Title: Everyone Communicates Few Connect
Author: John C. Maxwell
Reason for Reading: This book was provided by Thomas Nelson publishers through their BookSneeze program in exchange for a review. The publisher has had no influence over the content of this review. The thoughts are solely my own.
Summary: Maxwell is a well-known leadership expert and speaker. He has prepared numerous books about leading an organization and the principles of personal success. This book specifically focuses on one important aspect of communication, that being how to develop a connection between speaker and listener.
Maxwell divides the book into two parts. The first describes the principles behind connection. Maxwell defines a connection as the quality of communication that increases the impact of the speaker on the listener. It operates at an emotional level between the persons involved. These principles are not the practical steps of public speaking, the kind of things one learns from speech class or Toastmasters International. Maxwell is describing the difference between those who speak, present, and write with little effect on their audience, and those who make a connection with the audience that makes their communication highly effective. It is the difference between those boring presentations and unnecessary meetings everyone has endured, and those speakers or presenters that have hit you right in the gut. Maxwell describes this ability to make a connection as a skill that can be learned, not just an inherent quality that some speakers naturally have.
The second part describes what connectors do, the preparations they make, the attitude they assume, and the focus they adopt. This includes finding common ground with the audience, making the experience enjoyable, and choosing inspirational messages.
Review: Maxwell uses humorous and insightful stories about himself and his career as a pastor, speaker, and teacher. He describes how he failed to connect early in his career, learned to connect, and is now teaching others to do so. Just the anecdotes about him are well worth the cost of the book. I found lots of situations to which I could relate, either as a speaker or a listener. The lessons gave me a new appreciation for how a leader can use these principles to increase the success of their team.
If you are a leader, you have to communicate. Whether you embrace this aspect of serving as a leader or cringe at it, this book will help you do it better. It is personable, funny, brief, and easy to read. You’ll feel like you sat down with Maxwell as he personally told you how he does what he does. And that of course is the whole point! He connects with the reader, providing an example of what he is espousing.
Other resources: www.johnmaxwell.com