Review – People Skills by Robert Bolton (Nonfiction)

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People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts

by Robert Bolton

Summary: Improve your personal and professional relationships instantly with this timeless guide to communication, listening skills, body language, and conflict resolution.
A wall of silent resentment shuts you off from someone you love….You listen to an argument in which neither party seems to hear the other….Your mind drifts to other matters when people talk to you….
People Skills is a communication-skills handbook that can help you eliminate these and other communication problems. Author Robert Bolton describes the twelve most common communication barriers, showing how these “roadblocks” damage relationships by increasing defensiveness, aggressiveness, or dependency. He explains how to acquire the ability to listen, assert yourself, resolve conflicts, and work out problems with others. These are skills that will help you communicate calmly, even in stressful emotionally charged situations.
People Skills will show you:
· How to get your needs met using simple assertion techniques
· How body language often speaks louder than words
· How to use silence as a valuable communication tool
· How to de-escalate family disputes, lovers’ quarrels, and other heated arguments
Both thought-provoking and practical, People Skills is filled with workable ideas that you can use to improve your communication in meaningful ways, every day.

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Source: I read a paperback from my branch library at work.

Review:

NOTE: I’m not much of a nonfiction reader, but I will be reading some books this year at work for work since I work in customer service. This was the first book from my branch library that I read.

People Skills was all about communication techniques and conflict resolution. The basic layout was how to listen, how to assert, how to combine those two skills to resolve conflict. It was written with more personal examples than work relationship examples, but I think the main idea was that the skills could and should be used regularly.

The book certainly had some great ideas and I believe it works in the kind of conversations I have when I’m at work. It’s my job to talk to people, meet their needs, and make sure that I resolve any conflicts they are having with my company or their accounts. Being able to break down what they are saying by listening well, rephrasing their needs, and then work on a way to make them happy is an important skill for me to have.

However, it’s in my personal life that I feel a bit more skeptical about the “power” of this book. The basics apply, as in don’t tell people what they SHOULD do, make sure you listen and you’re not trying to form a reply before they finish, etc. Those are all things I know and things that are helpful. But rephrasing their feelings instead of responding in a more natural way just seemed weird to me. I don’t know that I would actually do that in “real life” outside of work. I think the conversations I have at work are geared towards accepting that layout of conversation versus the random conversations I participate in everyday.

I enjoyed People Skills, though it was much longer than it could have been. It would have worked well being 100 pages shorter, but I learned a little bit and got some great ideas out of it. I’m a skeptical person who doesn’t read self improvement books, but I do enjoy learning and hearing people out. I don’t think any book is going to CHANGE MY LIFE, but this book definitely had some good points that can and will help anyone learn to how to communicate better. I’m glad it was a bit older, so it seemed out of that whole READ THIS AND BE A BETTER PERSON OMG kind of advertisement.

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