How to Say the Right Thing Every Time
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Updated Edition of Bestseller

How to Say the Right Thing Every Time
Communicating Well With Students, Staff, Parents, and the Public

Second Edition

Other Titles in:
Communication | Leadership

© 2009 | 272 pages | Corwin

"I had several 'ah-ha' moments while reading this book. Kudos to the author for creating a meaningful guide for today's school administrator."
—Marie Blum, Superintendent
Canaseraga Central School District, NY

"A good tool for administrators and teacher leaders with its readability, content emphasis, and real-life examples."
—Russ Bennett, Superintendent
Aurora City Schools, OH

Time-tested techniques for communicating effectively with all educational stakeholders!

For school leaders, being an effective communicator is one of the most vital and sometimes most challenging parts of the job. This user-friendly resource provides practical strategies for improving daily interactions with students, colleagues, parents, and other stakeholders as well as guidelines for avoiding missteps when critical issues arise.

Each chapter presents do's and don'ts for effective verbal and written communication in a variety of situations—from public speaking and working with the media to straight talk for approaching students about sensitive topics such as sex, gangs, and substance abuse. This revised edition also assists educators with:

  • How-to's for dealing with natural and man-made disasters
  • A new chapter on differentiating communication to reach a wide audience
  • A new section on communicating with school board members

Use the tools and real-world examples in this invaluable reference to resolve difficult situations and build positive relationships!

 
List of Boxes
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. The Twenty Biggest Communication Mistakes School Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them
The Top Twenty Reasons Educators Fail to Communicate  
The Jargon Trap  
Euphemisms Feel Good but Don’t Send a Clear Message  
Too Much Political Correctness Can Send Wimpy Messages  
How Straight Talk Can Make You a Better School Leader  
When the Right Thing to Say Is “Nothing”  
More “Must-Do” Tips for Always Saying the Right Thing  
 
2. How to Say the Right Thing to Students
Ten Guidelines for Communicating With Students  
Straight Talk Is the Language of Choice With Kids  
How to Talk to Young Children on Their Level  
How to Talk to Today’s Teenagers  
Differences in Talking to Boys and Girls  
Another Dozen Do’s and Don’ts for Saying the Right Things to Kids of All Ages  
How to Give Clear Directions and Instructions Every Time  
Socrates Had It Right: How to Ask Effective Questions  
How to Give Students “Pep Talks” That Really Work  
How to Give Authentic Praise  
How to Help Kids Talk Themselves Into Success  
Rhetoric-Free Reprimands  
Dealing With Touchy Topics (Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, Eating Disorders, and Other At-Risk Behaviors)  
How to Talk to Kids About Death and Dying  
How to Talk to Tough Kids (Including Gang Members)  
How to Talk to Kids About School Violence  
How to Talk to Kids About National Tragedies  
 
3. How to Say the Right Thing to Parents
What to Say to Put Parents at Ease  
Success Secrets for Communicating “Must-Know” Information  
Straight Talk at Parent-Teacher Conferences  
How to Explain Grades and Test Scores  
How to Share Good News With Parents  
How to Break Bad News (Failure, Retention, Disciplinary Action, Athletic Ineligibility)  
Don’t Beat Around the Bush About Bad Behavior  
How to Talk to Parents About Student Secrets, Surprises, and Other Sensitive Subjects (Dependency, Pregnancy, Homosexuality)  
What to Say to Angry, Out-of-Control Parents and Other Adults  
More Pointers for Saying the Right Thing to Parents  
 
4. How to Say the Right Thing to Peers and Colleagues
Successful Job Interviews: How to Ask the Right Questions and Give the Right Answers  
How to Ask for and Offer Help to Peers and Colleagues  
How to Give Advice  
The Language of Coaching and Mentoring  
How to Argue and Win  
The Proper Art of Bitching: How to Complain About the System and the People in It  
How to Criticize a Colleague Without Losing a Friend  
What to Say and Not Say When Giving References and Recommendations  
What to Say and How to Say It in Performance Reviews  
How to Pay Tribute to a Colleague  
How to Say the Right Thing to the Central Office  
How to Say the Right Thing to the School Board  
 
5. How to Say the Right Thing to the General Public and the Media
Smooth Schmoozing: How to Make Small Talk  
How to Sway Opinion and Persuade Nonbelievers  
How to Handle Complaints From the Public  
How to Make the Most of Good News  
Truth in Taxation  
How to Ask for Money  
“Houston, We Have a Problem”: What to Say When Trouble Strikes  
How to Apologize and Admit Mistakes to the Public  
Spin-Doctoring for Amateurs  
Dealing With the Media: What to Say to Reporters  
Do’s and Don’ts of Public Speaking for School Leaders  
 
6. How to Say the Right Thing in Special Situations
Secrets of Successful Ceremonial Greetings  
How to Give and Receive Compliments  
How to Show Appreciation and Say “Thank You”  
How to Say “No” and Make It Stick  
Tips on Testifying  
Advice for Leading Prayers, Giving Invocations, and Pronouncing Benedictions  
What to Say to Someone Who Is Not Going to Get Well  
How to Express Sympathy  
How to Give a Eulogy  
 
7. How to Say the Right Thing in Writing
Writing Is Different—or Is It?  
A No-Nonsense Writing Clinic for School Leaders  
Interoffice Memos: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly  
Cyber Straight Talk: Making the Most of Electronic Messages  
Real-World Report Writing  
How to Say the Right Thing in Business Letters  
Correct Forms of Address for Letters to Special Public Figures  
How to Write Straight-to-the-Point Press Releases and News Items  
 
8. How to Say the Right Thing With Gestures and Body Language
How the “Silent Language” Speaks Volumes  
Avoid Sending Mixed Messages  
Understanding the Vocabulary of Body Language  
Using the Power of Gestures  
Stay out of Trouble: Avoid the Pitfalls of Different Meanings for Different Groups  
Smile, You Really Are on Candid Camera  
9. How to Target Communication to All Stakeholders  
Tale of the Tail: Customizing Communication  
Old Stand-bys Aren’t Enough  
New Tools for Saying the Right Thing to Everyone  
One Strategy That Works With All Stakeholders  
A 7-Step Code for Saying the Right Thing  
More Ready-to-Use Tips for Targeting Messages to Specific Audiences  
How to Be a Communications Hero  
 
A Final Word
 
Resources
Resource A. 101 Ways to Be a Better Communicator Starting Tomorrow Morning  
Resource B. What Others Say About Communication: Quips, Quotes, and Anecdotes  
 
References
 
Index

"I had several ‘ah-ha’ moments while reading this book. I cannot imagine anyone reading this and not finding it worthwhile. Kudos to the author for creating a meaningful guide for today’s school administrator."

Marie Blum, Superintendent
Canaseraga Central School District, NY

"A good tool for administrators and teacher leaders for its readability, content emphasis, and real-life examples."

Russ Bennett, Superintendent
Aurora City Schools, OH

Relevant to the objectives of the course syllabus

Dr Robert Berardi
Education Dept, Northeastern University
December 25, 2009
Key features
  • Strategies for avoiding the 20 biggest communication mistakes
  • A new section on communicating with school board members
  • A new chapter on differentiating communication to reach a wide audience of stakeholders
  • Straight-talk strategies for approaching sensitive topics with students, such as alcohol and drug abuse or national tragedies
  • Guidelines for conducting productive parent-teacher conferences, including what to say to angry adults
  • Strategies for effective public speaking and handling performance reviews, job interviews, media interviews, and special ceremonies

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface to the Second Edition

Chapter 1


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