Friends, partners, coworkers, even children – we communicate with different people every day. Despite this, not everyone knows how to talk to others, especially in stressful or tense situations. From learning how to talk about emotional needs to a partner to establishing boundaries in work environments, many authors have given great advice for communicating well.
Here are 10 books for becoming a better communicator:
1. Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication
It’s easy to get lost in conversation, especially when dealing with tough topics. You may have very specific things you wish to discuss, but other topics, someone’s responses, or even your own emotions can get in the way. Learning to navigate those responses, both of yourself and others, is how you make sure you’re adequately communicating what you need to.
This book outlines exactly how to do that, with advice on remaining confident during difficult conversations, understanding others, and more.
2. How To Start A Conversation and Make Friends
For some, making friends is easy. For others, especially those with social anxiety, it can be awkward and difficult. If you struggle with small talk, both online and in-person, then you’ll appreciate this simple guide. Learn to ask the right questions, find your conversation type, and make lasting connections that don’t feel forced.
3. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
At some point we stopped talking to strangers, and author Malcolm Gladwell argues that it has become a problem. Our ability to understand those we don’t talk to has faltered, so trying to make sense of them in our limited way ends up doing more harm than good.
This take through history isn’t exactly about how to communicate, but rather, why talking to others, especially strangers, impacts our society in major ways.
4. Four Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work—Anywhere!
If you’re looking for a concise read on bettering your communication skills quickly, then this book is for you. It includes easy tips and advice on managing difficult conversations, listening with empathy, and getting to the root of the issue. These universal skills aren’t just for couples in conflict or parents. Communication skills affect every aspect of your life, and this guide better equips you with the tools you need to communicate effectively with anyone.
5. Dare to Lead
Brene Brown’s open call to vulnerability isn’t just for mental health conversations or self-help books, though the overlap is undeniable. And while this book isn’t about communication exactly, it is about what happens when leaders, both big and small, consider vulnerability in their business practices. Leaning into those tough conversations, Brown writes, is how strong leaders become great.
This book is good for those looking for ways to deepen their connections with others in a professional setting.
6. Here to Make Friends: How to Make Friends as an Adult
Communication is the key to making friends, but how do you do that when you struggle to get past small talk? How do you create meaningful relationships with others when it seems impossible to connect past chit-chat?
This helpful guide is for those looking specifically to make impactful, fulfilling friendships with others, especially adults.
7. What to Say Next: Successful Communication in Work, Life, and Love—with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autistic individuals might miss contextual clues in conversations with others or misunderstand colloquial or metaphorical sayings, making it difficult to communicate in professional or personal environments. This book, written by an autistic author, offers insight, advice, and empathy for those looking to better understand themselves and others.
8. The Five Keys to Mindful Communication
This therapist-written book focuses on how mindfulness, the act of non-judgmental awareness and listening, can be used to talk to our spouses, our friends, and more. It helps foster empathy and connection, and creates space for needs to be met and concerns to be heard.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for anxiety, which can come up a lot in tough conversations. This book outlines how to use it effectively so you’re not only effectively communicating but also listening well.
9. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
These snappy, bite-sized tips and tricks are perfect for anyone who wants to jump right into bettering their communication skills at work or with family. It includes mastering small talk, making great first impressions, and commanding a room’s attention.
10. How to Instantly Connect with Anyone
If you appreciated Leil Lowndes’ style in her previous book, then you’ll probably enjoy this book. This book is great for those who maybe are fine with small talk, but struggle to make deeper connections beyond weather and family chats. While tailored slightly more to the business side of communication, it can still prove to be a valuable tool for anyone looking for ways to go deeper in conversations.
When to See a Therapist
If you’re constantly feeling misunderstood or have difficulty voicing your emotions in conversations, consider talking to a therapist. They can offer guidance and actionable advice for common situations, as well as provide a game plan the next time a tough conversation comes up. If you’re considering seeing a therapist, start here.