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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I suffer from chronic social anxiety. I've tried several things to combat this daily problem (from a course of NHS CBT to attending a NLP seminar, to medication to reading several other books about it). I'm currently re-reading "Overcoming Social Anxiety" (a CBT book, which seemed to help a lot (the only thing that really has) the first time around--though I lapsed after several months work).

I saw this on Amazon Vine, so thought I would give it a go (not really wishing to fill countless CBT forms in again), but, whilst I found it interesting in parts, it wasn't really what I need at present.

The level is somewhat similar to a business course (very similar to the NLP seminar I attended) and the style is likewise friendly and motivational but still serious. There is a reasonable amount of depth, without it getting too psychological (which is probably the problem for me). It is probably just about right for someone who is suffering from a lack of confidence holding conversations (rather than someone with a "condition") or for someone who is reasonably confident in social situations, but wishes to be a bit more extroverted.

Personally, I read the first 50 pages and skimmed the rest (even though it is only 170 pages long!) as I'd read enough to realise that it wasn't really the right book to help me at present. I may well come back to it (as I did find several sections that sounded like they could be useful), but this is probably more useful for people who are ready to make conversations (rather than if--like me--you struggle simply to pay for petrol etc.)
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I suspect that it's rather a sad thing that we need books like this to help us to communicate with others. Perhaps the unpalatable truth is that the art of inter-personal communication is one that is fading fast. There is thus a paradox between the technology that we have in our pockets, or on our desks that allows us to `communicate' with just about anyone; is in my view degrading and devaluing such essential skills. Teenagers are for instance happy to communicate with someone online, often in quite an intimate way, yet not be aware of whom they are connected to. At the other end of the spectrum, savvy and wealthy investors are often persuaded to part with vast sums to `invest' in companies they have never heard of by a chap on the telephone!

Moreover, humans are not a very happy bunch. Modern technology encourages us to have our shopping delivered, drink a few beers from a can at home or enjoy the surround sound cinema experience from our armchairs. Surely this is not a problem? But I can tell you that there are a lot of lonely people out there who would love to have someone to talk to or to go to the pictures with. So many of us, especially as we age, lead quiet, lonely lives with very little heart-warming interaction/discourse with others. This is a crying shame when our bodies are so well equipped to communicate on so many levels with so many wonderful nuances of human emotion that increasingly our modern existences are bypassing. In addition massive advertising spends encourage us to think of all the things that our lives do NOT contain rather than the absolutely wonderful things that it does encompass.

When I was six I learned a very powerful, but cruel lesson that has stayed with me, and I suspect millions of others, to this day. That one would be judged instantly and harshly on purely the first visual impression we may make on a third party. Thus we would be judged by our age, our sex, the colour of our skin, the accent from our lips, the shade of our hair and so on. Without saying a word we would be instantly categorised and cast into a stereotype by the person so making that judgement and for many years I was unable to discern how it could be overcome. It seemed at first that being quiet, withdrawn and having as little interaction with others as possible was the way forward. Mercifully I realised, ultimately, that the exact opposite strategy was the one that was required; and I now use my self-taught skills to interact with as many people as I can come across: for it strikes me that an effective and hopefully pleasurable line of communication is the most effective way of breaking down others' pre-conceived ideas. Perhaps it was a culmination of this work that saw me entering a profession where communication is 99% of what I do.

This book is an effective means of following such a strategy and it details quite nicely some of the thought processes that we need in ourselves and hopefully engender in others in order to bring this about. In truth I would have liked a little more passion from the author, though it does contain some nice examples, but be in no doubt that effective communication is just that: an uplifting and passionate process which of course is why so many will misconstrue it when communicating with the opposite sex - as a simple chat-up line, which is a shame.
Notwithstanding this, the book is a useful and helpful guide to all those who have, for whatever reason made that absolutely vital first step of wanting to engage and to communicate with just about everyone they meet, so much so, that the person who they have just finished communicating with will feel brighter, more buoyant or simply be very glad that they met them in that small interval of time. With many thanks.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm generally ok with speaking to people, have a good job and have delivered three best man speeches and not died on my feet so far. I picked this up more out of curiosity than dire need, to see if there was room for improvement. My problem is more often not "Can I speak to someone?" but more "Can I be bothered..." and like a lot of peeps often text or mail before calling anyone these day.

