As young adults, many of us recognize that we need to communicate better. Maybe you fight too much with your spouse. Or you feel like your friends never listen to you. Perhaps your coworkers overshadow or steal all of your ideas at work.
Whether you are too assertive or too passive, effectively communicating can be hard. It's not as easy as just talking at someone and expecting things to go your way! We need to learn to express our ideas well while also listening actively.
If this sounds like way too much work, don't worry! Regardless of what you need to work on, there is a self-improvement book out there that can help. Scroll down for a list of 8 excellent books that will help you learn to communicate better!
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1. Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony With Your Values by Marshall Rosenberg
Nonviolent Communication focuses on just what you would think: learning to have conversations with others without blowing up. This book is written by Marshall Rosenberg Ph.D., a man who has used the system described here to solve conflicts in over 30 different countries. He worked with groups from governments to families, which proves his techniques apply to every type of human interaction.
Whether you want to communicate better at work, with your friends, or with your partner, Rosenberg's 4-step process can help. Recognizing the observations, feelings, needs, and requests of both yourself and others ensure even the most tense discussion won't turn violent.
This book is perfect for people like me who are too fast to react in anger. You'll learn how to embrace compassion and empathy towards others so you can “resolve the unresolvable.” No more yelling and fighting!
While it is often easy to have an emotional reaction during a tough conversation, this book shows readers how to react with your brain instead of your heart. It could honestly help you save some relationships!
2. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes
When it comes to being a great communicator, it seems like some people have it and some don't. But How to Talk to Anyone argues that anyone can be a charmer! This title describes 92 tips and techniques you can use to become that person everyone wants to be friends with.
From mingling at parties to negotiating at work, these tricks will help you be successful when communicating with people in a wide range of situations. This book teaches readers how to go from a wallflower to the most confident person in the room. Mastering small talk, working the room like a celebrity, and fitting into any crowd are just some of the things you'll learn.
While this book is super informative, it's also an entertaining read, too. Self-improvement doesn't have to be boring! Plus with catchy names for the techniques, you'll remember just what to say even if your palms are sweaty and your heart is racing.
I also love that there are almost 100 different tips in this book. That way, if a certain technique doesn't feel authentic to you, there are tons of other approaches you can take. Every reader can personalize their lessons!
3. Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones
Do you ever feel like no one is hearing you? Phil M. Jones' Exactly What to Say can help you communicate better in your job and at home. This book will help you master the art of spoken communication so that people listen when you open your mouth.
Though this book was written for people working in sales, knowing what to say and the perfect time to say it is essential to many lines of work. Jones' tricks will help you speak up and get what you want, whether that's a raise, a day off, or just putting your idea into a project.
This title is important for anyone who works with people for their job, but honestly, every woman can use its techniques. Too often we ladies aren't taken seriously in meetings or are brushed aside so the men can talk. After reading this book, you'll know how to persuade others that your ideas are worth listening to!
4. Not Nice: Stop People-Pleasing, Staying Silent, and Feeling Guilty . . . and Start Speaking Up, Saying No, and Unapologetically Being Yourself by Dr. Aziz Gazipura
Has anyone ever told you that you are “too nice?” If so, Not Nice by Dr. Aziz Gazipura, PsyD, is the perfect title for you.
This book will teach you to stand up for yourself, be assertive, and say “no” when necessary. Whether you keep quiet at work, let your friends make all the decisions, or do whatever your partner says, you can use this book's techniques.
Not only will you learn to ask for what you want and say no to what you don't, but this title also helps you deal with the emotions around those behaviors, too. Not Nice teaches readers how to get rid of those feelings of guilt or fear that may accompany asserting yourself so you can feel free to speak your mind in all of your relationships.
As women, we are often taught that asserting ourselves is bad. I say, no more! Reading this book will help you break out of that “nice girl” stigma and do what's best for you.
That's not all.
If you want to learn more about why being a people pleaser can be bad for you, check out the video below!
5. Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson
If you want to learn to communicate better without being super aggressive, Verbal Judo should be on your reading list right now. This book teaches you how to stop a fight before it starts whether you're talking to your spouse, your coworker, or even your kids.
By showing you how to both engage with what others are saying and express your feelings more effectively, this title is sure to boost your communication skills.
Here's a secret:
It's all about listening and showing empathy!
To excel in any conversation, you need to learn Thompson's five universal truths of human interaction:
- People feel the need to be respected.
- People would rather be asked than told.
- People have a desire to know why.
- People prefer to have options over threats.
- People want to have second chances.
If you can remember those five rules, you will come out ahead in any situation without looking like an a-hole.
6. How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends by Don Gabor
Looking for a shorter read with a big impact? How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends is your perfect choice. This book teaches readers easy techniques for striking up a good conversation with just about anyone.
By identifying your conversation style, you will learn how to start talking to people and keep the convo going. From asking the right questions to using body language effectively, you'll soon be the best conversationalist you know! Gabor even teaches you what not to do so that you don't turn people off.
My favorite thing about this title is that it discusses more modern ways of communicating, too. With sections on social media and online communications, this book feels fresh and relevant to how millennials interact.
I honestly wish I had this title when I started college! Making friends was easy when I was little (I relied mostly on my gel pen collection) but when I got thrown into a new group of people, I was lost. Introverts like me can benefit from the lessons in this book!
7. The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols
Here's the thing:
When we have a conversation, it's implied that we take turns talking and listening. According to The Lost Art of Listening, though, many of us aren't as good at listening as we think.
This book by Michael P. Nichols, Ph.D., uses witty language and simple techniques to help you become a better listener. You will learn to put your emotional reactions aside to understand what your conversation partner is trying to say.
Nichols even includes helpful exercises so you can practice your newfound skills. By taking a step back and practicing empathy, you will forge better connections with your partner, friends, coworkers, and everyone you meet.
Knowing how to get your ideas across to other people is important, sure. But if you want to communicate better, learning to listen actively is key!
8. Speak So Your Audience Will Listen: 7 Steps to Confident and Authentic Public Speaking by Robin Kermode
Let's say you're reading this list and thinking to yourself, “I'm great at communicating! I don't need any of this!” That may be true when you're speaking face-to-face with people, but what about your public speaking skills?
In Speak So Your Audience Will Listen, Robin Kermode addresses one of the most common fears: speaking in front of a crowd. Whether you have to give a work presentation, speak at a charity fundraiser, or give a toast at a wedding, just the thought of public speaking makes many of us feel woozy.
This book gets to the root of the problem. Because many of us feel we can't be ourselves when we address a group, we get nervous. Makes sense, right? In just seven steps, Kermode teaches readers how to get rid of that public persona and merely have a conversation with the audience.
You will learn how to give effective speeches from the writing stage up to the delivery, with exercises to try at the end of each section. Read this book, and you can say goodbye to sweaty palms and hello to being a confident public speaker!
Are You Ready to Communicate Better?
All of us have some aspect of communication that we could work on. Maybe you're a hothead who yells a lot. Perhaps you don't like conflict, so you never stand up for yourself. Or you could be missing out on career opportunities because you aren't great at networking.
Whatever you want to improve, there is a book on this list to help you communicate better. These titles are written by experts, so you know you're getting some legit information! But don't worry, they are anything but boring to read.
Which one of these books are you most excited to read? What are your favorite books for boosting your communication skills? Do you have any tips on learning to communicate better? Let us know in the comments below!