I am a new associate at a mid-size firm and am realizing that communicating strategically is a huge weakness for me. I think a lot of this is societal (it’s ingrained in me as a woman to be agreeable and not make a fuss), and based on my personality (I believe everyone is telling me the truth and I am conflict averse). I hope that I can build this skill with experience, but I’d rather learn from a book or mentor than by trial and error. What are the best books or other resources for this?We recently reached out to three women who’ve thought about these issues a lot and asked them to recommend helpful resources to help you become a better communicator: Jodi Glickman: Jodi is an entrepreneur, public speaker, and consultant in Chicago. She recommended her book, Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It, as well as a book she calls “a classic” for handling workplace conflict, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Lisa Abramson: Lisa is an executive coach and entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay area and is co-founder of the Mindfulness Based Achievement program. She recommended Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg for “practical and easy to apply wisdom that can help you communicate more effectively,” as well as The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Klemp. Mary Anne Shew: Mary Anne is an entrepreneur and executive coach in Rochester, NY, who helps her clients with leadership development and productivity strategies. Here are the several books she recommended for Reader L (and other Corporette readers):
- Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work by Deborah Tannen: “explores male-female communication styles in corporate and business situations.”
- Leadership Conversations: Challenging High Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders by Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz: “does a superb job of breaking [leadership communication] into actionable steps.”
- Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt: “Learn how to craft a good strategy — for both personal and professional goals.”
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck: “If you are having trouble getting an idea across, consider what mindset you have versus that of the others in the room.”
- The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace: Know What Boosts Your Value, Kills Your Chances, and Will Make You Happier by Cy Wakeman: “This is the best approach I’ve seen in a long time for success at work.”
- 78 Questions Every Leader Should Ask and Answer by Chris Clarke-Epstein: “This has great questions to ask in many situations common across all sizes and types of companies.”
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: “The issue may not be that you are a woman but that you tend to be introverted. … Even if you feel you are extroverted, her communication ideas and advice may still help.”
- Try to ascertain your communication style with something like DiSC (which we mentioned in our recent personality tests post).
- Before a meeting or other situation in which communication is key, think about “what you want to achieve, who will be present, what they want to achieve.”
- “When you speak, ask a really great question instead of always promoting an idea … something that stops people cold, makes them sit back and look at you with wonder while they ponder what you ask.”
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.