The book itself is not too jargon-heavy but although fairly short it does repeat itself quite often. Many of the suggestions are pretty obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense or feeling for body language e.g. don't talk to somebody if their back is turned or arms folded etc. Some of the terms used such as "hijacking" or "owning" a conversation are slightly sinister. The element of competition is prevalent - for example, the author seemed unfeasibly proud of "owning" a conversation in an apple store. Basically, he began a pretty unexciting conversation with other customers at a table that didn't really lead anywhere. Hardly the Yalta Conference. If this book was aimed more squarely at the sales exec the tone would make more sense.

Whilst this book is certainly of interest, the "Absolutely Anyone" tag is a bit of an exaggeration with most of the scenarios seemingly at the ubiquitous conference or sales meeting where he clearly spends a lot of his time. No clues on asking the girl in the bakers out or how to persuade the chav next door to stop spraying graffiti on your wall. Occasional forays into a coffee shop or bookstore aren't the "great stories" we are led to believe and most of the conversations discussed don't deliver much of a result (if any) which often lead me back to my "Why bother" thought. The author is not too proud to note his failures (that's how we learn after all) but these examples wouldn't be too reassuring for those of a nervous disposition.

Mr Rhodes is no doubt a nice, very confident and successful chap but sometimes this book smacked of a CV or advertisement for his services with plentiful reminders of how "amazing" his clients found him. If he was chocolate he would eat himself. Although the author is English, this book seems more geared to the US market with the phraseology used but with a bit of practice, some of the tips and nuances in here could be of use - however a good conversation takes two and not "Absolutely Anyone" can do that.
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I decided to give this book a read, not because I have any issues with communication or confidence, but it's always interesting to hear what experts in the field say, particularly if they have any interesting tipcs or anecdotes.

And broadly speaking, that's what I got out of this book. There are several anecdotes about the author's own experiences of various interactions. Sometimes the experiences are a little but tenuously connected to the point being made (e.g. having a chat with a tramp in a coffee shop was better than ignoring him, suggesting that it is good to be friendly and chat to other people... or at least that's the message I got). Although the book has some degree of structure, being written in three parts (of which part 2 is split into discussing the four stages of an interaction), it seems to be neither clinically prescriptive/clearly themed nor an entirely loose rambling of the author's thoughts. This isn't detrimental to the readability of the book, but some readers may find that it doesn't give them the structure they might expect from a topic like this.

It's interesting that the book jumps straight to a presumed problem; the opening chater initially discusses fear and various other barriers. I can see the use in this, but I don't think that the concept of "fear" or "rejection" should be the starting point for this topic. What I found most useful was the author's business experience and repeated reference to real life dicussions with clients/business parties. If you're interested in the aspect of business/workplace commuinication, you can probably skip over most of the theory bits and just flick through the various anecdotes.
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on 26 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
...on this review which is of a book. One that encourages us to face our fears and be more confident at both starting and maintaining conversations - even with complete strangers. I'm not usually a big fan of self-help books but this one called out to me as I had vivid memories of being at a function whereat I was introduced to, then left with, the shy friend of a friend and the next five/ten minutes seemed like hours and was painful - some tips would be useful if ever such a scenario occured again, I thought.

And on the whole, this book does tick all the boxes - showing why we usually have such reservations at speaking up and some practical tips on how to combat them; what to say; how to speak in a way that draws people to listen and how to direct a conversation. The latter stages of the book are particularly concerned with business communication and trying to sell to people which I didn't need so much as I do not have that kind of job - but I would guess that this is what most people who are tempted to purchase would be looking for and I think it would be money well-spent. The author even offers a complimentary online plan to further the information provided.

