Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Review - Communication Smarts


Communication Smarts: How to Express Yourself Best in Conversations, Texts, E-mails, and More

By: Sandy Donovan
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0761370246
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 2013

Prehistoric communication was quite a bit different than Twitter, texting, and talking on the phone. Drums and smoke signals would make communicating with your friends a tad difficult, if not impossible. It wasn’t until the advent of the alphabet and “a way of creating words, sentences, and long, boring books” that we were able to communicate more quickly and effectively. With the advent of cell phones, Facebook, blogs, and other forms of social communication teens talk to one another in a much different and unusual way than generations before them.

A century ago television had not yet been invented but today ”it seems as if our communication options are endless.” It can be overwhelming, but there are the old standards such as letter writing and simple conversation. There are different kinds of conversations, but each type has similar “ingredients.” You’ll learn about the spoken word, volume, tone, inflection, the importance of minding your manners, and the give and take needed to sustain a conversation.

Text, text, text. Some teens do a lot of it and in fact “a 2011 study found that kids ages twelve to seventeen sent an average of 3,364 texts per month.” Yes, there are a few things to think about when you text, including when not to text. E-mail and social media also are forms of communication that have intrinsic rules that everyone needs to consider. For example, if you aren’t careful on Facebook, “some posts can actually put you in danger.”

Another way to communicate is the art of letter writing. Ever try it? Thank-you notes and cover letters can get you a long way in life. So just how can you use your wide array of communication skills to your advantage? Can the way you use them be detrimental? You’ll also learn about the problem of mixed signals, how you can settle differences, learn how to “become a confident public speaker,” and you’ll learn many other ways you can learn to communicate effectively and use your “communication smarts.”

This is an excellent book to introduce young people to the art of communicating wisely and effectively. Teens, unlike their grandparents and even their parents, are communicating in ways much, much different than generations before them. This book gives an excellent overview of how teens can use the means they have to communicate in a wise, efficient, and courteous manner. There are now new rules of etiquette, ones that didn’t exist previously, that teens need to be aware of. For example, they need to know “when it’s appropriate to text.” Interspersed throughout the book are period USA Today articles that discuss an assortment of communications methods. The book has full-color photographs and numerous informative sidebars. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: This USA Today "Teen Wise Guides: Lifestyle Choices Series" is an excellent series for teens to learn how to make lifestyle changes and choices.