A sweeping new vision of business strategy.
An intricately designed model of human behavior.
A stirring account of leadership and creation of empire.
We already have books about fierce, crucial, difficult, and so on. We know that conversations are art more than science and that they are important in our lives. As I glance over the many titles of books from counseling, adult learning, leadership, human performance, training, and critical thinking (to say nothing of my extensive “Doonesbury” collection), I repeatedly and consistently see communication and all its parts reinforced as essential.
So why another book on communication?
Maybe because we still do not practice what has been preached at us. Maybe because we need reinforcement that communication is about more than just telling others what you want them to do. Maybe because we need regular reminders of what we should already know. Maybe because hearing something in a new and engaging way makes it stick.
John R. Stoker has the background, experience, and knowledge to be a very credible source of our continuing leadership education.
Stoker talks about an Interaction Style Model: eight principles that neatly sum up the core components of talking (and listening) to others in a positive and collaborative fashion to create results. His model stands above others with which I am familiar, because it is very well thought out, comprehensive, and presented clearly for maximum understanding.
I am still absorbing this fascinating and enjoyable book, but here are three things I am already finding of value:
1) AN EYE FOR LEARNING . ..
Stoker is visual and provides us with clear graphics to support his ideas. Two related examples of his ability to create visual communication are on pages 59 and 79.
Using our well-known 2×2 grid, Stoker shows us the relationships and continuum’s about people and task orientations, aggressive and passive behavior, and four primary types that flow out of this: Builders, Initiators, Discoverers, and Connectors.
Those who are familiar with the DiSC model will feel right at home, but Stoker adds richness and his own stamp to what in other hands might be stale material to these two graphs, which show the same basic information, but with nice variation.
2) AN EAR FOR LEARNING . . .
Stoker has an ear for dialogue and the book is full of actual, quoted words and conversations to illustrate the points being made.
This is no dry textbook or extended analytical article, but an engaging and useful series of vignettes where we actually see and hear (at least in our heads, unless we read aloud) real conversations.
Stoker uses the acronym REAL in his book, and these conversations show this nicely: authentic people speaking in authentic language.
3) A BRAIN FOR LEARNING . . .
Stoker is up-to-date and incorporates current thinking about neuroscience to explain how our brains work during discussions, why this is important, and how this knowledge informs our transformation into leaders who can create and engage in “real” conversations.
In earlier times, we had inklings about what was effective, but did not always know how to explain why communication worked better in some ways than others.
Now we can support effective practices more clearly and Stoker does so nicely, without overwhelming those of us who are less “technically” oriented.
I keep using the term “real”, but this book is about more than just the opposite of “fake” … “REAL” conversation in Stoker’s world “is the process of creating dialogue” and includes the following:
1) Recognizing and Suspending to Uncover
2) Expressing Your Intention
3) Asking to Reveal
4 Listening and Attending to Connect
(Stoker, 2014, p. 57)
Through the course of the book, Stoker explains each part in great and engaging detail. Overcoming Fake Talk is just a very well-written and thorough book about making our conversations “REAL”
Actually, if you read and think about the practices outlined in this book, then put what you learned into action, you may actually find yourself creating sweeping business strategy, changing your view of human behavior, or finding your own voice for leadership and creation … or you may just find working with others to carry out your mutual goals a lot easier and more rewarding than you imagined.
I could tell you more about this exciting new addition to my library, but you need to discover the value in Overcoming Fake Talk yourself. Let me just end by saying that this “fake” book is the real deal.
Having a blast reading and relaxing as summer ends slowly in the Heartland ….
For over 20 years, John R. Stoker has been facilitating and speaking to audiences, helping them to improve their thinking and communicating skills. He is an expert in communications who believes the human capacity to achieve astonishing results depends on the individual’s ability to interact with others.
John holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Behavior as well as a J.D. Degree. His landmark book, Overcoming Fake Talk, is both entertaining and engaging, and it presents skills that help readers talk about what matters most.
In the past, John worked as a practicing criminal defense attorney, spent summers as a Grand Canyon white-water guide, and taught on the university level for 13 years. John has been happily married since 1994 and he and his wife Stephanie are the proud parents of five children.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review before it was available for sale. If you think a free book is enough to sway my professional considerations, I have a very large image problem with which I need to deal.