One step I particularly noted was a practical tip to deal with anxiety when it arises that I am trying to apply - which incidentally has nothing to do with communicating - so there are potential other life-enhancing benefits too!
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
How to Talk To Absolutely Anyone is a very easy read and would be useful not just to those who wish to improve their communication skills in a business context but to people in all walks of life. Much gentler than books like 'How to win friends and influence people' Mark Rhodes's book reads like a series of one-to-one coaching sessions coaxing the reader to come out of their shell and engage with anyone and everyone. The book takes the reader through irrational fears, on to ice breakers, with tips on how to influence, engage and achieve results without coming across as Machiavellian. Throughout the book, the emphasis is always on positive approaches making it a pleasure to read and put into practice. Despite starting with assistance for the most reserved (which may not be necessary those who already have some confidence in approaching others), the book progresses through the process of making and continuing good conversation and would provide useful guidance for anyone in day-to-day contact with others (helping to identify things you perhaps do naturally sometimes but forget about other times and also introducing new ideas). I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone looking to improve their communication skills.
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on 16 August 2013
I love the line on the back cover of Mark's book - 'Every conversation could be the start of something new; a new career; a new business idea or a new friendship' as this is so true and an exciting thought. I know that from personal experience. I'm lucky as I'll chat to anyone; even strangers on the bus/train/or plane as I love people and met some amazing souls and heard some wonderful stories! But I've seen so many people shy away and are hindered by their lack of confidence in making general conversation. This can be a real hinderance and especially in business but Mark's style of writing is so easy to understand and there are many hints/tips/ideas and suggestions for the reader to choose what they feel comfortable with and hopefully put into practice as nothing has to be daunting.

Mark has used his experience in NLP throughout the book and shares his thoughts on the power of your thinking too to help release your fears. A good book to boost your self-worth & confidence so you can take action the next time you are at a networking event or out in a personal situation...as you never know where that conversation is going to lead! Have fun seeing where it takes you.....
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is the first stage in talking confidently and talking to get the result out of the conversation that you were looking for. Like all things in life it takes practice and more practice to build up your knowledge and experience to be confident to talk in any situation. An interesting read, but only the first step if you want to learn to communicate confidently.

The author identifies 4 stages of an interaction:
1. Starting a conversation
2. Creating interest
3. Making a connection
4. Get them to take action

Once you have taken the content of the book onboard there is then some more help through the internet development plan which adds an extra level of learning.

You may have already read the bible on communication that was written by Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People, and if you have not then must do now. Plus there are a host of Dale Carnegie training methods to hand if you need further assistance.

Mark Rhodes has also written Think Your Way to Success: How to Develop a Winning Mindset and Achieve Amazing Results.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am mostly fine speaking to people especially at work but having said that I am not so great at starting conversations with an absolute stranger maybe on a bus (not that I travel on public transport) or a supermarket. Even if I manage to start a one with a stranger I than find it difficult holding a conversation unless I quickly find a common interest.

This book like some of the others from the series is very easy to read and follow. The author uses mostly work related situations which I feel makes the name of the book a bit misleading. Anyone picking up this book for tips talking to the opposite sex may want to look elsewhere!

A interesting read but I wouldn't say life changing, I am no conversational wizard since my read!

I have read some of the other reviews and there does seem to be a lot of mixed reviews as to whether it works or not, I guess its down to the individual. One thing most people do agree on though it is an interesting read
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very interesting and well written book. The author Rhodes has a pleasant and engaging style that is easy to read.

I have a couple of difficult-to-talk-to people in my life, and want to find a way to open up new lines of conversation, and to make conversation flow better with less awkward silences. Rhodes has given me several pointers to help me to find subjects that are of interest to these people, and how to listen to their words to gauge how to respond in a way that will encourage them to keep talking.

The book is written in a logical manner, and contrary to many other reviewers, I didn't find it too sales oriented at all.

Rhodes makes good use of bold text and boxes to highlight summary sections to make it easy to flick back to them later.

Please don't let excessive use of exclamation marks in the foreword put you off, Rhodes style is nothing like that of Armand Beasley who wrote the foreword.
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