If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?  Book Summary - If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?  Book explained in key points
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If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? summary

Alan Alda

My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

3.8 (71 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is a non-fiction book written by Alan Alda that offers insights on communication techniques. It suggests ways to build empathy and understanding to improve communication, especially in fields such as science and medicine.

Table of Contents

    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?
    Summary of 5 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 5

    To ensure great communication, use your ignorance to make others feel comfortable.

    Have you ever been stuck in a one-way conversation where the other person keeps rattling on, ignoring the fact that you just don’t get what on earth he’s talking about?

    It’s not a great feeling, but you can avoid it by using ignorance. Along with curiosity, ignorance is the best tool for getting the most from your communication partner. Interviewers on television use this technique all the time on scientific guests.

    The author used this exact technique when he interviewed a scientist specializing in AI, a topic about which he knew nothing. Rather than asking questions requiring technical, niche answers, the author asked whether specialists ever worried that robots might turn against and overthrow the human race – a broad and pretty naive question. Such a broad question elicited an entertaining answer that the whole audience, not just those with specific scientific knowledge, could appreciate.

    Another key thing to remember is that good communication is, by definition, a shared experience.

    When you communicate with someone, always be sure to make your partner feel comfortable. A great technique here is improvisation, which helps build both a connection and fellow feeling.

    On one occasion, the author led an experimental improvisation session at the University of Southern California. The idea was to help students feel more at ease communicating with one another when they gave presentations.

    Before they spoke, they were assigned certain activities. For instance, one student had to pretend to play an imaginary instrument, and one by one the remaining students joined in, each playing their own “instrument,” all following the rhythm of the first student.

    This joint activity helped the students bond and relax. And, in the end, it made for far better presentations.

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    What is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? about?

    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? (2017) explains how improvisation techniques, as practiced by actors and comedians, can be used as training methods for better communication. Alda uses illuminating examples of miscommunications from his own life to show how we all can be better at relating and talking to one another.

    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? Review

    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? (2017) by Alan Alda explores the art of communication and the power of empathy. Here's why you should give it a read:

    • Through insightful anecdotes and personal experiences, Alda offers a fresh perspective on effective communication, encouraging readers to connect with others on a deeper level.
    • With a humorous and down-to-earth approach, the book breaks down complex concepts, making it accessible and relatable for all, regardless of their background or profession.
    • Alda's passion for the subject shines through, sparking curiosity and motivating readers to become better listeners and communicators in their personal and professional relationships.

    Best quote from If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

    This process of allowing something you receive from another person to transform into something else is one of the most interesting experiences in improvising.

    —Alan Alda
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    Who should read If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? ?

    • Anyone whose job involves communicating complex ideas to various and varied audiences
    • Leaders who want to improve their interpersonal skills and learn about empathy
    • Non-actors who want to learn how the craft really works

    About the Author

    Alan Alda is an award-winning actor who has won seven Emmy Awards. He is probably most famous for playing Hawkeye Pierce, on M*A*S*H. After hosting PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, Alda was inspired to help scientists find better ways to communicate.

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    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?  FAQs 

    What is the main message of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

    The main message of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? is the power of effective communication and empathy in building connections and resolving conflicts.

    How long does it take to read If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

    The reading time for If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? varies based on the reader's pace, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? a good book? Is it worth reading?

    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? is a must-read for anyone interested in improving their communication skills and connecting with others effectively.

    Who is the author of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

    The author of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? is Alan Alda.

    What to read after If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? ?

    If you're wondering what to read next after If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? , here are some recommendations we suggest:
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