The 25 Best Books on Communication Skills to Read in 2018

If you want to define the human in a simple way, the first thing that comes to mind could be "The human is a social creature" that evolved through its power to communicate:

  • Using words - verbal communication, storytelling, and writing 
  • Body language
  • Attitude

Knowing how to communicate efficiently is (probably) the most important social skill because, willingly or not, you're communicating something all the time.

Even though communication is an integrated part of what means to be human, which should mean we already took it to it highest point that it could be, that is not so. The human is inventive and loves new things; therefore, we'll never stop developing new and improved ways to communicate.

Keep your communication skills up to date and become a winner in life.

Storytelling - Most people overlook this form of communication even though we are using it daily and it's one of the most powerful ways to influence the result of your interactions. For that reason, we start talking about the best books on communication with seven books on storytelling:

1. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller - John Truby

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If you'd like to improve your storytelling skills, you might benefit greatly from starting with this book.

Discover how to:

  • Place your story (time and space) 
  • Choose the premise of your story
  • Make the structure of your story (in seven steps)
  • Build up your characters
  • Construct the moral argument and teaching
  • Use symbols
  • Create a plot 

Are you wondering why you should learn how to make up and tell stories? And how is that improving your communication skills? Storytelling helps you communicate (covertly) sensitive issues (it doesn't feel personal, or patronizing advice).

2. The Story Factor - Annette Simmons

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You'll discover in this book how to:

  • Say a story - do's and don'ts 
  • Use stories to influence others
  • Develop a story that can do more than facts can
  • Create a good story
  • Motivate and inspire your loved ones, friends, and employees (through stories) 

This book is a case study of how you can use stories to become an effective communicator. (Most boys never ate spinach until "Popeye the Sailor"...)

3. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences - Nancy Duarte

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Someone discovered a while back that asking questions keeps your audience engaged with you by eliciting curiosity. However, these days almost any presentation start with questions... annoying questions, that is!

I remember a commercial that started with one of those annoying questions "do you know what is the one thing I do every day?" the first thing that came to my mind was "Of course I know, we all go at least once a day to do that thing... Thank you very much for the image..."

Be different. Learn how to communicate your messages and ideas starting with a story. A compelling story that people can't stop listening, getting curious about what happens in your story, wanting to know all you have to say.

Learn from this book how to make that compelling story which captivates and draw attention to your message.

4. Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals - Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

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"I'm depressed," one of my friends told me "in a few weeks  I'll turn 40."

I thought, what better gift I can give to my friend other than help her see that, actually turning 40 comes with many advantages. So, I made for her a video story, using data and graphics.

A few days after her birthday she said to me " being 40 is much more enjoyable than I thought."

Learn from this book how to tell a story constructed around facts, statistics, and data, to communicate your message in a fun and captivating way.

5. All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All - Seth Godin

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Some adverts are half-truths or plain lies (...starting with annoying questions...). Yet, we are forgiving with those that know how to sell to us lies pretty packaged in beautiful stories.

That (being lied) is not a bad thing in itself considering the vastness of offers and choices you have when you got to make a decision. A romanced story about the boring WC you have to buy can make your choice match easier.

Discovering this book how to:

  • Package your message into a beautiful story 
  • Know when a pretty story doesn't contain a pretty offer
  • Censure and improve your worldview so that marketers can't take advantage of you
  • Say authentic (true) stories to make your message easier to understand and remember

6. Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence - Lisa Cron

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Have you heard? Apparently, the modern human has the attention span almost equal to a goldfish. Not surprisingly though, considering all the means we have these days to entertain ourselves.

When communicating with those around, you're competing almost always with many things that can be much more interesting then what you have to say. Not that your message is not interesting, but "clean up the garage" can't beat discovering the latest car model.

Even though this book is dedicated mostly to writers, the principals presented in it can be applied in most interactions you have to hook people and get them interested in what you have to say.

7. The Power of Storytelling - Ty Bennett

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This book is for anyone who wants to make a change, influence and motivate others, someone interested in speaking (public speaking and other presentations), selling, being a leader or a parent.

This book is a great inspiration on how to communicate your ideas and message using stories.

