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Communication is what we do every day, day in and day out in the workplace. Communication with colleagues is what makes the difference between people taking you seriously, doing what you ask (without too many hassling), and being able to influence others.
It is worth taking some time to think about how you can improve your communication skills at work. Books are a great way for you to learn new techniques and see how others use them.
Here are my recommendations for the best books about communication in the workplace.
1. Crucial Conversations: Tools to Talk When There are High Stakes
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, McGraw-Hill
This book has been sold over 5 million times and has thousands of Amazon reviews.
Although you might think that the title is about difficult conversations at work with others, there is also a section on how you should respond to someone starting a critical conversation. It’s always a good idea to consider how you might respond!
This book has been updated to reflect digital communication so make sure you have the most recent edition.
Best for: Keeping a conversation on the right track, even when things don’t go your way
2. Message not received: Why business communication is broken and how to fix it
Phil Simon (Wiley)
This book is well-thumbed. It’s fact-packed and well-researched. Simon’s goal is to make sure you can translate jargon into terms that people understand and can use.
Although the section on life beyond email remains relevant, your workplace may feel more collaborative since the 2020 pandemic.
Best for: Understanding the reasons communication is failing in the workplace and what you can do to fix it
3. Communication with Impact: Shut up and Listen
Theo Theobald (Palgrave Macmillan), Cary Cooper
This book will help identify the type of communicator that you are. It covers listening, persuasion and reading, as well as writing and talking. However, it is more about writing than any other type of comms. It’s probably a good thing, considering how much writing we do at work for communication.
Although the chapter on ‘rules and the tools’ feels a little out of date, the majority of the book is solid, practical advice that will help to communicate with confidence.
Best for: Practical how to’ tips
4. Can we talk? Seven Principles to Manage Difficult Conversations at work
Roberta Chinsky Matuson (Kogan Page)
This book shows you how to create the right environment for meaningful and worthwhile discussions, even when workplace conversations can be difficult and the stakes are high. It contains tips and examples from people who have successfully navigated difficult conversations (as well examples from those who failed).
This book can be your guide to having difficult conversations at work.
Best for: Preparing yourself for difficult conversations
5. Human-Centered Communication: A Business Case against Digital Pollution
Stephen Pacinelli (Greenleaf), and Ethan Beute
Virtual working is something you will be familiar with if you spend a lot time on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. These platforms can distract us from the important conversations we have at work.
This book argues that being more intentional and personal is the best way to build relationships and secure revenue. These authors offer guidance on how to communicate with colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders so that you can be more effective in your workplace communication.
Best for: Learning how you can be more confident and clear in a virtual environment
6. Neurodiversity at Work: A Neurodiverse Workforce can drive innovation, performace and productivity
Amanda Kirby (Kogan Page), and Theo Smith