Book Review: Messengers – 8 Ways To Get Heard By Stephen Martin And Joseph Marks

At some point, a good number of us have struggled with communicating what we want. However, the fact is that no one is born knowing how to communicate. We slowly learn this skill from our caregivers and from school which for most people, is enough to take them through life.

However, this can only do so much especially if you’re not a natural. At some point, even the best orators had to adopt new tactics so that they could captivate people’s attention. Being a good communicator comes with many benefits and it’s a skill that many seek to have or improve.

Hailed as a tour de force, Messengers – 8 Ways To Get Heard is the book to read if you want to improve your verbal and non-verbal skills. Behavioural scientists Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks team up once again to explore why some people are able to command attention so effortlessly while others struggle. Using real-life examples, studies from reputable institutions and their own expertise, the authors have come up with 8 essential, thoroughly researched ways to improve your communication skills.

These tips are especially important in today’s world where everyone is trying to get heard. With social media, anybody can become a messenger and it’s harder to get your message across no matter how valuable it is. This book can help such individuals to stand out from the rest. It also shows how certain factors such as appearance and status play a bigger role in how a messenger is perceived than expertise or evidence.

The book kicks off with an interesting story about Cassandra, the daughter of the famous King of Troy, Priam. They describe her as beautiful with a tall, slim frame and dark brown curly locks. She also had a gift to interpret and communicate the will of the gods given by Apollo in an attempt to woe her. Thanks to this gift, she was able to save her people from tragedy after she predicted that their enemies were hiding in a wooden Trojan horse outside the gates of Troy. However, Cassandra refused Apollo’s proposal and her gift turned into a curse. Despite predicting the truth, she was unable to convince anyone which led to her insanity and death.

The story is fictional but shows the importance of being heard. It can be frustrating when you try to relay a message but no one believes you. The authors give a real-life example of Michael Burry, a Wall Street Investor who was known as the Wall Street Cassandra. He suffered the same fate as the fictional character when he tried to warn his fellow investors of an impending financial crisis. People didn’t dismiss him because he wasn’t well-informed. They dismissed him because of his physical drawbacks. Michael had only one eye which made face-to-face communication difficult.

Attractiveness is one of the 8 qualities the authors list as a way that increases a messenger’s likelihood of being heard. The others include socio-economic position, competence, dominance, warmth, vulnerability, trustworthiness and charisma. Each of these qualities is explained extensively in single chapters to help the reader fully understand how they’re used and how they influence people’s opinions about the messenger.

It’s a slow read since there’s a lot of information to take in. Nonetheless, the entertaining examples that the authors provide make this book easy to read and enjoyable. You can also trust to get a lot of valuable knowledge since both authors are highly acclaimed experts in their respective fields. Stephen Martin is a Visiting Professor of Behavioural Science at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He is also a co-author of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and a Business Week International bestseller. Joseph Marks is a doctoral researcher at the University College London and visiting researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

You can purchase the book from Text Book Centre.