You'll discover in "The power of storytelling" how to:

  • Amplify your influence on others 
  • The science behind storytelling
  • Place stories in your presentations
  • Improve your storytelling skills
  • Tell compelling, memorable, and dynamic stories 

Take your communication skills a level up starting with mastering the art of storytelling. Knowing how to package your ideas and messages in a story frame gives them more power because people, not only remember and love stories, but also feel happy to share them; when you say a story to one person, that one person will take it to many others.

8. The Secrets of Successful Communication: A Simple Guide to Effective Encounters in Business (Big Brain vs. Little Brain Communication) - Kevin T. McCarney

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In this book, you'll discover:

  • The seven principles of (what the author calls) big brain communication and how to apply them 
  • How to increase your communication skills using your awareness, adjusting your tone and words, staying in control, and taking full advantage of your power to influence others
  • Ways to avoid being a pushover and, at the same time, make people feel comfortable around you and eager to listen what you have to say 

If you're interested in learning new tips on how to communicate efficiently at home, at work, with your friends or complete strangers, this book is for you.

9. 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work--Anywhere!: Including the "12-Day Communication Challenge!" - Bento C. Leal III

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If you'd like to enhance your communication skills and improve your relationships by overcoming communication barriers, this book is for you.

Discover how to:

  • Feed your relationships with positive things like gratitude and appreciation, empathic awareness and listening 
  • Improve and use your listening skills for an effective communication
  • Achieve mutual understanding and respect
  • Manage or avoid conflicts
  • Maintain and care of those relationships that matter the most to you 

10. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results - Judith E. Glaser

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If you find it difficult to talk to others, express your ideas, and share your knowledge for a maximum impact, this book is for you.

  • You'll discover in this book: 
  • Things you can learn from your past failures (conversations that have gone wrong)
  • How to give a voice that will be heard by gaining trust
  • Ways to increase your conversational intelligence 

11. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever - Michael Bungay Stanier

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A big part of skilled communication is to know what, when, and how to ask questions. Even though, this book is addressed mainly to coaches, contains valuable knowledge and information for anyone who's in an authority position (e.g., a parent, a teacher, a leader).

You'll learn from this book how to:

  • Apply kickstart questions that jump start any conversation 
  • Lead the focus of your discussions
  • Save time using lazy or strategy questions
  • Find out the root cause of challenges and issues the person you're speaking has
  • Use questions to ensure the effectiveness of your conversations

12. The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships - Michael P. Nichols

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Communication is a two-way street. Yet, we live so much time lost in our thoughts, that many of our conversations and interactions are, let's say imaginary: one party imagines being listened to, and the other one imagines they are listening.

Learn from this book how to:

  • Improve your listening skills 
  • Deepen your connections to others by listening and being listened to
  • Overcome the reasons why people don't listen
  • Listen and have a voice in your family, workplace, and friends environment 

If you need more convincing that improving listening skills is a must when it comes to communication, just think about who's wiser at the end of an interaction? The listener or the person that puts everything on the table?

13. Mastering Communication at Work: How to Lead, Manage, and Influence - Ethan F. Becker, Jon Wortmann

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Communication is rarely easy, especially if you're an authority figure or with those you can't avoid (e.g., coworkers).

Learn from this book how to master communication at work and make your work environment more enjoyable and relaxed.

This book is teaching you communication techniques on how to:

  • Create rapport with your listeners 
  • Present your ideas with passion and inspire those who are listening
  • Motivate the people you're working with
  • Frame your ideas to be embraced by others
  • Validate others opinion and views
  • and much more

14. Messages: The Communication Skills Book 3rd Edition - Matthew McKay Ph.D. , Martha Davis Ph.D., Patrick Fanning

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Many people attributed the breakdown of their relationships to lack of communication. Yet, the reality is, lack of communication doesn't exist because we are communicating something all the time (even silence is a form of communication).

Learn from this book how to:

  • Tailor your message for a job interview 
  • Master group interactions
  • Negotiate and resolve conflicts
  • Deal with children
  • Improve your communication with your partners, spouse, friends 

15. Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently - John C. Maxwell

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If you ever wonder how come you don't get along with people you (really) care about and who care about you, this book will give you the answer: You're talking to each other but never seem to connect.

