Communicating Professionally, Third Edition: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians

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ALA Neal-Schuman
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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

This book is available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor or contact us for more information. Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

An updated and expanded version of the training guide Booklist called "one of the most valuable professional publications to come off the presses in a long time," the new third edition of Communicating Professionally is completely revised with new sections outlining the opportunities offered by contemporary communication media. With more resource information on cross-cultural communication, including new applications of communication principles and the latest research-based material on communication in general, this comprehensive manual covers

  • Fundamental skills such as listening, speaking, and writing
  • Reading others' nonverbal behavior
  • How to integrate skills, with tips for practicing
  • Sense-making, a theory of information as communication
  • Common interactions like speaking one-on-one, working in groups, and giving presentations
  • Training others in communication skills, including a special section on technology-based training

  AcknowledgmentsPreface 1. Nonverbal Behavior1.1. Introduction to Nonverbal Behavior1.2. Eye Contact1.3. Smiling and Nodding1.4. Pausing1.5. Posture1.6. Physical Appearance1.7. Personal Space1.8. Vocal Qualities1.9. Annotated References 2. Listening  2.1. Goals of Effective Listening2.2. Active Listening2.3. Barriers to Listening2.4. Improving Listening Skills2.5. Annotated References  3. Skills: Speaking3.1. Introduction to Speaking Skills 3.2. Acknowledgment3.3. Minimal Encouragers3.4. Open Questions versus Closed Questions3.5. Avoiding Premature Diagnosis3.6. Sense-Making Questions3.7. Follow-Up Questions3.8. Reflecting Content3.9. Reflecting Feeling3.10. Inclusion3.11. Closure3.12. Giving Instructions and Directions 3.13. Confrontation3.14. Giving Feedback3.15. Receiving Feedback3.16. Offering Opinions and Suggestions3.17. Annotated References  4. Skills: Writing4.1. Analyzing the Audience4.2. Choosing an Appropriate Style 4.3. Writing with Impact4.4. Writing Clearly and Briefly4.5. Organizing4.6. Using Inclusive and Nondiscriminatory Language4.7. Checking Spelling4.8. Avoiding Common Grammatical Errors4.9. Using Tables, Charts, and Graphs 4.10. Formatting the Page4.11. Writing Digitally4.12. Editing Your Work4.13. Postscript: Keeping Your Reader in Mind4.14. Annotated References 5. Integration: Putting It All Together5.1. How to Use This Chapter5.2. Theory and Paradigms5.3. Sense-Making: A Theory of Information as Communication 5.4. Microcounseling and Microtraining5.5. Intentionality5.6. The Problem of Manipulation versus Genuineness5.7. Tips for Practicing

