Clear instructions for improving a critical skill

Talk is easy, but how can you make sure your words really communicate with others? That is the question John Maxwell addresses in his book Everyone Communicates Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently. The author defines “connecting” as “the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them”. Connecting occurs visually, intellectually, emotionally and verbally.

The mechanics of connecting differ depending on whether you are connecting with one person, connecting with a group of people, or connecting with an audience, and at the end of each chapter the book summarises how material in that chapter relates to each of these situations. Connecting is always about understanding another person’s viewpoint, it requires energy, and it is a skill which a person can work on and improve.

As is the case with John Maxwell’s other books, the content is stated in very clear and unapologetically simple terms illustrated by anecdotes which frequently reflect his particular sense of humour. Is his analysis too simplistic? I do not think so. There is nothing particularly complicated about the skill of connecting; the hard part is actually doing it, and this book is valuable both for the easy-to-follow steps it provides and for the motivation it gives.

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