1. What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro. Joe is a professional reader of body language and shares some of the tricks to this skill, not the least of which is keen, unobtrusive observation. I think there is even more pressure to be good at reading body language today since most of our communication is electronic. Thus, we get less practice at being with people, so we need to be all the more observant during in-person meetings.
2. Take the Cold out of Cold Calling by Sam Richter. Sam Richter was President of the James J Hill Reference Library which mostly serves individuals and small business. As such, this book is geared to help anyone learn more about their customers by researching them on the Internet, and he shares many tippers on how to do this.
3. Basic Interviewing Skills by Raymond L. Gorden. This is the best interviewing structure I have read anywhere which Professor Gorden calls, “Skill Learning Cycle,” which involves developing 12 skills to achieve a high quality interview. He presents a solid structure for conducting and assessing your interview and includes exercises for practice. He also includes some great tippers on how to read body language and tone of voice while conducting an interview.
4. Confidential: Business Secrets – Getting Theirs, Keeping Yours by John Nolan. This is a classic in the competitive intelligence community for John’s discussion around developing elicitation skills and how to protect your company’s secrets and sensitive information.
5. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This is a must read for anyone in public relations and brand management. Even a small business person will benefit by learning how to develop and position their brand.
6. The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy. This is a favorite of Matt Kelly’s of Strategy Software, another instructor at our AMA course. Mr. Treacy argues that companies should focus on leadership in one of three areas for a sustainable competitive advantage: operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy.
7. Competitive Intelligence: How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top by Larry Kahaner. Mr. Kahaner describes the value of competitive intelligence and how to use it very clearly as he is a trained journalist, and writes exquisitely.
I also put together a book list on social networking and presentations for this course, the topic for a future blog.