Talk Lean Book Summary - Talk Lean Book explained in key points
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Talk Lean summary

Alan H. Palmer

Shorter Meetings. Quicker Results. Better Relations.

3.8 (83 ratings)
9 mins

Brief summary

Talk Lean by Alan H. Palmer is a guide that teaches how to have productive conversations by cutting down on unnecessary chatter. It helps to get your message across effectively by being precise and clear.

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    Talk Lean
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    Start every meeting by politely expressing exactly what’s on your mind.

    How many times have you had an unproductive meeting just because you were afraid of expressing what was really on your mind?

    Well, you can change that by announcing your intentions from the very first minute of the meeting. It’s important you make your purpose clear early on; the longer it is unclear, the more likely the other person or people will start to wonder or get suspicious that there’s something you’re not saying.

    Express your purpose in language that’s straightforward and direct without being brutal or rude. That way, you’re setting a polite, courteous precedent for the rest of the conversation.

    For example, imagine a manager has a talented but habitually tardy employee. She keeps reminding him to be on time, but since her tone is aggressive, he leaves remembering that his boss was rude, rather than remembering her point.

    What not to say: “Why on earth do you insist on arriving so late day in, day out?”

    Something better: “John, what can I do to ensure your punctuality in the future, so that we can avoid future confrontations on this matter?”

    The second way, John has to think about his actions and propose a plan for improvement, likely leading to a positive outcome.

    Preparation is important if you want your meetings to follow a similar trajectory. Think about what you want from the other person, and then work your way back to figure out the best way to achieve it. Then, you’ll be able to lead the conversation in a way that invites desirable responses from the other person.

    In other words, ask yourself, “What do I hope will happen at the end of the meeting?” Use the answer to structure your opening comments. This way, you’ll be able to communicate exactly what you’re thinking and ensure that the other person is following your message from the get-go.

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    What is Talk Lean about?

    Talk Lean will teach you how to express your thoughts in a direct, candid, yet courteous manner. The author shares effective, easy-to-apply tips for having a productive conversation that helps achieve your goals.

    Talk Lean Review

    Talk Lean (2020) by Alan H. Palmer is a practical guide on how to communicate effectively in business and in life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Featuring useful techniques and strategies, it empowers readers to enhance their communication skills and achieve better results in their professional and personal interactions.
    • By incorporating real-life scenarios and examples, the book brings the concepts to life, making it relatable and applicable to various situations.
    • With its engaging and conversational tone, the book effortlessly keeps readers engaged, ensuring that the topic of communication is anything but boring.

    Best quote from Talk Lean

    Slow down, listen to yourself and then think out loud.

    —Alan H. Palmer
    example alt text

    Who should read Talk Lean?

    • Anyone who has trouble communicating at work
    • Anyone who has to confront difficult people on a daily basis
    • Anyone who hesitates to express their true thoughts and feelings

    About the Author

    Alan H. Palmer is an Oxford graduate who previously worked in the international advertising industry. Today, he conducts seminars and develops training programs all over the world to help people have productive conversations.


    © [Alan Palmer: Talk Lean] copyright [2014], John Wiley & Sons [Inc. or Ltd. as applicable] Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons [Inc. or Ltd. as applicable] and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    Talk Lean FAQs 

    What is the main message of Talk Lean?

    The main message of Talk Lean is how to communicate more effectively by eliminating unnecessary words.

    How long does it take to read Talk Lean?

    Reading time for Talk Lean varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Talk Lean a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Talk Lean is worth reading because it teaches practical techniques for clear and concise communication. It's a valuable resource for professional growth.

    Who is the author of Talk Lean?

    Alan H. Palmer is the author of Talk Lean.

    What to read after Talk Lean?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Talk Lean, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Just Listen by Mark Goulston
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    • If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? by Alan Alda
    • The Wealth Money Can't Buy by Robin Sharma
    • How to Fix Meetings by Graham Allcott and Hayley Watts
    • Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman
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