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The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership 2nd Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470494523
ISBN-10: 0470494522
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Power of Framing shows leaders and managers how to tap into the power of language so they can persuade effectively and communicate credibly in today's business environment.

According to professor and management consultant Gail Fairhurst, through framing we define the meaning of "the situation here and now." Are we in a "crisis"? Is this situation merely a "cause for concern"? Should we be on "red-alert"? These are examples of how we frame the situations we face. When we connect with others through our framing, we shape reality. What's more, if we "manage meaning" when others are unable, we emerge as leaders.

Fairhurst draws examples from a wide range of sources including business, politics, sports, academia, and the arts to bring the concept of framing to life as an everyday communication skill. She includes a diagnostic instrument to help gauge your sensitivity to the framing concept. Fairhurst even dons her hat as an executive coach to tackle the common framing dilemmas that leaders face.

The Power of Framing challenges leaders to take it up a notch by viewing framing as:

  • A skill that leaders must master to communicate vision and set priorities
  • A science that shows leaders how to think on their feet and frame on the spot
  • An art form that leaders must hone like a craft with story, metaphor, argument, and visual images as their primary tools
  • A set of emotions that leaders must deploy to complement their message
  • An ethical response in order for leaders to achieve and maintain believability, and so much more

The Power of Framing is a must-read for today's leaders, managers, and all those aspiring to these jobs. Its easy-to-read style and practice exercises make this a book you'll turn to time and again to sharpen your most important communications.

About the Author

GAIL T. FAIRHURST is an award-winning professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati, where she teaches leadership and organizational communication. She has also been a speaker, management consultant, and executive coach for McDonald's, Boeing, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, State Farm Insurance, Merrill Lynch, and the Children's Hospital of Cincinnati, among other organizations.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 2 edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470494522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470494523
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Let's Compare Options Preptorial TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I realize that publishers churn out books to particular audiences and "leadership" (and "management") are relatively hot areas for (particularly spontaneous) shoppers. What if the subtitle of this book were: "This book saved my marriage?"

Bear with me here. This outstanding text also is about a lesser covered aspect of communication and in fact information processing: points of view, contexts and framing. To quote (famously) George Box: "All models are wrong, but some are useful." His context was that we need the right tool for the right application, which is even the essence of natural selection itself, or in fact, choice at many levels. Context and framing rule!

This book is a life changer in far more ways that leadership and management. In some ways it hearkens back to "Man's Search for Meaning" or, quoting that other deep philosopher (Jeff Goldblum in Law and Order Criminal Intent): "The human brain is a relevance machine." There are gems on every page, not just about selling an agenda in an organization or "motivating" but much more deeply, about how we process meaning in our OWN frames, models and sims.

Highly recommended and guaranteed to not only improve your communication and relationships in general, but also suggest ways to relook at ALL our priorities, and more importantly, our prioritization processes. Doesn't really "fit" with other options in the leadership genre (so I can't give you alternatives in that space), not because it's not the best, but because it is, and has so many more wider implications and applications. Is in a class by itself, and while it's at it, does a bang up job in management/leadership (or what I'd rather call team or family) frames too.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a sequel to Gail T. Fairhurst's earlier book, The Art of Framing (1996), and in both she is brilliant when explaining how to position ideas in a context, within a frame-of-reference. "Creating the Language of Leadership" is this later book's subtitle but by no means has she written this book solely for those who are C-level executives or members of a governing board. All organizations need leadership at all levels and in all areas. That is, they need people who recognize what must be done and understand how to get it done in collaboration with others who respect them and, more to the point, trust them.

The most successful leaders are those who attract and sustain the engagement of others with effective management of meaning. That is, they possess highly-developed verbal and non-verbal skills (e.g. body language, tone of voice). That was certainly true of Winston Churchill prior to and then throughout World War Two and, more recently, Martin Luther King, Jr. I was especially interested in what Fairhurst has to say about other leaders of lesser stature who nonetheless demonstrated great framing skills when sharing their thoughts and feelings on traumatic occasions. That is certainly true of President George Bush and Major Rudolph Giuliani after the attack of the World Trade Center. In their public statements, both shared harsh realities with effective communication as did Churchill and King before them.

More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle suggested that there are four levels of discourse: exposition (to explain), description (to make vivid), narration (to tell a story or explain a sequence), and argumentation (to convince with logic and/or evidence) . Each is most effective when whatever is shared is properly framed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For most of us, our lives are filled to capacity; so much so that we do not devote the time necessary to grow. It is easy to get caught up in one's life and forget one's purpose.

"The Power of Framing" points out several useful interpersonal communications tools. For example, a simple question, "Tell me about yourself", could open many doors ...or shut them, fast and tight. To answer that or any important question and to be fair to yourself, it is important to anticipate the question and prime yourself with an answer that is spontaneous, automatic, and strategic to your goals.

Imagine that you have been stranded, stumbling alone without resources, through a stifling hot desert. You see an old pitcher pump and realize your good fortune, to finally be able to quench your thirst! But the pump has not been used in a while. You start pumping ...and you pump a lot ...and it's hard. But you know that priming the pump will bring the water out. At first, what comes out may be gunk. Keep at it, though, and before long the cold, fresh water encased underground flows to the surface!

In a way, we are all stranded, stumbling alone through life. Yet we are fortunate to be living at the most prosperous, bountiful time in the history of humankind. Each one of us has the potential to reach our goals but, truthfully, it is rare for someone to stumble onto an oasis. Most of us have to think about life's questions, and about our answers, if we are to be successful. Most of us need to prime ...to survive, to thrive, and to help others do the same. This is priming; one technique covered in "The Power of Framing".
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