Bookcase: The Power of Framing

• By Gail T Fairhurst
• Jossey Bass
• RRP $45.41

It is how they say it, rather than what leaders say, that makes the difference. The process of how we communicate meaning is called “framing”. The Power of Framing, therefore, is all about powerful leadership communication.
Gail Fairhurst, professor of organisational communication at the University of Cincinnati, thinks leaders should give more attention to how they frame their communication if they want to be effective and get their messages across.
The world, she argues, is full of ambiguity and crowded with choices about how we see and interpret things. Framing is about how leaders characterise one set of meanings over another. Through their framing of people, situations and events, leaders shape reality and provide meaning when others can’t and, by doing so, demonstrate leadership.
Fairhurst provides simple diagnostic tool to identify how, when it comes to communication, we fall into one of three communication personality categories – expressive, conventional or strategic. It’s worth reading the book just to take the test and evaluate your style.
Expressives can’t help themselves. They use language to express their thoughts and feelings, often lacking an edit function when they get into communication. Conventionals, the category most managers fall into, communicate to cooperate. Their language is governed by social rules and customs. Strategics communicate to create and negotiate social situations. They see context from many angles and might motivate or manipulate.
The book is practical, full of examples and work exercises, and easy to read. For managers, leaders, coaches and others it is very relevant.

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