Want to learn to speak in public? Develop your communication skills to be more influential and charismatic orally? Then you surely know that books will be indispensable tools for your intellectual development. But which books to choose? Which ones will give you the most knowledge in the areas of communication and public speaking?
Here is an article that explains in detail the 8 best books on communication format. Some of them are among the best-selling books of personal development, so much of their content is rich in knowledge.
If I choose these books, it is not for nothing. I myself read these works, either because they had been recommended to me, or because they are all simply bestsellers.
So these are the books that taught me the most about communication in general. Whether it’s books on negotiation, speaking out, human relations or influence.
But this article will not be just a list of books. It will be a complete guide on communication, because I will give you a kind of summary of each book. If however you do not have the courage or the time to read everything, do not panic, the works will be written in bold and summarized at the end of the article. So go there right away and for the others, good reading.
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1. How to make Dale Carnegie friends
The first book is by famous author Dale Carnegie, it is also the first personal development book that I have read. Despite its rather strange title, you will discover in this book all the keys to communication. How to speak in public, hold a conversation or speak with a friend effectively. It will allow you to greatly improve your vision of communication. One of the strengths of this book, like most of the author’s books, is that they are full of scenarios. Each explanation is detailed with concrete examples. The author Dale Carnegie is also the founder of a training on eloquence. And all his students offer him concrete examples that will illustrate these works and his future seminars.
I try to have the same approach in my videos. Always illustrate what I explain to you about communication with an example or a story that happened to me. This allows you to better understand the explanations that I am giving you. And even to be able to reproduce identically the example that I give you. The second thing that I really appreciated in his communication book was the principle of empathy.
In communication, if you have to master only 1 thing, it is knowing and being able to put yourself in the shoes of your interlocutor. What does the public expect when I speak? What could I bring to this recruiter in front of me, during an interview? What does the person talking to me have in mind, what is their position vis-à-vis the situation? This is how you will greatly improve your communication.
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2. Influence and Manipulation of Robert Cialdini
The second book on communication is Influence and Manipulation by Robert Cialdini. It is a very extensive book on techniques for influencing and manipulating the people around you. I think you must already know this book because it is a great bestseller. Some principles of the book are very advanced on advanced psychology techniques. The book is also quite complicated to read and very unstructured.
I discovered through this book the concept of social proof. To briefly explain the concept to you, it is the fact of influencing a person by supporting the fact that the majority of people act in the same direction. This would be, for example, telling a friend that you absolutely have to go and see the next match of your favorite team together because all the supporters of the club will be there. So you inflict social pressure on your interlocutor: if the others do it, I have to do it too. This is a method that will work in many situations. I therefore invite you to use the method of the book Influence and Manipulation to test the benefits.
Robert Cialdini also offers you in his book methods to identify the type of personality of your interlocutor. Analyst, dreamer, pragmatist, entrepreneur, you will be able to use social proof or its opposite. Because you should know that some people swear by the reverse of social proof, using the following reasoning: “I’m not a sheep, I don’t want to be like everyone else, and conform to the general public, I am different! “. In this case, it is better to clearly identify the personality of your interlocutor before using any method of manipulation.
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3. Speech is a combat sport by Bertrand Périer
As a third book, we find a book that came out quite recently but made a lot of noise: speech is a combat sport. With such a title, Bertrand Périer, lawyer but also teacher in the mastery of public speaking in major French universities, was able to pique our curiosity. He talks about a combat sport, because for him, speaking out was once a deep fear. But after studying law, he became passionate about this field of activity, probably because for several years he could not speak easily in public.
His book revolves around a simple common thread: public speaking is essential and is becoming more and more so. As he likes to say, in writing, you can try, erase, then start again as many times as you want. When speaking, you don’t have a second chance. Once your words are out, you have to own them, and assert your position. There is therefore real work to be done, but it is essential if we want to be able to communicate well. Communication is present in all areas of our life, family, friends, professional life, schooling, romantic relationships, justice, economy… And if you want to decode the non-verbal or verbal communication of others, you must learn public speaking.
And precisely, speaking of non-verbal communication, here are some figures that the author reveals to us in his book. 60% of our strength of conviction is based on our non-verbal language: gestures, body position, and facial expressions. 30% comes from our prosody, therefore from the way we express ourselves. This can be the management of silences, the rate of speech, the power and timbre of your voice, and the intonation you are going to take. And finally, 10% comes from the words and expressions that you will use.
And it is through these 3 simple statistics that we really understand where to bet all our efforts when speaking. Where others focus on the text, the structure of their speeches and the best lexical field to use, others will work on their communication packaging and their non-verbal. So even if you should not neglect your text, you must understand that to become a better speaker, it is not a job to be done for a particular day. It is more a daily work to do on your non-vernal communication, your posture, your gestures, the pose of your gaze or your intonation. The word a combat sport, a book that I really invite you to read because it is so rich in practical exercises.
