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Ever had butterflies in your stomach? Maybe it was before a speech or a job interview. Maybe, your voice got shaky. Or, your heart pounded so hard you wondered if you were having a heart attack. Or worse, the answer you diligently practiced for this specific interview question just mysteriously evaporated and you stood wordless in front of the hiring manager.

Not to worry, you are not alone.

Millions of adults battle with speech or communication anxiety on the daily.  Fortunately, it's not such a hard thing to get over. For starters, you can read books written to guide you towards becoming the best communicator you can be.

But why is improving your communication skills important? Well, it’s among the top skills needed to succeed at work. So this matters, especially if you’re a college dropout without degree.

[Related: How To Get Promoted and Level Up Your Career]

Below is a list of the top eight books that can improve your communication and social skills.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)

Written 85 years ago, this book is a timeless treasure. It  teaches you the fundamental techniques of handling people; ways to become a likable person, win over people, be a leader, influencer, and positively transform people without causing too much friction or  discomfort. 

The core idea behind this book is to bring about change in yourself that will influence others to also change  their behavior. Here, you will learn the importance of creating meaningful and powerful relationships by focusing on other’s interests, being empathetic, and cultivating the art of listening.

2. Talk Like TED (Carmine Gallo)

Most people have incredible ideas, experiences, and stories to share but their fear of public speaking silences them. 

As the name suggests, this book analyzes  great TED talks and presents  techniques used by the world’s greatest communicators. The book distinguishes 3 components used by TED speakers: emotional, novelty, and memorable. These components are what come together to make an inspiring presentation. 

The best take-away from this book is that one should follow the 18-minute rule, where any talk, speech, or presentation should not exceed this time limit. Listeners cannot take in too much information at once. So structure your talk and deliver your message with stories, examples, and statistics to make it impactful and memorable.

3. How To Talk to Anyone (Leil Lowndes)

How to Talk to Anyone highlights 92 tricks and strategies that can effectively improve your communication skills . Here, you will learn  basic etiquettes, body language, and non-verbal communication tips. This book will help you create a great first impression, build a strong connection with people around you, sound professional at work, establish deep rapport with anyone, and build  other interpersonal skills.

4. The Fine Art of Small Talk (Debra Fine)

Do you hide yourself  in social gatherings? Do you find it hard to start a conversation? Does meeting new people make you  anxious? Is there usually an awkward silence between you and someone you meet for the first time?

If you answered 'Yes' to these questions, then this is the best book  for you. Written by Debra Fine,  a renowned author, this book is all about initiating a conversation. This is the best book to  master the art of starting a conversation, listening to others, striking small talks with anyone, and  coping with social anxiety.

5. Never Eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi)

One of the four pillars of communication is networking and connecting with  people. This is an exceptional book that reminds you to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships and to expand your circle. This is very important for your personal and professional growth. If you have built a strong network  beforehand, you can use it to your advantage. Nowadays, most people land jobs through personal contacts rather than going through the tedious application process. Give this book a read and learn how to  improve your personal and professional life.

6. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions  (Guy Kawasaki)

This is one of the most captivating books on improving your communication skills and alluring your customers. Brands often try to persuade, influence, market, and attract customers. But what if you can enchant your customers through affinity, commitment, trustworthiness, and loyalty? This would be a more powerful tool and the most effective way to resonate with people. Through enchantment, you can make people change their minds, heart, and actions voluntarily. The book has such valuable insights that can help you build a successful business.

7. Talk to Strangers: How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income, and Life  (David Topus)

This book carries   a strong message; We encounter innumerable people in our daily lives and talking to such strangers helps us  engage with real-time people, conversations, and opportunities. You can build a network, learn from people, influence or get influenced, change other’s lives or your own, strengthen your circle, come out of your comfort zone, and use these conversations in your life, career, or business. The outlook of this book is very different but can be a great resource for improving your communication skills, creating massive opportunities for yourself, and changing the course of your life.

[Related: Networking for Professional Development ]

8. People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts (Robert Bolton)

In this book, the author illustrates  roadblocks in communication that destroy relationships and ways to overcome them. Often, we avoid conflicts by not communicating or becoming submissive/ aggressive, but this only builds resentment and hatred towards the other person. Bolton offers strategies such as empathy (vital for strong relationships), genuineness, listening, and reflecting on what the other person is saying, assertive communication, and adopting conflict resolution as effective methods.

Happy Reading!

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough. Each book has a different style and talks about different types of interpersonal skills. Some have tips and tricks, while others have action-oriented solutions. We’d recommend starting with the one that appeals to you the most to learn more about different facets of communication that will help you build strong social skills.


Interested in learning more about the job market and opportunities for non-degree holders? We've got you covered! Check out more of our blogs that answer your most urgent questions.

Photo by Jacob Lund via Canva