Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: Speak Easy; Mary Lou's Rules For Engaging Conversation

Title: Speak Easy; Mary Lou's Rules For Engaging Conversation

Authors: Matthew Calkins & Mary Lou Walker

Publisher: Cupola Press, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0-0703345-7-3 (ebk)

ISBN-13: 978-0-09793345-8-0 (paperback)

About the Authors
Mary Lou Walker is a retired Social Studies teacher who received the 1985 New York State “Teacher of the Year” award. She presently teaches "Colloquy" courses in libraries and wherever people want to gather for enjoyable conversation.

Her son and co-author Matthew Calkins serves as Rector of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield. He is currently working on completing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Hartford Seminary. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Mary Calkins, who teaches art in the Fairfield public school system.

The Fine Art of Conversation
Mary Lou Walker believes that everybody talks, but few master the fine art of conversation. She believes that if you practice the method in her book, you will become a better conversationalist.

In the first part of this book, Ms. Walker shares "Mary Lou's Ten Rules".  Each chapter includes a reflection on a larger "life lesson" that pertains to the rule being presented. Chapters also include a brief sample dialogue to further clarify an aspect of conversation.

What is the difference between just talking and participating in a conversation? Why does becoming adept in the art of conversation matter? What role does listening play in the art of conversation? What happens when your conversation turns into a debate? Why is it important to think before you speak? How do you keep your cool when the conversation gets hot?

These are just a few of the questions that are covered in the "Rules" section of this book. The last part of the book instructs the reader on how to organize and conduct a "colloquy", or conversation group. This is similar to a group that comes together to discuss a chosen book or other topic of interest. The only difference is that the group is open to choose their own topics and a moderator is charged with the task of making sure the "rules" are followed.

Skip Morse, a marketing professional, wrote the last chapter of this book on the subject of business conversation. He reminds us how important it is for business owners/sales reps to build a relationship with clients before trying to make a sale. He believes that if more business training courses adopted "Mary Lou's Rules", deal closure would gain a higher probability of success.

My Thoughts
I think this book is excellent, awesome and outstanding. Ms. Walker has done an excellent job explaining "why" we need to improve our conversation skills and "how" to accomplish this task. I think the "life lessons" that are included in the text are very effective in demonstrating our need to work on our conversation and listening skills.

I wish I lived in New York so that I could attend one of Mary Lou's colloquy groups.  Kudos to Ms. Mary Lou ~ she is truly a life-long learner and teacher.  I am going to start practicing these rules when I converse with friends and family members. Highly recommended to all who want to sharpen their communication skills.

Rating: 5 Stars Out Of 5

FYI ~ I received a complimentary digital copy of this book to read and review from Matthew Calkins. Thank you!

Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...