Tuesday, January 22, 2013

8 books for the communicator's challenges, large and small

Maybe your challenge is better communications planning, or punching up the language in your speeches, or deciding whether to jump ship and go freelance...or just plain punctuation. Whether your communications challenge is large or small, find great solutions with each of these eight volumes:
  1. Plan-o-rama: There are only 365 days in the year ahead, but there are 12,500 different holidays, anniversaries and other events/weeks/days of note scheduled on those days. Before you plan your announcement against one of them, or fail to take advantage of another, invest in this year's model of the venerable Chases Calendar of Events 2013 with CD-ROM. It's an invaluable and easy way to avoid lousy timing, conflicts and other snafus in your communications and editorial calendar this year. Reporters will thank you for using it to remember the many, many things people think they should be covering on any given day--an average of 34 events a day, by this count.
  2. Blogalicious: Problogger's a premier website all about blogging, and ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income got an update last year. It's the condensed wisdom from the blog that helps others do it right. Now, whether that six-figure income belongs to you or your company...
  3. Free agency: Maybe you're an independent communicator like me, or one with a day job who dreams of the sweet life on the other side, or just a communicator who works with lots of freelancers. You'll want to dive into The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams - On Your Terms. Author Sara Horowitz heads Freelancers Union and is a MacArthur "Genius" who's the voice for thousands of freelancers. You'll learn everything from where the term originated (Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe) to how to actually run your independency. Based on my two experiences working this way, the book rings true..
  4. Pinpoint your style: The 2013 edition of the Associated Press Stylebook is due out in July, but you can further hone your AP Style with one of its more specialized guides, The Associated Press Guide To Punctuation. Put an end to those office debates about parentheses and serial commas, with authority.
  5. What was that don't get caught thing? Much of what we know about communicating effectively comes from cautionary tales, and last year's confessional Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator stirred the controversy pot, while offering a good reminder of why your efforts in outreach are met with increasing skepticism. A must-read for the seasoned veteran and the stars-in-eyes newbie.
  6. Verb-iage for your next preso: The more active verbs you use in writing or speaking, the more concrete you'll sound--and that makes you more persuasive. Get better at that precise skill with Power Verbs for Presenters: Hundreds of Verbs and Phrases to Pump Up Your Speeches and Presentations, forthcoming in February.
  7. Point, counterpoint: If you're writing opinion pieces or if editorial boards are part of your media relations efforts, you'll want this best practices manual from the Association of Opinion Journalists, called Beyond Argument: A Handbook for Editorial Writers. Learn how editorial writers do it, and what will work for you.
  8. Network like an introvert. Yes, you: I know plenty of introverted communicators, and this 2012 book puts a new spin on the conundrum of networking when you'd really rather be alone. Network Like an Introvert: A new way of thinking about business relationships reframes it all for you, and works whether you are introverted or extroverted.
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