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Messages: The Communication Skills Book

I was looking through one of my many bookcases and noticed a book that I have had for around 20 years. Flicking through it I realised why I had kept it for so long. It is full of great practical information and tips on effective and assertive communication. Messages:
The Communication Skills Book written by McKay, Davis & Fanning (ISBN 0934986053) first came out in 1983. A 3rd edition out in 2009 is now available. Not a great deal seems to have changed comparing the table of contents. And I know why because they did a great job at providing a simple guide to communication originally.

The book covers basic skills of listening, self-disclosure and expressing yourself. Advance skills include body language, paralanguage & metamessages, hidden agendas, transactional analysis and clarifying language. It goes on to cover assertiveness, fighting fair, negotiating, prejudgment, making contact, sexual communication, parent effectiveness, family communication, small groups and public speaking. Now not everyone will want read all of that. But picking and choosing what you need help with or is of interest is well worthwhile.

It includes some activities to help learn about some of the topics. I found it really helpful to learn about my own communication style and what I was doing. It can also be used to try and understand what others are doing as well. If you are helping someone improve their communication skills it is a great resource. Recommended to anyone wanting to know how to understand or master essential communication skills.
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