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The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively Hardcover – 19 Apr 2012
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From the Back Cover
“Helio Fred Garcia coached me a decade ago on the fundamentals of effective communication. I probably wasn’t his best student, but I count what I learned from him as one of the most important contributions to my personal growth as an executive. The Power of Communication should be on the must-read list of any person who aspires to lead by capturing the hearts and minds of his or her stakeholders.”
--Jeffrey Bleustein, Retired Chairman and CEO, Harley-Davidson, Inc.
“The Power of Communication is an absolutely terrific book on how to communicate and lead in complex and shifting situations. Helio Fred Garcia has compiled a wealth of compelling examples to illustrate and support a cogent and immensely practical set of principles for leadership communication. The result is a compelling guide for leaders in business and government settings alike.”
--Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School, and author of Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy
“Helio Fred Garcia is known as one of the most engaging and effective professors at NYU. Readers of this book will learn why. Only Fred could weave together tales about Abbott and Costello, the Marine Corps, and Cicero into a must-read for anyone who hopes to connect with the American public.”
--Louis Capozzi, Chairman, MSL Group (retired), and Adjunct Professor, New York University
“Professor Garcia’s book is great news for decision-makers, leaders, and professionals in the U.S. and any country in the world. The Power of Communication contains some very important global wisdom to save you in crisis in an omni-media age. The pity is that he can visit China only once a year, but that gives us all the more reason to celebrate the publication of this book, a very clear, concise, interesting, and powerful masterpiece.”
--Professor Steven Guanpeng Dong, Ph.D., Chair and Director, Institute of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, Tsinghua University, Beijing; Vice President, China Public Relations Association; former Shorenstein Fellow on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
“The Power of Communication is story after story, insight after insight, lesson after lesson, inspiration after inspiration. Just when you think it’s impossible to find another important illustration of a crucial communication or leadership principle, Fred gives you another chapter of powerful, sensible, often surprising and charming stories and lessons. Believe me, he is a persuasive orator in person and, as you’ll read, on paper. Looking to build your powers of communication, to inspire trust and confidence, and to lead effectively? You hold in your hand the key ingredient to a happier, more successful, and influential professional life. Start reading.”
--James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, President, The Lukaszewski Group Division, Risdall Public Relations
Communication is the absolutely indispensable leadership discipline. But too often leaders and professional communicators get mired in tactics and fail to influence public attitudes in the ways that would help them most. The Power of Communication is the solution. World-renowned leadership communication expert Helio Fred Garcia builds on the U.S. Marine Corps’ legendary publication Warfighting, showing how to apply the Corps’ proven leadership and strategy doctrine in all forms of public communication--and achieve truly extraordinary results.
Garcia demonstrates how to orient on audiences, recognize their most critical concerns, and successfully communicate on three levels: strategic, operational, and tactical. You’ll learn how to take the initiative and control the agenda...respond to events with speed and focus...use the power of maneuver...prepare and plan...and put it all together, becoming a “habitually strategic” communicator.
Communication has power, but, as with any powerful tool, it needs to be used effectively or it can cause significant self-inflicted harm. You’ll learn specific, indispensable lessons of leaders communicating effectively, including Apple’s Steve Jobs and the McDonald’s board, as well as from catastrophic mistakes of business and political leaders who got it wrong, from BP’s Tony Hayward to the HP board to FEMA.
If you need to win hearts and minds, you need The Power of Communication--and you need it now.
- Words matter: taking language seriously as a leadership discipline
Adapt language to changing circumstances and to the reactions they generate
- Words aren’t enough
Learn how what a leader says sets expectations, but what a leader does determines whether trust rises or falls
- Take your audience seriously
Connect with your audiences as living, breathing entities
- Speed, focus, and capturing the first mover advantage
Define your situation, motives, and actions--before someone else does
- Saying it isn’t enough
Master the bearing, physicality, and stagecraft of successful public leadership
- Audiences, attention, and retention
Learn how hearts and minds work--and get them to work together for you
About the Author
For more than 30 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. He is a coach, counselor, teacher, writer, and speaker whose clients include some of the largest and best-known companies and organizations in the world.
