Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 26, 2018

13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships

13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships

If you are having trouble communicating with your family and friends, you are not alone. Communications, whether it is written or oral, is one of the most complicated and feared skills.

Regardless of how powerful or smart some people may appear, many harbor insecurities around how they write or how they communicate in front of other. But effective communications skills is a must for the individual and the company. In fact, companies are better positioned to thrive when they have a clear message and communications strategy that outlines who they are in the world, what they want to be known for and what sets them apart. And executives who can move others to action with their words are beloved.

Often when we think of skills, we focus on hard skills. But being able to communicate well is one of the most important soft skills you can develop and it is also a key determinant to success. Think of your doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant, sitter, or your child’s teacher. Your relationship with these individuals, and your confidence in them, is influenced by how well they communicate.

Arguably, communications can make or break the company or the leader. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources to help you improve in this area. A host of communications books focus on everything from how you write, how you speak, how you communicate with your family and friends, and how you use communications to advocate for issues important to you.

The books are impactful whether you are a born communicator, or whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. They will help whether you are struggling to find and assert your voice in personal or professional relationships or whether you are struggling to maintain appropriate boundaries at work and home. I have broken the list up into books that are especially centered around communicating at work, and books that apply to your communications and social skills at work and at home.

Books on Communicating at Work

1. Never Eat Alone

    Never Eat Alone is one of my favorite books. Author Keith Ferrazi highlights the importance of cultivating mutually beneficial relationships and makes a strong case for how those relationships can propel one to extraordinary success.

    For someone like me, who is part introvert and part extrovert, the book is a reminder to be intentional in building relationships. It is easy to rely on the people with whom I already have a relationship but expanding one’s circle is not only a good idea, it’s essential to career and professional growth.

    What I love most about the book, is Ferrazi not only tells you what to do, he walks readers through “how to do it.” There are several practical tips for cultivating relationships and powerful anecdotes on how doing so can change one’s life.

    Get the book here!

    2. On Becoming Fearless

      Ariana Huffington’s “On Becoming Fearless” was also transformative. She covers everything from becoming fearless in the workplace to passionately pursuing one’s personal calling.

      The truth is fear is a common reality for many of our lives. We allow fear to keep us from reaching for our dreams, keep us from speaking our truth, or remain in unhealthy situations.

      Drawing from her own experiences, Huffington walks readers through strategies for confronting and overcoming fear.

      Get the book here!

      Advertising

      3. Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide

        If you are interested in learning strategies for promoting your work and ideas, my own book is an excellent resource.

        The book highlights case studies from actual social justice campaigns and the strategies me and my team used to place important issues on reporters’ radars. The book also focuses on how to cultivate relationships with reporters, who can have an outsize impact on how the world, including your audience, views you and your work.

        Get the book here!

        4. How to Win Friends and Influence People

          Written in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a timeless treasure. It is one of the best selling books ever.

          The book focuses on strategies for creating and maintaining powerful relationships. This is key because your success is directly tied to the relationships you cultivate and the power of those relationships.

          He discusses principles such as appealing to what is in your colleague’s interest rather than focusing narrowly on your own self-interest, the importance of memorizing the names of others, and the lost art of listening.

          Carnegie focuses on the power of being genuinely interested in other people, which is critical. The book is a reminder that people will accept your advice, act on your recommendations if they like you and IF they believe you like them. They will not follow you based solely on your leadership position or your rank in an organization.

          There are so many communications gems in this book, that it deserves an article unto itself. Suffice it to say, this is a book you should buy yesterday. It is seriously that good.

          Get the book here!

          5. Words that Work

            Frank Luntz’s “Words that Work” is the last book I’ve read on communications. It is juicy. Luntz brilliantly describes that people hear what you say through the lens of their own experience.

            Communication is less about what you say, and more about what people hear. It is therefore important to focus on what people are likely to hear to sidestep saying the wrong thing or having your message misconstrued. This is why certain words are deeply triggering for certain communities.

            Once you use triggering or loaded words, nothing else you say matters. Your audience will get stuck and miss your entire message.

            Advertising

            Again, this book is a must read for all people who value communications and whose job depends on communicating well.

            Get the book here!

            6. Crucial Conversations

              I am learning that we live in a society where telling the truth, especially unsolicited truth, is not always welcome. In fact, it takes tremendous courage to be direct and tell the truth.

              In my profession, I routinely am asked to give feedback when people I work with have media interviews. A person’s ability to improve, with the media or otherwise, is directly correlated to the coaching and feedback they receive, but that doesn’t necessarily make telling the truth easier.

              When commentators, reporters or even political leaders tell the truth as they see it, they sometimes face harsh criticism. However, no relationship works without each party having the freedom and the space to tell the truth in love.

              “Crucial Conversations” is a road map to having difficult but necessary conversations in the workplace and at home. If you are seeking to improve your social skills or communicate unpleasant information, “Crucial Conversations” is a must-read. The fact is most of us are coached not to tell the truth, so training in this area is beneficial.

              Get the book here!

              7. Leadership Presence

                “Leadership Presence” by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar is a gem. I was introduced to this book during an executive coaching session 10 years ago. I was struggling with how to develop gravitas and how to communicate while having force of presence.

                This was one of the books my coach, Sheryl Phillips, recommended. What I appreciated most about this book is the importance of nonverbals in communication and the strategies it offers to develop leadership presence.

                Get the book here!

                Books on Communicating at Home

                8. The Power of Now

                  Eckart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” was transformative. He outlines how to remain present with one’s thoughts and present situations.

                  There have been many times when I have reacted to things that happened in the past or things that could possibly happen in the future. Such ruminations are a major contributor to internal suffering. They also inhibit us from being fully present in the lives of our family and friends.

