Experts Tell Us the Best Books on Communication Strategy

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2 years ago
This article showcases our top picks for the Books on Communication Strategy. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

This product was recommended by Cornelius Fichtner from PM Exam Simulator

This book is a guide into all the ways we fail to communicate – or correctly understand our communications – with strangers. In it, Malcolm Gladwell covers common types of miscommunication. He also explains how these are leveraged for personal gain by politicians, criminals, leaders, and others. The examples can be dramatic and intense, but the fundamental lesson is that miscommunication can be incredibly dangerous. Another key lesson is staying tolerant and patient with others, especially when you don’t know them. Both are valuable communication strategies.

4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work–Anywhere! by Bento C. Leal III

This product was recommended by Ty Gibson from Gibson Hill PC

This is a book that I highly recommend to my peers. It is full of useful information that can be put to practical use with ease, helping you develop better communication strategies so that you are able to communicate effectively every single time.

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo

This product was recommended by Jacquelyn Kennedy from PetDT

This book puts the emphasis on teaching managers how to manage through communication and empathy. Leading a team can be bewildering, especially when you are young, and new to the managing game. Having to communicate with a range of different people in different roles is often the downfall of new managers, but having this book in your roster teaches you all the ins and outs of communication styles. Zhou will help you to communicate quickly and effectively, building rapport and achieving success.

Integrated Marketing Communication by Robyn Blakeman

This product was recommended by Marc Bromhall from Surf’s Up Magazine

The author, Robyn Blakeman, covers all communication categories, including social media, alternative media, digital media, public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing, and all forms of traditional media. His primary focus is on bilateral customer relationship building which few other books in this category mention.

Crisis Communication Strategies by Amanda Coleman

This product was recommended by Megan Moore from Photography-Lighting

While this book’s main focus is discussing how to communicate amidst a crisis, I do think that the lessons taught are applicable to any type of communication we may face. This is because Coleman presents a whole host of case studies to make the concepts easy to understand in different situations, and she also places a huge focus on how communication and HR professionals can keep their businesses afloat through communication. After all, they are the voice of the people!

Critical Conversations as Leadership by William Donohue

This product was recommended by Susan Stitt from Front Edge Publishing

Effective leaders are good communicators. In Critical Conversations as Leadership, Dr. William A. Donohue describes conversation as a card game called Card Talk. The key to successful business communication and interpersonal communication is to select the right Talk Cards in the right situations to accomplish your communication goals. Critical Conversations as Leadership will walk you through the process of selecting the right card or cards, so that you can think strategically about how to get your points across. Card Talk teaches communicators to think strategically and to think ahead of critical conversations and to not ‘think behind’ or reactively. The Leader Card is fundamental to playing and winning conversation games, as is learning when and how it should be played. In addition to the Leader Card, business professionals need a large deck of both personal and professional cards to give them the flexibility they need to play communication games effectively. Casual conversation creates the foundation upon which problem-solving and conflict evolves. Knowing which cards to use in the Casual Conversation Game is an important factor in successful conversation. Playing the Decision-making Game, especially in a group situation, requires many different cards to be played. Critical Conversations as Leadership teaches when to use the Leadership Card, the Colleague card, The Expert Card and many others to promote a team atmosphere and allow individuals to freely exchange information. Negotiating is often adversarial, it does not have to be. Learning how to resolve conflict allows effective leaders to communicate in a collaborative and successful way. Performance appraisals often dreaded by both the employer and the employee. Playing The Performance Appraisal Game effectively will allow leaders to painlessly inspire and energize their team members in order to get the most out of each employee. Effective presentations require multiple cards be played along with the right combination of digital and personal media to reach and acquire an audience’s attention. Learning the five rules for structuring the Presenting Game allow presenters make an effective presentation that will assist with problem-solving and generate a discussion about effective solutions. The most important expectation that followers have of leaders is that they lay out a vision for the organization. Readers will learn how to play the Vision Game, the communication effort needed to sell and sustain their vision. Thanks in part to the internet, today’s customers expect to interact with companies. Customers play a variety of cards and companies need to know how to respond effectively. Playing the Customer Engagement Game requires a wide range of personal and professional cards so that customers feel welcomed and that their input is valued. Effective communication requires learning what an out-side-in company is and what the key cultural elements are that must be addressed to become more customer-centric. Finally, realizing that mistakes happen to even the most seasoned veterans of critical conversations, it is important to be aware of the most common mistakes that can happen during tense interactions. The final chapter of Critical Conversations as Leadership will walk you through these common mistakes and prepare you for successful critical conversations.