5.7.1. Practicing Verbal Skills


5.7.2. Practicing Writing Skills


5.8. Skill Integration5.9. Annotated Readings 6. Applications: Speaking One-to-One  6.1. Introduction to Speaking One-to-One6.1.1. Communicating Face-to-Face: The First 60 seconds6.2. Using the Telephone and Voicemail6.2.1. Answering the Telephone6.2.2. Voicemail6.3. Interviewing6.3.1. What Is an Interview?6.3.2. Dimensions of the Interview6.3.3. All-Purpose Interviewing Skills6.4. Reference Interviews6.4.1. The Generic Reference Interview6.4.2. The Secondhand Reference Interview and the Imposed Query6.4.3. The Research Reference Interview6.4.4. The Telephone Reference Interview6.4.5. The Virtual Reference Interview6.4.6. The Readers' Advisory Interview6.4.7. Integrating Reference Interview Skills6.5. The Employment Interview6.5.1. Conducting the interview6.5.2. Being Interviewed6.6. Coping with Special Situations6.6.1. Helping People with Disabilities6.6.2. Language and Speech Barriers6.6.3. Cross-Cultural Communication6.6.4. Handling Complaints6.7. Problematic Behavior6.7.1. Disruptive and Inappropriate Behavior 6.7.2. Unlawful and Dangerous Behavior6.8. Annotated Readings 7. Applications: Working in Groups7.1. Why Work in Groups?7.2. Characteristics of Groups7.3. Patterns of Communication7.4. Group Dynamics7.4.1. Task Functions7.4.2. Maintenance Functions7.4.3. Group Leadership7.4.4. Being a Good Group Participant7.5. Group Work in Libraries: Five Types of Face-to-Face Communication7.5.1. The Book Discussion7.5.2. The Problem-Solving Discussion7.5.3. The Focus Group7.5.4. The Formal Meeting7.5.5. Self-Directed Work Teams7.6. Virtual Groups 7.6.1. Virtual Teams7.6.2. Virtual Conferencing7.6.3. Virtual Discussion Sites7.7. When Your Group Has Problems7.7.1. Self-Oriented Functions7.7.2. How to Handle Problem Behavior7.8. Annotated Readings 8. Making Presentations8.1. General Considerations8.2. Arranging for Other People to Speak8.2.1. Introducing a Speaker8.2.2. Thanking a Speaker8.2.3. Chairing a Panel8.3. Making a Presentation Yourself 8.3.1. Knowing Your Purpose 8.3.2. Analyzing the Audience 8.3.3. Finding a Topic8.3.4. Developing the Topic8.3.5. Choosing an Appropriate Arrangement8.3.6. Using Audiovisual Aids and Presentation Software 8.3.7. Delivery8.3.8. Overcoming Stage Fright 8.3.9. Public Speaking: A Checklist8.4. Making Longer Presentations at Workshops and Conference Sessions 8.4.1. Requirements of Longer Presentations8.4.2. Designing the Presentation 8.4.3. Getting the Audience Involved8.4.4. Answering Questions from the Audience8.4.5. Evaluating the Presentation 8.5. Some Specialized Forms of Presentation8.5.1. Poster Presentations8.5.2. Booktalking8.5.3. Leading Tours8.6. Providing Library Use and Information Literacy Instruction8.6.1. Attending and Influencing Skills for Instruction8.6.2. Questioning Skills for Instruction8.6.3. Group Skills for Instruction8.7. The Media Interview8.8. Annotated Readings 9. Applications: Writing  9.1. When to Write and When Not to Write9.2. Internal Communication versus External Communication 9.3. Messages  9.3.1. E-mail9.3.2. Instant Messaging and Online Chat9.3.3. Text Messaging9.3.4. Facebook9.3.5.Virtual Discussion Sites9.3.6. Blogs9.4. Memos9.5. Letters9.6. Reports9.6.1. Informal Reports9.6.2. Formal Reports9.7. Instructions9.8. Policy and Procedure Manuals9.9 . Staff Newsletters9.10. Forms9.11. Written Communications for Committees9.12. Signs   9.13. PR, Publicity, and Promotion9.13.1. Attracting Media Attention9.13.2. Newsletters for the Public9.13.3. Handouts, Flyers, Brochures9.13.4. Using Websites and Other Electronic Media for Publicity and Promotion9.14. Proposals9.15. Writing about Books9.15.1. Booklists   9.15.2. Annotations9.15.3. Reviews9.16. Contributions to the Professional Literature9.16.1. Getting Published 9.16.2. Citation Form9.17. Annotated References 10. Training Others in Communication Skills  10.1. How to Use This Book for Training10.2. Teaching Adults10.3. Planning the Training Program10.4. Using the Microskills Training Model10.5. Modeling Good Behavior10.6. Using Audio and Video Recording for Training10.7. Technology-Enhanced Training 10.8. When Trainees Are Resistant10.9. Evaluation and Follow-Up10.9.1. Evaluation10.9.2. Follow-Up10.10. Where to Get Help10.11. Annotated References Index

Catherine Sheldrick Ross

Catherine Sheldrick Ross is Professor Emerita at the University of Western Ontario. She has taught graduate courses in reference services, readers' advisory work, and research methods in the MLIS and PhD programs at Western. She has presented more than fifty workshops on reference and readers’ advisory to library professionals in the United States and Canada. Together with Patricia Dewdney and Kirsti Nilsen, she has co-written Communicating Professionally (ALA 2013), now in its third edition. She is a four-time winner of the Reference Services Press Award. In 2013, she received NoveList’s Margaret E. Munroe Award given by the American Library Association for “significant contributions to library adult services.” She has published extensively in the areas of reference services, readers’ advisory, and pleasure reading, including: The Pleasures of Reading (2014), Reading Matters (2006), and Reading Still Matters (2018), the latter two co-authored with Lynne (E. F.) McKechnie and Paulette M. Rothbauer.

Kirsti Nilsen

Kirsti Nilsen taught introductory and advanced courses in reference, as well as government information, collection development, special libraries, and information policy while a professor in the MLIS program at the University of Western Ontario and, earlier, as an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, where she completed her PhD. Her library experience includes employment at  MIT and the University of Rhode Island, and as special librarian in a corporate libraries. She was a coauthor on the first and second editions of Conducting the Reference Interview with Catherine Ross, with whom she is also co-author of the third edition of Communicating Professionally. In addition, she is the author of The Impact of Information Policy and coauthor of Constraining Public Libraries: The World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services, and author of many articles.