Is there value in conversation/communication books?

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get_g0ing
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Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by get_g0ing » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:53 pm

Hello,

I am considering these books:

Say This, Not That (Carl Alasko)
Nonviolent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg)
Crucial Conversations

Have you found any benefit or value in reading these and would recommend them?

Thank you.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by JoeRetire » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:00 pm

get_g0ing wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:53 pm
I am considering these books:

Say This, Not That (Carl Alasko)
Nonviolent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg)
Crucial Conversations

Have you found any benefit or value in reading these and would recommend them?
I personally found absolutely no value in "Crucial Conversations". The book was part of an internal course mandated for all managers by my former employer. It was simply part of the overall MegaCorp "training" nonsense.

The course, and the book, was simply a waste of time and money, IMHO.

Your mileage may vary.
Very Stable Genius

Topic Author
get_g0ing
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by get_g0ing » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:28 am

JoeRetire wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:00 pm
get_g0ing wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:53 pm
I am considering these books:

Say This, Not That (Carl Alasko)
Nonviolent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg)
Crucial Conversations

Have you found any benefit or value in reading these and would recommend them?
I personally found absolutely no value in "Crucial Conversations". The book was part of an internal course mandated for all managers by my former employer. It was simply part of the overall MegaCorp "training" nonsense.

The course, and the book, was simply a waste of time and money, IMHO.

Your mileage may vary.
Hi,
Thank you for the feedback. Can you please explain why you didn't find useful? That might help me decide whether I should get these books or not.

Thanks.

stan1
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by stan1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:39 am

These are books about common sense. If you are a first time supervisor or are new to the workforce you might find the information useful as I did in my 20s. Now that I'm in my 50s with 30 years of workplace experience and my employer insists I reattend soft skills classes like this they are contrived and over simplified. No class has taught me how to deal with employees who have signs of cognitive decline or depression. Every person is an individual and you have to approach each situation as a unique challenge.

If you think this would be useful to you I'd ask your employer to send you to a class. I think soft skills like this are better learned in a facilitated group setting with discussion and exercises that actually involve communication and conversation than reading a book that does not involve communication and conversation. Talking to mentors with experience is also a good option.

CheCha54
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by CheCha54 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:46 am

I have to agree with JoeRetire
I personally found absolutely no value in "Crucial Conversations". The book was part of an internal course mandated for all managers by my former employer. It was simply part of the overall MegaCorp "training" nonsense.

The course, and the book, was simply a waste of time and money, IMHO.

Your mileage may vary.

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SevenBridgesRoad
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:03 am

It's been many years since I read Crucial Conversations. I remember finding it useful. I learned a few things and was able to put a few things I learned into practice with positive results. Admittedly, I'm a book guy and am extremely curious about most topics. I almost always pick up a tidbit of learning.

Businesses screw up badly when they force individuals to go to interpersonal skills training courses. People need to be curious and at least somewhat interested in learning relationship skills. Forced training in these matters will at minimum be wasted and at worst backfire and create cynicism.

Leaders with titles (C-suite folks, mid-level managers) often think training is an answer to a change in culture they would like to see. I have no actual data, but I'll bet this approach almost always fails.
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

gtd98765
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by gtd98765 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:07 am

I have not read any of those books, but after more than 20 years as a people manager, I still keep "Difficult Conversations" by Stone on my desk, and refer to it periodically when I need to counsel people.

lightheir
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by lightheir » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:18 am

I will disagree about crucial conversations. It was one of the best communication books I have read.

retiredjg
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by retiredjg » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:53 am

Is there value in conversation/communication books?
I think there can be a great deal of value in them.

I have not read the books you are considering. I did read (more than once) some books by Deborah Tannen several years ago.

That's Not What I Meant and You Just Don't Understand were both extremely valuable to me in understanding how communication can fail even though all the parties involved are trying hard to communicate truthfully.

One thing I found very helpful was learning to hear what a person was saying rather than what I would be saying if I were using the same words. Eye opening to say the least.