StoryBrand by Donald Miller

This product was recommended by Kristina Bleiler from Gem Creative Co.

For communication, marketing, and branding specialists, this book gives a great framework for how to connect with the people you are trying to reach. It highlights the psychology behind why we make decisions — to find solutions to our deeper human needs.

The Communication Strategy Handbook by Peter Lang

This product was recommended by Christina Russo from The Kitchen Community

Lang deconstructs and rebuilds the basic precepts of communication strategy and effectively explains them and how they can be used in everyday situations to generate success. This book helped me to build a six-figure business from scratch and transformed my life. And if it can do it for me, it can do it for you.

Ignite a Shift by Stephen McGarvey

This product was recommended by Jane Reilly from Smith Publicity, Inc.

“Ignite a Shift is a skillfully woven book, combining various communication techniques for persuading and influencing others with inspiring stories to help the reader realize that with a bit of practice, they too can become adept at gaining rapport, encouraging others, and acquiring the delicate art of negotiating (whether it be with toddlers or CEOs).” — Rhonda Stone, Bibliophile

Made to Stick by Chip Heath

This product was recommended by Shaun Connell from ShaunConnell

Successful communication is successful because the conversation has the power to stick with someone even long after the interaction. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, is a strategy book that focuses on how to influence someone so that they remember you, your ideas, a conversation or a story. You cannot have good ideas if you cannot convey them properly to someone, which means the communication you have is useless. This book helps you to be able to build up confidence and the right words to have a successful conversation with someone. It helps you to pick up tricks and tips to communicate effectively and use this in your everyday life. This book is a must for anyone in the business world, or who may simply have trouble getting the right words out.

Principles of Strategic Communication by Derina Holtzhausen

This product was recommended by Jason Cordes from CocoLoan

This book offers the essential ideas of strategic communication and its foundational disciplines of advertising, public relations, and marketing communications to support the paradigm change in media and communication. The work introduces students to strategic communication theories while also describing how to use them in everyday practice, drawing on the most recent research in the field.

ISE Experiencing Intercultural Communication by Judith N. Martin

This product was recommended by Jason Cordes from CocoLoan

Experiencing Intercultural Communication gives students a foundation to build their intercultural communication skills. It emphasizes the practical, experiencing character of intercultural communication and provides strong, practical guidance to assist students to address the intricacies of intercultural communication, drawing on social psychology techniques, ethnographic research, and modern critical media studies.

Theorizing Crisis Communication by Timothy L. Sellnow

This product was recommended by Jason Cordes from CocoLoan

Explore the major theories within crisis communication in this fully revised and updated edition of Theorizing Crisis Communication. Theorizing Crisis Communication is a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of current and emerging theoretical frameworks for explaining the emergence, management, and outcomes of natural and human-caused crises.

We Need to Talk by Celeste Headlee

This product was recommended by Erica Tan from Best in Singapore

We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.” (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals. And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication

Digital Body Language by Erica Dhawan

This product was recommended by Erica Tan from Best in Singapore

Humans rely on body language to connect and build trust, but with most of our communication happening from behind a screen, traditional body language signals are no longer visible — or are they? In Digital Body Language, Erica Dhawan, a go-to thought leader on collaboration and a passionate communication junkie, combines cutting edge research with engaging storytelling to decode the new signals and cues that have replaced traditional body language across genders, generations, and culture. In real life, we lean in, uncross our arms, smile, nod and make eye contact to show we listen and care. Online, reading carefully is the new listening. Writing clearly is the new empathy. And a phone or video call is worth a thousand emails. Digital Body Language will turn your daily misunderstandings into a set of collectively understood laws that foster connection, no matter the distance. Dhawan investigates a wide array of exchanges―from large conferences and video meetings to daily emails, texts, IMs, and conference calls―and offers insights and solutions to build trust and clarity to anyone in our ever changing world.

Unleash the Power of Storytelling by Rob Biesenbach

This product was recommended by Dave Polykoff from Zenpost

Read this book, and you will be intrigued by the power of storytelling. Storytelling is a unique and highly effective communication strategy that can completely transform the way you convey your ideas through words. The book covers how stories work and how they should be structured. Every story has characters, challenges, and goals. The communicator has to create a certain blend of these three elements to make the story impactful and trigger an emotional response. You can use the power of storytelling to align your team with a specific strategy or reinforce your brand by focusing not just on what you do but on why you do it. This book has great value to anyone interested in communicating with others, motivating, and encouraging them. Let this book coach you to become a great storyteller and impact the world around you.

Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg

This product was recommended by Jason Baker from Emerald House Cleaning

This book offers a lot of good information on communication. It asserts that the way you converse with people and listen to them affects the depth of the relationship you share with them. The tips mentioned in this book can make you a better communicator in your personal and work life. The main strategy is to speak slowly and briefly, pause for the other party to respond, and listen to them deeply. Slow speaking gives you time to orchestrate the right words and keeps you in control of the communication. And active listening gives you greater insight into the other person’s mind, providing you an upper hand during conversations. Overall, the book is a good reminder on how to communicate effectively to build trust and strong relationships. It will be a valuable addition to your communication skills.

Power Questions by Andrew Sobel

This product was recommended by Charles Cridland from YourParkingSpace

The message of this book is to ask strong questions and gain insights into a problem. This forces you to think, deepen your relationships or solve a problem. The book proposes a few power questions, all extremely practical and can be easily integrated into your day-to-day communications. All chapters have a summary section so you can collect all the key points you read through the chapter or just go through the summary if you decide to skip reading the entire chapter. The book has more than thirty real-life conversations with CEOs, billionaires, colleagues, and friends. Each story has its way of illustrating the power of asking the right questions. A power question can add deeper meaning to your communications and even become the difference between success and failure in meeting your goals.

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander

This product was recommended by Shawn Plummer from The Annuity Expert

The two authors of this book are a former conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and a psychotherapist. You get a lot of great advice regarding teaching alongside research-backed insights into being an effective communicator. The key concept in this book is passion: How to communicate passion in everything you say or do, and how to inspire it in others. The twelve concepts you’ll learn in this book are not easily forgotten and are focused entirely on what works best in a professional environment, leaving the fluff behind.

Influence by Robert Cialdini

This product was recommended by Leanna Serras from FragranceX

I really love the research-backed insights in this book. There were so many moments where I thought ah, so that’s why people do this! Cialdini gives you insight into why people act the way they do, how you can respond for maximum effectiveness, and ways to make your thinking even more perceptive. The field studies the author took on to create his work are very impactful in helping you communicate more effectively to get what you need and want from your career.

Platform by Michael Hyatt

This product was recommended by Phillip Akhzar from Arka

One solid book on communication strategy is “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World,” by Michael Hyatt. In the book, Hyatt discusses how to build bigger platforms to reach a broader audience. Additionally, he emphasizes how uniqueness and differentiation from the competition are critical to brand awareness.

Brand Media Strategy by Antony Young

This product was recommended by Stephen Light from Nolah Mattress

This book is a fantastic all-round resource and primer on communication in the digital age. With a sharp focus on integrative communications, the author provides an excellent overview of the most essential digital communication tools, approaches and tricks. The teachings here are elegant and sophisticated, without being obtuse or detached from their practical applications.

Improv(e) Your Conversations by Patrick King

This product was recommended by Logan Mallory from Motivosity

Improv(e) Your Conversations teaches the ingenious rules of improv comedy that allow performers to turn boring prompts into memorable interactions worthy of standing ovations. This means there are real frameworks and templates to escape interview mode small talk – and start connecting and building rapport from the moment you say “Hello”. This book goes through over 15 of the most helpful and insightful improv comedy techniques with countless real-life examples to make you a great talker.

Media Relations Handbook for Government, Associations, Nonprofits, and Elected Officials, 2e by Bradford Fitch

This product was recommended by Sabrina Childress-Miller from Sabrina Childress Enterprises

This book has all the elements of an actionable and practical guide for communications professionals. In addition, it’s a great go-to for reminders, tips, and tricks for a rapidly changing media landscape. Although the entities specifically referenced are Government, Associations, Nonprofits, and Elected Officials, this handbook works wonders for small companies’ public relations strategies.

Strategic Integrated Marketing Communications by Larry Percy

This product was recommended by David Scott from Neutypechic

How to Develop Integrated Communication Plans that Deliver Results – *This book is perfect for small business owners who want to develop results-oriented communication plans that align with their business goals. It takes you through the process of creating a communication plan step-by-step and includes various helpful tools and templates. I think this book would benefit small business owners looking to improve their communication strategies.

David Friedland

Bit of a gear addict.

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