                  Advertising

                  For this reason, I strongly recommend the age-old and evergreen, The Power of Now.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. Five Love Languages

                    We are all created in the image of God. We express our love and God’s image differently.

                    In Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages,” Chapman explores the importance of understanding not only our own love language, but our family and friends’ love language as well. The book identifies the five love languages as “words of affirmation,” “acts of service,” “receiving gifts,” “quality time,” and “physical touch.”

                    For instance, my love language is two-fold, “quality time” and “acts of service.” If a person wants to communicate their love for me, they should both spend time with me and perform acts of service. My sister on the other hand values time. She is giddy when I invest time with her and her family. When I have attempted to offer gifts in lieu of time, our relationship suffered. The best way for me to express love to her is to offer uninterrupted time. That means time when I am not doing other things such as playing on my cell phone, working or otherwise being physically present but mentally occupied.

                    You cannot have a healthy relationship at work or home without understanding what the people around you need to feel valued and respected. For this reason, I strongly recommend The Five Love Languages.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. Boundaries

                      Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries” is a timeless relationship book. It is essential because boundaries inform people how they should and should not behave in your life.

                      For persons who have suffered childhood abuse, it can be difficult to establish or know when one’s boundaries have been violated. However, you cannot have a healthy relationship without creating guardrails that keep you safe and inform people how they can show up in your life.

                      Often, anger is an indication that a boundary has been violated. When I have peeled back the onion, I sometimes realize that I was not clear with boundaries.

                      Get the book here!

                      11. The Four Agreements

                        Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” is a must-read for everyone seeking enlightenment and restoration in relationships. It is also essential for persons seeking to end personal suffering caused by endless rumination.

                        Advertising

                        In sum, the four agreements, are to 1. Take nothing personally, 2. be impeccable with your word, 3. don’t make assumptions and 4. always do your best. In addition to the book, the teachings are also available in a compact card deck which offers daily reflections.

                        Get the book here!

                        Books on Written Communication

                        12. On Writing

                          Since I’m a professional communicator, I don’t think it’s possible to write an article on communications and social skills without discussing writing.

                          Regardless of what you do, or who you are, at some point you will need to put ideas and thoughts to paper. From standard office correspondence, to long-form essays, to business documents, and reports, you are bound to write.

                          One of the most inspiring and helpful books on writing I’ve ever read is Stephen King’s “On Writing.” He covers everything from the mechanics of writing to his personal journey with the written word. The book is humorous, easy to digest and inspiring.

                          Get the book here!

                          13. Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life

                            Bell Hooks is one of the most prolific writers of all times. Like Stephen King, she produces full manuscripts the way many of us communicate via text message – nonstop. “Wounds of Passion: The Writing Life” focuses on hooks’s early career as a writer and the process she followed to produce some of her earliest works.

                            Like King’s “On Writing,” Hooks’ book is somewhat autobiographical as it provides insight into her journey and, well, writing life. She documents the trials she experienced, including an abusive relationship, while she was discovering herself as a writer.

                            If you are serious about effective communications, and need help demystifying the process, these books are required reading.

                            Get the book here!

                            While there are several books on this list, I recommend each of them as necessary for developing better social skills and better relationships.

                            Featured photo credit: Josh Felise via unsplash.com

                            More by this author

                            Jennifer R. Farmer

                            An author and public relations expert specializes in helping socially-conscious entrepreneurs, celebrities and activists

                            How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 9 Powerful Techniques to Help You Build Rapport with Anyone

                            Trending in Social Animal

                            1 An Expert Parenting Guide to Dealing with Toddler Tantrums 2 How to Go Through Different Stages of Relationships and Keep the Peace 3 How to Enjoy Parenting Teens and Help Your Kids Thrive 4 When to Talk About Marriage If You Want to Take it to the Next Level 5 How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

                            Read Next

                            Advertising
                            Advertising
                            Advertising

                            Last Updated on April 23, 2019

                            13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

                            13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

                            Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

                            Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

                            My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

                            To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

                            You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

                            Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

                            “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

                            “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

                            “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

                            “I don’t deserve happiness”

                            EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

                            Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

                            Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

                            This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

                            If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

                            1. Happy People Put Happiness First

                            Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

                            Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

                            To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

                            The happy person asks,

                            “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

                            Advertising

                            “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

                            They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

                            If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

                            Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

                            If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

                            2. Happy People Embrace Pain

                            I know what you are thinking –

                            “No one is ALWAYS happy”

                            or …

                            “Even happy people get in bad moods”

                            and …

                            These statements are absolutely accurate.

                            Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

                            Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

                            Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

                            Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

                            When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

                            3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

                            We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

                            The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

                            How are you currently defining yourself?

                            For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

                            Advertising

                            When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

                            When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

                            Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

                            Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

                            If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

                            4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

                            The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

                            Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

                            Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

                            They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

                            5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

                            Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

                            However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

                            We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

                            If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

                            What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

                            Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

                            They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

                            What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

                            These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

                            6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

                            Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

                            Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

                            Advertising

                            Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

                            A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

                            A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

                            7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

                            Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

                            Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

                            We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

                            In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

                            8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

                            What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

                            What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

                            Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

                            When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

                            9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

                            Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

                            It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

                            Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

                            Negativity is NOT normal.

                            The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

                            Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

                            In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

                            10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

                            The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

                            They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

                            Advertising

                            The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

                            Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

                            If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

                            11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

                            Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

                            Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

                            It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

                            Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

                            12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

                            Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

                            It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

                            Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

                            13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

                            When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

                            Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

                            Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

                            In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

                            If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

                            I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

                            It starts with one decision – happiness.

                            The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

                            Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

                            Read Next