I recommend both of those books highly and likely her other books which I have not read.

gorow
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by gorow » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:03 am

I think Crucial Conversations is very useful, if your intent is to improve your capabilities in this area. As mentioned earlier, when it is forced curriculum for Megacorp, then only those who are actively seeking improvement will find it (or the other books you mentioned) useful.
Any book I am required or directed to read by my employer will only help me if I feel I need to change or adjust my behavior in some way.
Just my two cents.
Retired 1/1/2019. Not concerned about sequence of returns because two years here taught me what I need to know.

gretah
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by gretah » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:15 pm

Collaborating With the Enemy:
How to Work With People You Don't Agree With or Like or Trust
by Adam Kahane

Terrific book, full of practical insights. Very thought-provoking. Author talks about his experiences of getting polarized factions to work together in new ways while not fighting opposing agendas.

Amazing stories about his (and his colleagues') work in Columbia with government officials, guerrilla soldiers, government military, cartel leaders, social changers for one story. More reports from other countries and conflicts.

I came away with tools I can use in everyday work and conversation.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:13 pm

get_g0ing wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:28 am
Thank you for the feedback. Can you please explain why you didn't find useful? That might help me decide whether I should get these books or not.
You would be better served reading a sample chapter or two on Amazon or such. One person's trite, stale, faddish pap might be another person's meaningful insight.

All I'll say is I learned nothing and my company wasted a lot of money on books, videos, and associated training. As far as I could tell nobody in my company learned anything at all. Nothing discernible actually changed. But HR got to check "management training" on their checklist. It was kinda sad.
Very Stable Genius

Dantes
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by Dantes » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:24 pm

A few decades ago I worked in a bookstore. Professional self-help books (which is how I would classify the OP's book list) was a category that sold very well. Each year there would be a few hot titles; a couple of years laster those books couldn't be given away, there were new hot titles - the new titles covered the same topics as the old titles, in the same way, but with different kinds of funky titles. Seven habits. Move my cheese. And so on.

I changed careers; in my new career I was occasionally asked to read one of these types of books. I always ignored those requests. I think they are just so much wastepaper.

bravodelta38
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by bravodelta38 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:59 pm

I feel that affinity for self-improvement/self-help books varies pretty greatly. That being said, to give some perspective on my recommendation: I'm not a big self-help book person. I have read several, and would recommend very few. As with most anything, most of these books have nuggets of useful information. My evaluation of them is based upon how many nuggets there are in a book and how useful/applicable that information is.

I did a Crucial Conversations course through a MegaCorp early in my career, the book was also part of a course in my Master's program (coincidentally, these happened simultaneously). I found Crucial Conversations to be helpful, it is one of the few books that I recommend. I most typically recommend it to employees who are early in their career. I manage a team of customer facing engineers, many of whom are recent graduates. I have also recommended the book, or portions of it, to other individuals on the team.

I think the whole book is worth a read because it isn't a time consuming read. For any individual, I think there are different sections that may be of use, spend a bit more time on the useful sections for you.

If I were to recommend a section, it would be the section about how all people generate stories based on their experiences and interactions and how you need to understand both your story and theirs. This has been helpful for me in many difficult conversations and, I feel, is applicable in nearly every interaction.

megaroth
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by megaroth » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:01 am

Nonviolent Communication is excellent - one of the best that I've read on this subject.

Crucial Conversations was OK but seemed like a watered-down mix of Nonviolent Communication and Getting to Yes (a classic on negotiation that you've likely already read).

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get_g0ing
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Re: Is there value in conversation/communication books?

Post by get_g0ing » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:33 am

gtd98765 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:07 am
I have not read any of those books, but after more than 20 years as a people manager, I still keep "Difficult Conversations" by Stone on my desk, and refer to it periodically when I need to counsel people.
I took a look at Difficult Conversations books, looks very similar to Crucial Conversation.
I'm guessing they are interchangeable.

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