Shut Up And Listen: The Truth About How To Communicate At Work

This is a great book because it is well written, well structured and full of practical advice and useful comments from interviewees. The book is also instructive without sermonising.

Shut Up And Listen: The Truth About How To Communicate At Work
By Theo Theobald and Cary Cooper
Publisher: Kogan Page
Pages: 160 Price: £9.99 ISBN 0749440244
Reviewed by Martin Goodman
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At times it is humorous. For instance, Keith Harris, former chairman of the Football League, explains: “I’m not a big fan ofe-mail. I’ve always been adverse to screens. I’ve got a beautiful antique desk and I don’t want a poxy screen on it.”

At the outset, this book provides a practical crash course in helping the reader assess their own abilities as a communicator. This is a useful section that also focuses on the need to adopt different styles of communication according to your environment. Like many things in this book, such a principle may seem obvious, but it is often ignored in written and spoken communications.

The bulk of the book then provides a practical guide on how to be a better communicator. It covers:

– Reading, including developing the skill to synthesise reports into executive-style summaries as a way of focusing quickly on the key points

– Writing, including how to draft e-mails, as well as the need to check spelling and meaning

– Persuasion from an advertising copy perspective. The book suggests that it is worth taking time out specifically to view TV commercials

– Listening and talking, including behaviour at meetings. Professor David Clutterbuck’s comment: “For every minute that you talk, spend two listening” seems particularly pertinent here for all those who have suffered lengthy meetings, and have contributed to them

– Creating the right impression through body language and an understanding of the national and organisation cultures with which you are dealing

– Planning to communicate so that you do it properly.

Also, each chapter ends with a helpful summary of key points.

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Martin Goodman is director of strategic HR consulting for Cornwell Management Consultants

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