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The Communicator’s Christmas Tree

Posted by on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - with 2 comments

As we careen into the holiday season, here are my top suggestions for books to offer communicators this Christmas:

Different – Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

A thoughtful, fresh examination of the concept of differentiation. Youngme Moon is a rising star at the Harvard School of Business. She has a beautiful, distinctive writing style that is incisive and thought provoking. Moon expertly uses anecdotes and stories to challenge conventional wisdom on how differentiation works. A must-read for communicators and marketers interested in innovation.

Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath

A refreshingly pragmatic and practical look at the often nebulous field of change management. The Heath Brothers introduce a simple but powerful framework for change that is applicable in business, social organizations, or interpersonal relationships. The book comes with an add-on of free online resources and tools – great advice, expertly packaged for ease of implementation. Since communicators working in either internal or external roles are always in the business of change, this book ranks high on my list for any communications pro.

Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce by Christopher Rice

A great resource for internal communications professionals, this book introduces a step-by-step model for enhancing employee engagement. The book expertly combines practical advice for practitioners with insights aimed at the C-Suite. If you have to convince your executives about the value of employee engagement, this book may be just the secret weapon you need.

Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

One of the most controversial books of the year, this one makes the list because of its relevance to the female-dominated communications industry. To a large extent, communicators live or die by their consultative skills, and their ability to engage effectively with internal and external clients. Sandberg’s book offers a candid and helpful perspective on becoming aware of behaviours that may be holding us back, and how women professionals can take intentional steps to set ourselves up for success.

The End of Membership As We Know It – Building the Fortune-Flipping, Must-Have Association of the Future by Sara Sladek

This is a must-read handbook for any communicator working in the association or not for profit sector. The book offers a sobering perspective on the death of the traditional association model, and introduces some practical advice and case studies on value creation and member engagement.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo

Presentation skills are a core competency for communications professionals, particularly those with an eye to leadership roles. This is hands-down the most effective presentation guide I’ve come across. Gallo deconstructs Steve Jobs’ classic presentation structure and introduces a simple step-by-step process to use the model in developing more effective, attention-grabbing presentations. This book has been tremendously valuable to me in offering a framework for developing presentations quickly, using a repeatable and reliable structure that works.

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink.

I know many communicators may bristle at the idea that we’re in “sales”, but let’s face it – communications is about trying to move new ideas or behaviours forward. This entertaining book argues that we’re all in sales now, and puts forth some practical advice on engaging and persuading effectively.

What titles would you add to the list?

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, and all the very best for 2014.


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