John C. Maxwell – Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold over 19 million books. Dr. Maxwell founded EQUIP in 1996. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies. Maxwell has written three well-known books which have each sold more than one million copies: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. Large parts of his key messages in Everyone Communicates, Few Connect lean on common grounds, principles found elsewhere. It’s in the repetition and practice where the true value of the bullet lists, tips and hints are to be found.

Nothing new on the importance of tone of voice and body language over the message itself. No ground-breaking insights on the concept of truly connecting to people, not sending messages. Whether you’re a speaker, leader, preacher, manager or wannabe communicator, there’s lot to learn in this book. Maxwell is eager enough to stay close to his principles and shares from his own experiences. To stay humble, free from fear, open to others: it sounds so easy, yet so difficult in daily life. Take “Do I see what you see?” instead of “Do you see what I see?” as a simple example.  Can your audience really trust you, be confident that you’re about to help and care? Do you talk to, not above people? People are longing for conversations not debates.

Forget your agenda, if you get 30 minutes instead of 1 hour, deliver your pizza speech instead of the full meal version. Great example is Maxwell’s 1 sentence speech on leadership. And though the author frequently quotes from fellow Christian authors and preachers like Andy Stanley and Rick Warren, there’s plenty of room left for non-believers to connect to the book’s core message as well. However, don’t expect any concrete help except for the bunch of sometimes vague principles like  “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” If you examine the personal examples, they’re about all the great speeches and travels Maxwell did, not that conversation you’re anxious about now or the impression you just left at your last meeting.