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4. Ask and you shall receive by Pierre Morency
Like Getting More from Stuart Diamond, this book is a reference in negotiations, because all negotiations necessarily start with a request. And this is what the author Pierre Morency explains very well in his book entitled Ask and you will receive. Far too many people do not dare to ask for a service, an indication, or a helping hand, for fear of looking like a parasitic being. But you can’t even imagine how much it could help you to receive a little more help. It is not about always asking for help from others without giving anything in return. It is a state of mind in which you must be constantly helping without expecting anything in return, because one day you will ask for a favor without anything in return.
It is a method that also allows you to regularly step out of your comfort zone. So you will ask for a little more food in the restaurant of your company. When you are going to make big purchases, you will negotiate the price. And over time, you will develop this mindset alongside better communication skills.
5. How to speak in public about Dale Carnegie
The fifth book is Dale Carnegie’s second best-known work: How to Speak in Public! This book is a real gold mine containing many examples and situations of public speaking. One of the most important things to remember from this book is that you can never progress in communication if you don’t start by loving speaking and communicating. And this is ultimately valid in any area of your life. How do you want to progress in a sport if you don’t like it? You risk quickly abandoning your efforts for lack of taste for the discipline in question.
So for speaking, it’s the same principle. And that’s the first thing to do. To understand how to reconcile yourself with public speaking, I recommend that you look a little more at the benefits you will derive from it. Imagine being able to speak in improvisation, without stress, in front of as many people as there are in the room. Or that you can clearly convey your ideas to your manager or the team you manage. Or that you have the opportunity to convince an investor, a customer or a supplier with your simple eloquence. Find, according to your situation, the benefits that you would have to learn more about communication.
In this book, you will also find everything you need to know to do good public speaking. The author talks about stress management, preparing and leading your speech, or special techniques from his academy. But the most interesting part is according to the third month.
Dale Carnegie will teach you how to target your speeches according to your intentions. If your presentation has an informative objective, start by limiting your speech in time, classify your ideas in a logical order, list your ideas, and finally compare them with each other.
If your intention is to convince your audience, then start by earning your audience’s trust. You can do this by starting out sympathetically, or getting repeated affirmations from the audience. Also know that if you want to convince, you must show your enthusiasm for your subject.
Finally, you can make a presentation aimed at getting the audience to take action. In this case, the author recommends that we start with a bit of storytelling. Tell a story to quickly pique your audience’s attention. You can then give your instructions and the action you want the audience to take. But be careful, you must present only one, in a clear, simple and feasible way. Finally, to motivate your audience to take the first step, state the benefits that will result from the action in question.
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6. Convince in Under 2 Minutes by Nicholas Boothman
The sixth book on public speaking is an access book on negotiation and influence: Convince in less than 2 minutes. This access book on influence and negotiation will allow you to know how to decipher the personality of your interlocutor in order to personalize your speech and your way of communicating.
First, you will discover the 4 types of personalities that exist:
- Controller: attaches great importance to competition and results. He acts with confidence, does not want to waste his time and communicates directly.
- Analyst: pays great attention to detail. He likes a job well done, even perfect. He is a very organized and conscientious person.
- Persuasive: he loves communication, whether to entertain or to persuade his interlocutor. He has good interpersonal skills and is appreciated by those around him.
- Dreamer: he is a visionary who likes novelty. He catches other people’s ideas and studies them. He is not one to give up easily and will try again and again until his idea works.
In order to approach each personality type, be sure to synchronize your attitude and your words. You are not going to be thorough and explain something from A to Z to a dreamer. You have to leave him a part of the mystery so that he can study the situation and project himself. That’s what he likes to do, let him enjoy it a bit. Conversely, if you are vague with an analyst, he may not follow you because for him the situation is not clear.
I still want to qualify these 4 personality types, with my own example. I am quite a dreamer and like novelty. However, I also have a persuasive side that loves communication and a touch of controller, because I love competition. In any case, even if I have several criteria of several personalities, you will have understood that you should not speak to me like an analyst. The goal is therefore not to categorize people in one of these 4 boxes, but to understand what could most animate them.
Another thing you will discover in this book is the power of synchronization. If you want to influence someone, or just create a sense of trust in order to have a good time, you need to get your attitude in sync with them.
To illustrate this important point, let’s take a simple example. You have just heard the news, your director wants to entrust you with the new mission he has been talking to you about for months. Indeed, you will have to finalize the marketing aspect of the project and launch production in less than 3 months. Obviously, you are excited by this mission that you have been entrusted with, and you hasten to talk to your team about it. So, you arrive all euphoric at the coffee machine, and you see your 4 colleagues calmly discussing everything and nothing. When you break the news to them, they don’t seem as thrilled as you, but you don’t understand why.
Yet that has nothing to do with the words you used. It’s simply because your attitude and your emotions were not synchronized with those of your teammates. If you had come quietly and taken the time to build that excitement for the project, you would have had more success.
