Everyone Communicates, Few Connect is a book about speaking in a way that connects with the audience. Author John C. Maxwell makes the point that no matter what you say (even with your body language), you’re communicating something, but it takes more effort to connect with people.
Using stories about his own struggles to communicate effectively, first as a church pastor, then as a speaker, the author explains principles and practices that anyone can use to connect. He breaks these down into little steps that are easy to implement.
I was surprised at the tone of the book; it’s like a motivational speech, but then I realized that this reflects his personality (and probably the fact that he led a church for a long time).
Since I write about the importance of presenting well, I was pleased to see this quote that the author uses from the Harvard Business Review:
The number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively.
One point that he makes is similar to a point that Steven Covey makes in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and that is to focus on others’ needs first before focusing on your own. In a presentation situation, this means thinking about what will be useful and relevant to your audience before focusing on what is important to you. For example, John Maxwell says,
When you are trying to connect with people, it’s not about you—it’s about them.
We’ve heard that before, but he goes further and says that you need to actually care about others and try to help them.
Three ideas that he offers to activate your audience are to
- Ask questions
- Get people moving (get up and stretch!)
- Ask people to interact
If you’re looking to work on your speaking technique from the inside out, you’ll find this book helpful.
Note: I received a free copy of the book to review.
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