Do you consider yourself a good communicator? Does your job include that you speak or write to clients? Are you often jittery when you meet strangers and are afraid to start a conversation with them? Are there things you will like to say but for political correctness? If your answers to all these questions, I suggest you read How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere by Larry King.
I was on my way back from work one day when I came across a book vendor who showed the book. On noticing Larry King’s picture at the front cover, I decided to make the purchase.
On political correctness, which is one of the things shaping the 2016 US presidential election, King notes: “Like it or not, however, we have to deal with both the term and the concept in our daily lives and therefore in our daily talk.” (p 102)
Larry King, well-known host of CNN’s Larry King Live, is probably one of the best known, if not the most respected, interviewers today. I found his book to be a collection of useful tips on how to communicate and talk to people, not only in professional, but also in personal situations.
We have to admit that with the rise of a say-it-as-it-is candidate like Donald Trump, who recently won the Republican presidential primaries thanks to his careful breaking of the rule of political correctness, norms of how to speak and how not to speak in politics seems to be taking its roots in politics.
Many recall Trump making seeming careless statements about immigrants (especially Mexicans), women and persons living with disabilities. Remarks like these are things only a person like Trump will get away with!
King writes further: “Black leaders said they and the other members of their race should be called ‘African Americans’. Mexicans and Spanish leaders expressed a preference to be called ‘Hispanics’ a term now giving way to ‘Latino’.” (p 103).
He warns on the dangers of over political correctness. He writes: “Let’s not become so worried about offending anybody that we lose the ability to distinguish between respect and pananoia.” (p 105)
He covers such varied topics as how to start conversations, public speaking, and job interviews. The book is also full of anecdotes of his personal experiences in social situations as well as while filming his talk show.
We can summarise the thoughts in the book into two “rules” of communication:
1. If you feel you are not good at it, you can be.
2. If you feel you are good at it, you can be better.
What King provides is a road map to achieve that goal. Anyone can read the book no matter their level of education and intelligence. It is easy and simple to understand. It was full of helpful and proven techniques that have been already successfully in different areas of life.
King closes the book with a statement that sums up the whole book better than I could. Again, there are rules in communication, but we can sometimes break them!