Book Reviews

Face-to-Face Communications for Clarity and Impact

by Harvard Business School Press

Reviewed by Tom Narak
Superintendent,
West Des Moines Community
School District,
West Des Moines, Iowa

The impact of rapidly advancing technology on human communication is well-documented. Yet due to the complexity of many issues that organizational leaders must face, little attention has been given to the effectiveness of personal communication techniques.

In Face-to-Face Communications for Clarity and Impact, the Harvard Business School Press shares effective techniques for personal communication by leaders.

Through a compilation of articles, the editors explore four major themes: Using the spoken word effectively; using nonverbal communication; reading others’ signals; and communicating under pressure. Each section describes the practical implications for leaders.

In a section on listening, we are told: “The most overlooked reason for poor listening is poor time management.” This relationship is further explored to show us how we can improve.

School leaders often must communicate under challenging conditions and immense public pressure. The information gleaned through the articles on face-to-face communication can provide the leader with a sense of confidence in working under such conditions.

Harvard Business School publications are written for business leaders, yet the suggestions explored in this book are appropriate for educational leaders. As the book states: “There is a lot in common between good leadership and good teaching.” School leaders understand the importance and need for good teaching. They also need to factor in the relationship between good communications for effective teaching and leading during challenging times.

(Face-to-Face Communications for Clarity and Impact by the Results-Driven Manager, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Mass., 2004, 155 pp., $14.95 softcover)