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Power Cues

The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact

by Nick Morgan, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, Mass., 2014, 270 pp. with index, $25 hardcover


As a school leader one must have the ability to lead through persuasion and passion. Many times, the leader is focused on finding just the right words to include in his verbal presentation that will persuade others to want to follow his lead. More important than the verbal communication skills, though, are nonverbal communication skills. In Power Cues, author Nick Morgan, speaking coach, communication expert and founder of Public Words Inc., guides leaders to utilize their nonverbal communication skills to become better leaders and to improve their interpersonal skills.

Basing his recommendations on brain research and personal experience providing leadership coaching, Morgan highlights seven individual nonverbal power cues. He recommends that the book be read over a period of several weeks because each step takes time to master, and each communication cue builds on the previous one discussed in the book.

Power Cues is helpful because it helps readers to understand the nonverbal messages that they are currently sending out, and provides specific suggestions for relaying the messages they want to send out in order to influence others. It also provides methods for understanding the true communication and standings of others based on their actions, rather than their words.

Each chapter begins with a synopsis of what will be discussed, and ends with field notes and a summary. The conversational, coaching tone of the meat of each chapter makes the book easy to understand and the concepts easy to apply to one’s own life. The book ends with a discussion about using the seven power cues to enhance 21st century communication and “radical authenticity.” I would recommend this book for school leaders and for anyone else who desires to communicate more fully and effectively with others.

Reviewed by Lylia King, Principal, Mansfield independent School District, Mansfield, Texas

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