How many of us have sat through boring or disappointing network marketing presentations? How many of us have heard people stumble and stammer, misrepresent, misquote, and mess up just about everything when it comes to giving an effective presentation?

For a profession so dependent on the effective spoken word, it would seem that we ought to put more emphasis in our trainings on improving communication skills at all levels. On the constant lookout for such educational materials, I was delighted to find a book that appeared promising for addressing the ills that haunt our profession.

For anyone familiar with John Maxwell’s books, his latest, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, will be an easy and natural read. Its high level of organization and fluent, straightforward writing style make it a joy. Illustrative stories, poignant quotes and even some recent statistics show Maxwell’s lifelong habit of collecting tidbits of invaluable information and make the book substantive.

Maxwell believes that a person’s ability to create change and results in any organization—be it a company, a non-profit or even a family—is directly tied to his or her ability to make a strong, meaningful connection, even during a short conversation.

The five connecting principles Maxwell teaches are:

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the book is the incredible amount of insights and tips it provides for public speaking. Although the book seeks to inform at three levels of communication—one-on-one, in group settings and in front of an audience—it is principally a public speaking guide. This is perfect for networkers, since most people are fearful of speaking in front of a crowd, and also since that very skill is in such high demand in our profession. Here Maxwell shines through strongly, with both principles and specifics for how to more effectively connect with an audience. My favorite was the Four Unpardonable Sins of a Communicator: being unprepared, uncommitted, uninteresting or uncomfortable.

This latest release from the Maxwell book production process (he uses a writer to produce the books from his thoughts) will not disappoint, and all our teams would be better off for having read it. If just one substandard presentation in our organization is saved because of Maxwell’s tips, we will all be better off!

Hardcover, 288 pages, $25.99;
Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010