Coming Spring 2022

See Rick describing his new STRAIGHT TALK Book

About the Book

Faulty communication costs companies billions when precious time is wasted, innovation is thwarted, teamwork deteriorates, and morale suffers. Sharpening interpersonal influence skills can help you tackle these challenges and overcome the obstacles of ever-rising performance expectations, widespread stress, and remote work’s sense of separation.

Dr. Rick Brandon has taught hundreds of thousands of people to improve their communication results and enhance their relationships. Straight Talk provides his training in an “edu-taining” workshop-in-a-book format to teach practical skills that create ripple effects for individuals, teams, and organizations. Brandon’s unique approach places you in a simulated workshop and engages you with real-world examples, anecdotes, practice exercises, and humor. You’ll build positive influence skills that turbo-charge your competence and confidence while increasing accountability in others. See Book Excerpt.

Features of the Book

Hones core Assertive Speaking and Empathic Listening skills, and then funnels them into step-by-step formats for six vital workplace situations: Gaining Commitments, Advising and Guiding, Recognizing, Reminding, Constructively Confronting, and Challenging Ideas.

This “workshop-in-a-book” has you imagine you’re in a workshop as Rick Brandon teaches you, using actual presentations, activities, and practice exercises from his courses.

Provides a downloadable Exercises Journal in fillable pdf form to post on your desktop.

Teaches bottom-line business benefits of the skills versus being a “touchy-feely” or “charm school” treatise on soft skills.

Offers end-of-chapter “Virtual Variations” to adapt skill sets for today’s remote and hybrid world of work.

FREE Straight Talk Resources

Before Reading

Download this fillable pdf Exercises Journal to complete the activities and skill practices throughout the book.

After Reading

Access the 15-minute, 42-item Straight Talk Self-Assessment that measures your interpersonal influence performance before and after reading the book, along with the Scoring and Interpretation Report that will provide your scores, reinforce your skills, and give you practical recommendations based upon your Straight Talk scores.

After Reading

Build and sustain your Straight Talk skills with these FREE Reinforcement Tools.

After Reading

If you purchase books for your team or organization, you can receive special Bulk Order Gifts.

Key Take-Aways
From Reading
Straight Talk

Core Communication Skills

Key fundamentals that stretch all levels of employees/leaders:

The Straight Talk Mindset- A toolbox for staying mentally and emotionally “F.I.T.” by Fostering the Business Goals of world-class communication skills, Identifying Your Communication Patterns, and Taking the Straight Talk Challenge.

Assertive Speaking-  “A.B.C.” foundational building blocks to help you firmly yet respectfully express your viewpoint when getting agreements, giving feedback voicing ideas, or reacting to others: Assertive Delivery, Bias-Free Language, and Checking.

Active Listening- It costs us something to “pay attention,” so in order to derive empathic listening’s benefits, you’ll invest the “F.E.E.” skills of Focusing, Exploring, and Empathizing (Validating and Paraphrasing).

Smooth Sailing Conversations

Systematic steps and message formats for:

Advising and Guiding- Helping others explore and resolve problems and decisions, and providing support when there is no real solution to a dilemma they bring to you.

Gaining Commitment- Forging clear, accountability-oriented agreements with others about needed results, actions, and requests, and achieving buy-in for your ideas and recommendations.

 Recognizing- Appreciating commitments that are kept, reinforcing constructive behaviors or results, and expressing belief in someone’s potential for achieving a tough task.

Rough Sailing Conversations

Skills for defusing emotional reactions, resistance, and defensiveness when: 

Reminding- Ensuring accountability by reconfirming commitments and responsibilities that have faltered.

Confronting- Serious, intense discussions to address problem behaviors and patterns of broken commitments. 

Disagreeing Agreeably- Tactfully disagreeing or expressing misgivings about an idea, or saying “no” to someone’s ideas or requests.

About the Author

Rick Brandon, PhD, is founder and president of the globally respected Brandon Partners, offering workshops on interpersonal and political savvy. His courses are taught worldwide in scores of Fortune 500 corporations as well as in many government agencies, healthcare organizations, and educational institutions.

Brandon coauthored the Wall Street Journal bestseller Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success, which won book of the month for Fast Company, Forbes,, and the Institute for Management Studies (IMS). He is a distinguished faculty member for the Institute, and spent a year presenting in 20 cities around the world as its most requested speaker. He has taught at the graduate and undergraduate level for four colleges and universities and has been a guest speaker at many more. He is married with two adult children and lives in Mill Valley, CA.