In this self-help book, adjunct college professor and corporate communications trainer Terry Turner asks readers to become part of “a world of people who enjoy their lives, care for and lift each other, and encourage success…..through better communication skills.” Her step-by-step approach is designed to help them get there.
The author incorporates 12 keys to relationship building that focus on improving communication skills through active listening, self-reflection, tact and empathy. Using simple anecdotes, Turner outlines issues such as abandoning automatic assumptions, and “tossing out your victim words: have to, can’t and should.” A key point discusses what Turner calls a radical idea: the ability to pause and choose your own thoughts and feelings when communicating. For example, having your driving speed pointed out by a passenger might cause immediate anger or embarrassment. Instead, says Turner, a pause might lead to the valid thought that there is a speed trap ahead and defuse a potentially angry or shamed reaction.
Problem-solving is another important communication technique the author reviews. Defining a problem, collaborating and brainstorming—then following up—can provide outcomes desired by both individuals. And matching the mode of the person you’re communicating with through eye contact and mirroring body language also helps improve interactions.
The book moves readers in a well-written, linear direction, but some may want to re-read specific chapters to focus on their own issues and practice the author’s advice on building better communication skills.
Good communicators may find Better Relationships Happier Lives somewhat basic; many other titles have covered much of the same ground. But for most readers, Turner’s book will provide useful tips and the encouragement to improve relationships in all areas of life. ”[S]tudents have told me that these skills have changed their lives,” Turner notes. Learning and practicing her 12 keys may help bring readers closer to developing the positive relationships they desire.
Also available in hardcover, ebook and audio book.