Discover (in this book) why connecting to others is not always as easy as it looks. Polish your communication and connecting skills by finding out:

  • How come connecting with others is a skill and not a natural talent 
  • Why knowing how to connect with others increases your influence on them
  • The five connecting practices that will help you improve your relationships, inspire people, and deal with difficult individuals

16. The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides (Voices That Matter) - Garr Reynolds

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If you'd like to know how to give a powerful speech or presentation this book is for you.

Learn the seven steps and how to present and deliver your ideas, so that your audience feels compelled to listen:

  • How to gain confidence to speak in front of others 
  • The keys to a successful preparation
  • Win the audience through your presence
  • Show enthusiasm about the subject you're talking and engage with your audience
  • Keep your listeners interested
  • Deliver a powerful ending
  • How to add to your communication skills what you learn from every presentation you give

17. Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others - Andrew Sobel, Jerold Panas

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One good question can be more effective for eliciting attention than ten well-documented statements. Most people love a question more than a piece of advice because it makes them feel curious, come up on their own with the answer to their issues and problems, provokes them to be creative and ingenious.

This book is full of examples of questions you can ask, improve your communication skills and the results you get.

18. Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well - Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen 

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Learn from this book how to deliver and receive feedback. You might think you don't need to learn that because you're an open-minded person that understands the simple fact that no one is perfect and all of us have some room for improvement. Yet, most times we feel feedback as a criticism because we tend to take all things personally.

19. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead - Brené Brown

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It is impossible for you not to communicate something all the time; that fact might make you feel vulnerable and avoid connecting with others or behave in ways you don't feel proud.

Learn from this book how to communicate in ways that feeling vulnerable becomes an asset and changes for the better your behavior to your loved ones.

20. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition - Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny

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This book is based on new research, many case studies, and helps you communicate effectively in situations you have a lot to lose if you don't know how to present your ideas, wishes, opinion, and views.

Learn from this book what means to:

  • Master a critical conversation 
  • Keep your eye on the ball
  • Act whit calm in any situation
  • Speak persuasively and influence the course of the conversation
  • Get curious about the other party's intentions
  • Take advantage of crucial conversations (actions and results) 

21. Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships - Andrew Sobel, Jerold Panas

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Learn from this book how to improve your relationships and make them great by using 26 laws for building extraordinary relationships.

Discover in this book (among the 26 laws):

  • What could be missing from a relationship to become meaningful 
  • What is the most significant gift you can offer to your loved ones
  • How to share good and (also) bad
  • When to provide your support
  • How to attract in your life the people you like and admire

22. Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them - Holly Weeks

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Discover in this book:

  • How can a conversation turn the wrong way and what to do about it 
  • Tips on ways to increase your communication skills by thinking outside of the box
  • Ways to overcome your fear and have those difficult conversations you've been avoiding
  • Secrets of changing wrong mentalities and misconceptions
  • How to manage your emotions and keep your cool no matter where the conversation goes 

23. The Power of Approachability - Scott Ginsberg 

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For people to open a line of communication with you, first, they must believe you're open to a conversation.

Learn from this book how to:

  • Become memorable and make an excellent first impression 
  • Feel approachable and build your support network (in business and life)
  • Become an admired leader, not a feared one

24. You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation - Deborah Tannen

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Women and men have different styles of communication which can lead to many misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Sometimes, it can feel like we are talking different languages.

Discover in this book some of those differences, improve your communication with the opposite sex, and make your relationships long lasting, a true partnership.

25. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds - Carmine Gallo

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Many people believe that public speaking is reserved to having a presentation in front of a large number of people. Yet, you're "public speaking" anytime you must have a conversation with more than two strangers at the same time. That happens quite a lot. Isn't it?

Discover in this book what are the secrets of most successful speakers that have been invited to a TED talk and how can you apply them in your presentations or day to day life.

Knowing how to communicate efficiently is (probably) the most important social skill because, willingly or not, you're communicating something all the time. Keep your communication skills up to date and become a winner in life.