10 helpful books for boosting your communication skills at work

10 helpful books for boosting your communication skills at work

In Reading Lists by Molly Hurford

10 helpful books for boosting your communication skills at work

Whatever your role, being able to communicate clearly and effectively is one of the most important tools you can master in the workplace. There isn’t just one simple list of rules to learn and you’re done; instead, the way we communicate is ever-changing. Some of us may even remember when emojis didn’t exist, and certainly weren’t part of inter-office communications. Whether you’re giving a presentation, running a meeting, or responding to emails, these resources will come in handy.

While it’s tempting to assume there’s one specific ‘businesslike’ way of communicating, we all know better than that: Some bosses require a more formal vibe, while others are more relaxed and small-talk oriented. In Surrounded by Idiots, Erikson breaks down communicators into four different types and explains how each type operates in the business world. He also shares how to most effectively communicate with each in a fun, accessible way (not surprising, given the title).

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For a straightforward primer on business communication that’s focused on getting your message across to potential customers and getting co-workers on board with your ideas, this audiobook from the Harvard Business Review delivers. It contains recommendations for all types of communication, from public speaking to drafting a proposal that will actually get read to sending emails that will garner speedy replies.

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Maybe the key to effective, efficient business communication isn’t about how you speak to someone, or craft an email: It’s about how you listen. Goulston a psychiatrist, business consultant, and coach, argues that listening is the secret to smooth business communication. Make your boss, co-worker or client feel heard and understood, and you’ll be better positioned to effectively communicate your ideas.

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Giving a big presentation at work? Gallo has studied and interviewed the top TED Talk speakers to figure out their special sauce when it comes to delivering a short, compelling presentation that effectively communicates big ideas. No matter how good your idea is, your ability to sell it is what’ll give it traction. Gallo creates a simple, step-by-step method to help you emulate the greats and present with confidence and purpose. 

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At first glance, small talk doesn’t seem like an important part of business communications. But being able to make casual conversation before a meeting or at a corporate event can be hugely beneficial for your career. It can also make work a little more fun. In this short book, Sanderson explains how to relax into small talk and make conversation in any situation. It’s practical and includes things you can do to enhance small talk without actually talking. Body language, listening techniques, and reading your conversational partner are all important facets of making great small talk.

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Struggling to have ’that’ conversation with your boss? Whether you want to ask for a raise, make a complaint, or put your name in the ring for that big promotion, it can be hard to just start the conversation. Headlee gets it: Her TED Talk on the topic has garnered over 10 million views. In We Need to Talk, she helps people get to the root of why we shy away from tough conversations, and learn how to make them happen. One tip: Put down your phone and stop multitasking if you want to make a meaningful conversation happen.

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It’s a sad-but-true fact that women still make up a low number of CEO positions in the U.S., and for many women in the workforce, communication can be a huge problem. Women are more likely to preface statements with phrases like "I'm sorry,” or "Excuse me,” which Sankar argues strips you of authority and credibility. She offers some practical tips for better, firmer communication that will allow your expertise to shine through, including some great advice for negotiations at work.

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Don’t let 92 tricks stress you out: It only takes a few minutes to read this Snapshot of the best techniques from Carnegie, the world-renowned relationship expert and author of How to Win Friends and Influence People. Take the 10 minutes to skim this Snapshot for tips on how to create successful relationships in life and business through conversation.

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In The Elevated Communicator, O’Brien focuses on leveling up your communication skills in the office. There’s no secret vocabulary to learn, though. She argues that authenticity and letting your personality shine is key to building trust with employees and employers alike. Good communication isn’t just a productivity tool, it’s essential for a healthy, thriving workplace where people are actually happy. Through that lens, it’s clear that work communication matters for more than just the bottom line.

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Communication now extends far beyond how you speak to your coworkers. Written communication has replaced most of our work chatter, from actual meetings replaced by email to watercolor gossip replaced by Slack. Because of that, McLeod’s guide discusses writing just as much as it delves into speaking. She doesn’t assume all writing is created equal: Effective emails look different from effective texts. She also has advice for cultivating strong relationships when you don’t share an office, which is more relevant than ever.

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About the Author: Molly Hurford

Molly is a writer and bookworm in love with all things wellness related. When not playing outside, she’s writing or podcasting about being outside and healthy habits for The Consummate Athlete. She also writes books, including the Shred Girls series. In her spare time, she runs, rides bikes, and hikes with her mini-dachshund and husband.
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