goodie. Clearly not exclusively about communications but Covey gives deep thought to the issue of the intention behind communication, the need to have your own house in order first and foremost, and of course covers beautifully the area of “seeking first to understand”.
  6. “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini – I can’t put it better than the book cover: “Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say ‘yes’ – and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behaviour has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.”

There you go. Half a dozen of the best!

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