When we feel comfortable with our interlocutor, there is a sign that does not deceive: we tend to mimic their attitude, their gestures and their posture. So if you do it voluntarily, without it being seen, you will create a strong and unconscious bond.
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7. The Art of Pitch by Oren Klaff
The seventh book is access to the art of knowing how to pitch an idea or a project. A pitch is actually a short speech that aims to arouse the curiosity of your audience, through an attractive and persuasive speech. It is generally what we use to present a business project, to praise the merits of a product or even to introduce ourselves. Knowing how to pitch is therefore essential, whatever your field of activity, you must be able to speak for 20 minutes as well as 2 minutes to your audience.
First, we learn in Oren Klaff’s book that the brain is divided into several layers. The oldest and deepest reptilian brain. Around we find the limbic brain, then again around, the neocortex. When you are going to make a pitch, you are going to use your most evolved part of the brain: your neocortex. Your ideas are abstract, complex but are interpreted by the reptilian part of the brain of your interlocutors. It’s like sending a complex Excel file from a new computer to another computer from the early 2000s.
What happens next, you can imagine: your words and ideas just bounce around without ever entering the brains of your audience. So, if you want them to pass the reptilian cortex and get to the neocortex, here are some mechanisms:
- If it’s not dangerous, ignore it;
- If it’s not new or exciting, ignore it;
- And finally, if it’s new, summarize it as quickly as possible, and forget the details. And finally, there’s this instruction:
- Do not send anything to the neocortex to make it solve problems unless the situation is really unexpected or out of the ordinary.
Therefore, by taking this information into account, you will know how to build your pitch so that it can be understood and integrated by your audience. But the advantage is that these are principles that also apply to everyday communication. Or when speaking.
In addition to these valuable tips, the author also explains the notion of frame. Frames set the context and relevance of a communication. It is also about the balance of power between several parties during a conversation. If your interviewer keeps cutting you off, despising your ideas and disrespecting you, they are controlling the frame. During a job interview with a recruiter, he is also the one who is in possession of the frame.
Owning the framework will allow you to assert your ideas and have the possibility of greatly influencing the other parts of the conversation. There are many frames: power frame, reward frame, time frame or plot frame. If you want more information on these frameworks, how to counter them or how to use them, I highly recommend the book: The Art of Pitch.
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8. Public Speaking: TED by Chris Anderson
And finally, the last and eighth work in this article comes to us from author Chris Anderson. Famous entrepreneur and American journalist, who is best known for his book The Long Train. He is also the author of TED Public Speaking: The Official Guide. This book is a real immersion in the very famous TED conferences. He explains how speakers are helped to prepare their speeches, their objectives and above all the values of these conferences. Because let’s remember, TED conferences offer people the opportunity to express themselves on subjects they know, without being great speakers. The preparation and follow-up of these scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs or other specialists is revealed to us in this book and this is its main asset. We therefore learn the best techniques of speakers: storytelling, explaining difficult concepts, convincing, or even making amazing revelations.
The author then talks about the scene and how to master this famous scene which can scare more than one. He explains to us that there is no special dress code to have for each speech. But that you have to know how to adapt your style to your personality and that of the public. He also offers us techniques to feel more confident, especially with deep breathing and self-talk. In order to condition you to have a stronger will of conviction during your speech.
Finally, the author wants to make the readers of his book aware of the importance of communication and the development of this skill. In an increasingly connected society, where the flow of information is increasingly important, public speaking is becoming almost more important than writing. It was once reserved for the nobles of society and gave them real power. But today, this art, accessible to all, makes it possible to narrow the social inequalities which are more and more marked in other fields. Through the development of your oratorical skills, you will rise in society. But also greatly increase the possibilities available to you, whatever the area in question.
Conclusion: The 8 Best Books on Communication and Public Speaking
You now know the books you have to devour to succeed in your next public speaking:
- How to Make Friends – Dale Carnegie
- Influence and manipulation – Robert Cialdini
- Speech is a combat sport – Bertrand Périer
- Ask and you shall receive – Pierre Morency
- Public Speaking – Dale Carnegie
- Convince in less than 2 minutes – Nicholas Bootman
- The art of the pitch – Oren Klaff
- Public speaking: TED – Chris Anderson
I think these books are great books on communication. But, they are also complementary to each other. None approach the subject in the same way, perhaps because communication is a vast subject. Whether it is the aspect of influence and sales, or speaking, or even communication in a small group, they will provide you with the knowledge necessary to be more comfortable and effective in speaking.
And as many authors repeat, it is the challenge of tomorrow to know how to master the art of public speaking even better. On the one hand because there is more and more information and everything is getting faster. But also because the development of the internet and the digital world makes many people forget the importance of human contact in society.
Thank you for reading this article which I enjoyed writing, do not hesitate to share your best books on communication and public speaking below.