Fred is President of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group and Executive Director of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership. He is based in New York and has worked with clients in dozens of countries on six continents.
Fred has been on the New York University faculty since 1988 and has received his school’s awards for teaching excellence and for outstanding service. He is an adjunct professor of management in NYU’s Stern School of Business Executive MBA program and an adjunct associate professor of management and communication in NYU’s Master’s in PR/Corporate Communication program. Fred is also on the adjunct faculty of the Starr King School for the Ministry-Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where he teaches a seminar on religious leadership for social change. And he is on the leadership faculty of the Center for Security Studies of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where he teaches in the Master’s in Advanced Studies in Crisis Management and Security Policy. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and Officer Candidate School, the Brookings Institution, Tsinghua University in Beijing, and other institutions.
Fred is coauthor (with John Doorley) ofReputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication (second edition 2011; first edition 2007), by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. His two-volume bookCrisis Communications was published by AAAA Publications in 1999. He blogs at www.logosinstitute.net/blog; he tweets at twitter.com/garciahf.
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Strongly recommend to any leader.
Fortunately, Helio Fred Garcia addresses this lacuna with an immensely powerful sledgehammer of case studies, insightful deconstruction and valuable tips, processes and ways of doing, to offer a what, how and why on the power of communications.
This is a must-read for any public relations practitioners who pride themselves on providing effective counsel. For leaders it delivers must-not-ignore lessons on the need to appreciate how communications works and the need to listen to wise PR advice.
The book cleverly interweaves lessons from Helios' work with the US Marines and his discovery of their `Warfighting' manual along with inspiration from his strategic muse, the Prussian military strategist Clausewitz - all inter-woven with detailed appraisals of modern PR disasters and coups including the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, President Obama's diluted healthcare reforms through to McDonalds announcing a new CEO within 90 minutes of announcing the passing of the previous incumbent.
`Discover skills to build trust, inspire loyalty and lead effectively' proclaims the book's dustcover - and this is one text that indeed does what it says on the tin.
Warfighting: U.S. Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication No. 1 (1995) is Garcia's primary source as he converts its core principles into guidelines for effective leadership communication, including non-verbal as well as verbal initiatives. He also calls upon more than three decades of advising and coaching leaders and more than two decades of teaching in graduate-level programs at various universities. He also makes extensive use of case studies in which real-world leaders are involved in high-risk/high-stakes real-world situations.
There are no head-snapping revelations in this book, nor does Garcia make any such claim. Its greatest strengths are found within the framework he establishes and develops when presenting his material in the Three Parts:
Leadership and Communication: Connecting with Audiences (Chapters 1-5)
Strategy and Communication: Planning and Execution (Chapter 6)
Building Skills: Getting Good at Communicating Well (Chapters 7-10).
Then in an Appendix, Garcia reviews and discusses "Warfighting Principles for Leadership Communication." I commend him, also, on his skill use of two reader-friendly device s at the conclusion of each chapter: "Recap: Best Practices from This Chapter" (relevant excerpts from Warfighting) and "Lessons for Leaders and Communicators" in which he reviews key points and poses thought-provoking questions. These communication devices are very effective, both in terms of providing valuable information and serving as examples of how to formulate ideas precisely and concisely.
Inevitably, discussions of "leadership" in the military services evoke images of officers, especially generals, whereas discussions of "leadership" in business evoke images of C-level executives, especially CEOs. Obviously, the material Garcia covers will be of great interest and value to them. However, both in the military services and in the business world, effective leaders are needed at all kevels and in all areas, and their effectiveness will largely depend on their skills as a communicator.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out the aforementioned Warfighting: U.S. Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication No. 1. Amazon sells a paperbound edition published by Crown for only $8.49. I also recommend Be*Know*Do: Leadership the Army Way: Adapted from the Official Army Leadership Manual for which Frances Hesselbein and General Eric K. Shinseki U.S.A. (retired) wrote an Introduction) and to which Richard E. Cavanagh added a Foreword. Amazon sells a hardbound edition for $16.47. It is also available in a Kindle Edition.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The big take-away is that the only reason to communicate is to affect a change. Now, that could be anything from increasing revenues to attracting talent to securing permission to enter a market. But the point is that communicating for any other reason will at best waste resources and at worst crowd out other messages you're trying to get across.
