Straight Talk® Book: Understanding Communication Styles


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Main Selection of the Executive Program Book Club

Whether you work in an office or telecommute from home, in today’s fast-paced business world being a successful communicator is more important than ever. The key to having more productive conversations — conversations that can solve problems as well as produce action — is understanding that we all have different communication styles. In Straight Talk, management and organizational consultant Eric Douglas shows how to identify your own communication style and that of others, and how to modify your style for strategic results. Using exercises, surveys, and real-life case studies, Douglas shows how competent communication can help solve today’s most urgent organizational dilemmas.

What people are saying about Straight Talk…

“What the world needs now is direct, clear, human communication. Straight Talk tells us how to bring democratic and felicitous dialogue to what intrigues us most.”

– Reg Murphy, president and CEO, National Geographic Society

“The single most potent tool for achieving high levels of organizational learning is better conversation. Straight Talk is a clear map to richer conversation about important subjects.”

– William O’Brien, president, Hanover Insurance Companies

“We experienced a real change in the way we do planning and resolve problems to succeed.Straight Talk helped us think better, work smarter, and communicate in a way we hadn’t before. A marvelous tool.”

– James H. Clark, president, University of California Press

“Straight Talk is a must read for any organizatoin that wants and needs productive conversation to reach issue resolution.”

– David Brugger, president, America’s Public Television Stations

“We learned how to communicate with each other in an entirely new way.”

– Julie Talbot, COO, MJI Broadcasting

“Eric Douglas’s book and system are valuable tools that can generate more effective communication in businesses all over America.”

– Dr. Lisa Bohon, Department of Psychology, California State University

What is Straight Talk?

Straight Talk is designed to help anyone who wishes to become a competent communicator. It is not like most communication books, as it is specifically designed for people in organizations and businesses, but the tools presented are just as valid at home as they are at work.

Part I lays out these tools and the principles behind them. First, you’ll discover your particular style of communicating, and how it affects your daily interactions with other people. Next, you’ll learn how to identify other people’s styles, and how to apply that understanding to strengthening your communications. Then, through a series of exercises, you’ll learn how to modify your style as the situation warrants.

Part I also lays out the tools needed to talk abut typical organizational issues, such as marketing strategy, human resources, and production. It exposes the traps and pitfalls that undermine the way we process information and communicate our positions. You’ll learn the kinds of assumptions that lead to breakdowns in understanding.

In Part 2, the focus of the book shifts from learning about the tools and principles of communication to applying them in specific situations. You’ll discover how these tools can improve your life on a daily basis — whether organizing your time, making a decision, or supervising a project. You’ll also learn how to apply these tools to run a meeting, solve a thorny problem, or resolve a conflict. And you’ll get a set of basic ground rules that can improve the quality of your communications.

Finally, Part 2 also discusses the specific types of organizational culture that evolve from the way an organization communicates. You’ll learn how to identify an organization’s culture; you’ll be able to predict an organization’s habits, both good and bad. And you’ll find out how to improve an organization’s performance.

In sum, this book is designed to help you gain competency in communication as quickly and effectively as possible — and make you a stronger and more valuable contributor to your organization.

This book is intended to provide a set of tools for people who aspire to be part of a learning organization. It is for people who need to know how to challenge their own thinking — and to engage others in the serach to find effective solutions. This book is intended to help build the social underpinnings of the twenty-first-century organization, where straight talk is the norm, not the exception.

That’s the plan. Now let’s go to work.