A Handbook for Scholars and Practitioners
Edited By Jennifer H. Waldeck and David R. Seibold
Chapter Eight: Communication Skills for Consulting Excellence
← 126 | 127 →CHAPTER EIGHT
Communication Skills for Consulting Excellence
STEVEN A. BEEBE
Texas State University
Warren Buffet, one of the richest persons on earth, once announced to MBA students at his alma mater, Columbia University, that he would offer $100,000 to any student in return for 10 percent of their future earnings. He then announced that if the student would take a communication class, he would increase his offer to $150,000. According to Buffet, taking a communication course was one of the best investments he had ever made (Toogood, 2010). Buffet’s advice is just as relevant to consultants as it is to MBA students; communication skills are highly valuable assets in the consultant’s tool kit. All consultants, regardless of their subject matter expertise, need a set of core communication competencies that will enhance all they do—from needs assessment to proposing the consulting project, to executing and evaluating it. This chapter presents several communication skills that a professional consultant should master and use frequently.
Although being a skilled communicator and consultant involves the performance of specific behaviors, communication effectiveness involves more than mere technique. Effective communication is anchored in theoretical assumptions about competent communication (Morreale, 2009; Spitzberg, 1983, 2000, 2006), as well as decades of communication research and communication theory (Littlejohn & Foss, 2008; Salem, 2012). From a theoretical perspective, competent communication is based on a learner possessing three things: knowledge, motivation, and skill (Morreale, 2009; Spitzberg, 1983,...
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