Garcia covers a lot of territory, including using words as precision instruments, why framing matters as much as facts, and how evolution has shaped our brains to interpret stressful events in predictable ways. The most valuable parts of the book are the checklists that guide you through various scenarios and needs. Among them, how to create a communications plan that achieves a business goal, how to know if a situation (like a crisis) requires a response, and how to communicate to people who are in a state of fear and therefore interpreting information in a different way.
I keep one of these checklists in my wallet, a couple on my phone and the others in Evernote. (Try it -- tag each list with keywords for situations where you might need it and wham-o, instant guidance.)
In short, you should still read Sun-Tzu's "The Art of War," but you're best served by reading Helio Fred Garcia's "The Power of Communication" first.
When it comes to books that apply to preaching, this was one of the more fascinating ones. While not a book geared towards preachers, the applications from this book are incredibly clear.
Garcia takes principles from the U.S. Marine Corps' legendary publication Warfighting, showing how to apply the Corps' proven leadership and strategy doctrine to all forms of public communication -- and achieve truly extraordinary results. What follows in the book are incredibly insights for preachers.
What I most appreciated about the book was the idea how communication (or preaching) is about persuasion, changing ideas, changing someone, world views and moving people in a certain direction. Garcia said, "The only reason to engage an audience is to change something, to provoke a reaction. Effective communication provokes the desired reaction; ineffective communication doesn't." I think too many pastors don't preach to see change, to see someone change direction in life, change their thinking, they just preach to get information across. That's not the goal of the gospel. The goal is changing someone. That's The power of communication.
How does that happen? Garcia gives 3 things:
1. Logos: reasoning, logical argument, empirical evidence, rational explanation, and facts.
2. Ethos: an element of personal character, identity, or personal attributes; the characteristic spirit and prevalent tone or sentiment of a person, people, or community.
3. Pathos: emotion, passion, and especially triggering an emotional reaction from and connection with the audience.
Here are some things that jumped to me as a pastor:
-Communication is an act of will directed toward a living entity that reacts.
-Effective communication is intentional. It is goal-oriented. It is strategic.
-Words matter. Words shape worldviews. Words provoke action and reaction, which in turn provoke more words. Getting the words right is critically important. Getting the action right is also critically important. And aligning the words and actions is even more important.
-Communication isn't about telling our story. That's undisciplined, self-indulgent, and often illusory. The power of communication is getting audiences to listen--and to care.
-The only reason to communicate is to change something--to provoke a reaction.
-Audiences don't care about what companies (churches) care about. And that an effective leader knows how to connect with an audience on the things the audience cares about.
-Effective communication can help accomplish any particular purpose better, and faster, and with fewer resources. But however effective, it must be paired with action that is consistent with what is said.
-Whoever is first to define the crisis, the motives, and the next steps typically wins.
-Shaping the communication agenda requires considering more than what we may be minimally required to say, but rather identifying what we optimally should say in order to maintain trust, confidence, and loyalty.
-The most successful senior managers tended also to be the most compelling communicators.
-An audience's first impression is visual.
-A speaker captures or loses the audience's attention in the first 15 seconds.
-We connect with others by feeling, not by thinking.
-Leaders who appeal to self-interest alone will often fail to move their audiences. But leaders who appeal to identity--to being part of a team, a cause, an event, a mission--can move people to put aside their self-interest.
-People tend to remember the first thing they hear, but not what follows immediately thereafter.
-People tend to remember the last thing they hear.
If you are a communicator or a leader, this is a book worth checking out.
All in all, the book is a good read, but the constant comparison to and reframing of "Warfighting" does get tedious. Thankfully, it is less pronounced in later chapters. (Hang in there!). The review/summary at the end was helpful.