ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition — December 2002

In this Issue
Customer-Supplier Communication Systems: 360° Communications Loops
Get Off the Island!
Bridging the Gap at Work
From Our Readers
Letter to the Editor
FISH! The Book and the Video: A Review
Chapter News


Book Nook
Our Readers Say...
Editorial: From Our Perspective
What's Up?

December 2002 News for a Change—Home Page

NFC Index

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Book Nook

PowerPhrases! The Perfect Words to Say It Right and Get the Results You Want
by Meryl Runion
Power Potentials, 2002.
ISBN: 0-9714437-2-6.
Paperback, 210 pages. Price: $21.95

Overall Rating: **** Overnight it

Do you sometimes wonder why you can’t get other people to understand or accept your point of view? Do you have trouble making small talk at a party? Do you want to sell a new idea to your boss, but aren’t quite sure how to approach the task? Are you the new kid on the block and worry about being accepted? Are you out of work and facing the daunting prospect of an interview? Have you ever thought, “I wish I’d said….” If your answer to any of these questions is yes, or if you just want to become more comfortable communicating with bosses, co-workers, friends, and family, this book is for you.

Miss Manners would love this book! Its emphasis is on short, colorful expressions that get results “by saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and not being mean when you say it”
(p. 5) The focus is on assertive communication for a wide variety of social situations—from a sales call to a cocktail party, from the first day on the job to being on either side of a performance review. For example, there are phrases for the following:

  • Saying no: “I’d love to, but I have other commitments.” (p. 30)
  • Conflict resolution: “If we could come up with a solution that works for us both, would you be interested?” (p. 50)
  • Negotiating to get what you want: “I propose that…” (p. 85) and “When shall we start?” (p. 97)

There also are tips on how to create your own PowerPhrases®.

Although this book is quick and easy to read, its true utility will not be realized during a single time through the chapters. To fully benefit from this book, the reader will need to take the time to internalize the phrases and make them his or her own. Runion recommends that you “Memorize them. Put them on your fridge, next to your bed, and on your bathroom mirror. Practice them until they become automatic” (p. 2). This may seem awkward, but the payoff will be in more effective communications with others.

There is a wealth of information packed into this slim book; more than 130 lists of PowerPhrases are divided among the 12 chapters, as well as detailed steps for conflict resolution and delegation and numerous “Power Pointer” examples and tips. Unfortunately, finding phrases applicable to a specific topic or situation can be a challenge, as there is no index and the table of contents simply lists chapter titles. I developed my own expanded version of the table of contents so that I could find specific material more quickly.

On the other hand, there is a nice bibliography for those who want to continue their learning in how to communicate. Addition-ally, seven of the chapters conclude with exercises intended to help you understand your current language patterns and develop new ones.
This is a book that you’ll want to study and reference on a regular basis in order to refresh your ability to communicate assertively without being passive, aggressive, or disagreeable.

CHRISTINE ROBINSON has more than 25 years of leadership experience in quality systems for the process industries. She has a master’s degree in quality, values, and leadership from Marian College. An avid reader, she spends a significant amount of her time with her nose in books and her body at the library.

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