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How to Say the Right Thing Every Time


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Table of Contents

List of Boxes Preface Acknowledgments About the Author 1. The Twenty Biggest Communication Mistakes School Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them The Top Twenty Reasons Educators Fail to Communicate The Jargon Trap Euphemisms Feel Good but Don't Send a Clear Message Too Much Political Correctness Can Send Wimpy Messages How Straight Talk Can Make You a Better School Leader When the Right Thing to Say Is "Nothing" More "Must-Do" Tips for Always Saying the Right Thing 2. How to Say the Right Thing to Students Ten Guidelines for Communicating With Students Straight Talk Is the Language of Choice With Kids How to Talk to Young Children on Their Level How to Talk to Today's Teenagers Differences in Talking to Boys and Girls Another Dozen Do's and Don'ts for Saying the Right Things to Kids of All Ages How to Give Clear Directions and Instructions Every Time Socrates Had It Right: How to Ask Effective Questions How to Give Students "Pep Talks" That Really Work How to Give Authentic Praise How to Help Kids Talk Themselves Into Success Rhetoric-Free Reprimands Dealing With Touchy Topics (Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, Eating Disorders, and Other At-Risk Behaviors) How to Talk to Kids About Death and Dying How to Talk to Tough Kids (Including Gang Members) How to Talk to Kids About School Violence How to Talk to Kids About National Tragedies 3. How to Say the Right Thing to Parents What to Say to Put Parents at Ease Success Secrets for Communicating "Must-Know" Information Straight Talk at Parent-Teacher Conferences How to Explain Grades and Test Scores How to Share Good News With Parents How to Break Bad News (Failure, Retention, Disciplinary Action, Athletic Ineligibility) Don't Beat Around the Bush About Bad Behavior How to Talk to Parents About Student Secrets, Surprises, and Other Sensitive Subjects (Dependency, Pregnancy, Homosexuality) What to Say to Angry, Out-of-Control Parents and Other Adults More Pointers for Saying the Right Thing to Parents 4. How to Say the Right Thing to Peers and Colleagues Successful Job Interviews: How to Ask the Right Questions and Give the Right Answers How to Ask for and Offer Help to Peers and Colleagues How to Give Advice The Language of Coaching and Mentoring How to Argue and Win The Proper Art of Bitching: How to Complain About the System and the People in It How to Criticize a Colleague Without Losing a Friend What to Say and Not Say When Giving References and Recommendations What to Say and How to Say It in Performance Reviews How to Pay Tribute to a Colleague How to Say the Right Thing to the Central Office How to Say the Right Thing to the School Board 5. How to Say the Right Thing to the General Public and the Media Smooth Schmoozing: How to Make Small Talk How to Sway Opinion and Persuade Nonbelievers How to Handle Complaints From the Public How to Make the Most of Good News Truth in Taxation How to Ask for Money "Houston, We Have a Problem": What to Say When Trouble Strikes How to Apologize and Admit Mistakes to the Public Spin-Doctoring for Amateurs Dealing With the Media: What to Say to Reporters Do's and Don'ts of Public Speaking for School Leaders 6. How to Say the Right Thing in Special Situations Secrets of Successful Ceremonial Greetings How to Give and Receive Compliments How to Show Appreciation and Say "Thank You" How to Say "No" and Make It Stick Tips on Testifying Advice for Leading Prayers, Giving Invocations, and Pronouncing Benedictions What to Say to Someone Who Is Not Going to Get Well How to Express Sympathy How to Give a Eulogy 7. How to Say the Right Thing in Writing Writing Is Different-or Is It? A No-Nonsense Writing Clinic for School Leaders Interoffice Memos: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Cyber Straight Talk: Making the Most of Electronic Messages Real-World Report Writing How to Say the Right Thing in Business Letters Correct Forms of Address for Letters to Special Public Figures How to Write Straight-to-the-Point Press Releases and News Items 8. How to Say the Right Thing With Gestures and Body Language How the "Silent Language" Speaks Volumes Avoid Sending Mixed Messages Understanding the Vocabulary of Body Language Using the Power of Gestures Stay out of Trouble: Avoid the Pitfalls of Different Meanings for Different Groups Smile, You Really Are on Candid Camera 9. How to Target Communication to All Stakeholders Tale of the Tail: Customizing Communication Old Stand-bys Aren't Enough New Tools for Saying the Right Thing to Everyone One Strategy That Works With All Stakeholders A 7-Step Code for Saying the Right Thing More Ready-to-Use Tips for Targeting Messages to Specific Audiences How to Be a Communications Hero A Final Word Resources Resource A. 101 Ways to Be a Better Communicator Starting Tomorrow Morning Resource B. What Others Say About Communication: Quips, Quotes, and Anecdotes References Index

About the Author

Robert D. Ramsey is a lifelong educator who has served as a "leader of leaders" in three award-winning school districts in two different states. His frontline experience includes positions a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, curriculum director, assistant superintendent, acting superintendent, and adjunct professor. Most recently, he has served as associate superintendent in the St. Louis Park (MN) schools, where every school has been designated by the federal government as a National School of Excellence. Ramsey is now working full-time as a freelance writer in Minneapolis.


"I had several `ah-ha' moments while reading this book. I cannot imagine anyone reading this and not finding it worthwhile. Kudos to the author for creating a meaningful guide for today's school administrator." -- Marie Blum, Superintendent
"A good tool for administrators and teacher leaders for its readability, content emphasis, and real-life examples." -- Russ Bennett, Superintendent

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