A new edition of a book provides opportunities to update material and fine-tune critical ideas. I seized these opportunities but I also wanted to do something more. My goals focused on making this edition more problem-focused, user-friendly, and enriching.

  • Problem-focused: This edition incorporates a new subtitle that underscores the unique orientation of Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness (CME4). Many authors have addressed important communicative skills such as speaking, writing, and conducting group discussions. I’ve assumed that the readers want to go beyond the basic communication skills and learn how to make an impact on their organizations by resolving some of the most vexing communication problems. While I cannot promise readers all the “right answers” to these problems, I can assure readers they will learn useful ways to think about the problems.

  • User-friendly: I focused on making this edition even more user-friendly in three specific ways. 1) Since the third edition of this book, I have consulted with numerous organizations about the communication issues discussed in the previous editions. I learned first-hand the difficulty many organizations experience translating seemingly simple and straightforward principles into action. For instance, after leading dozens of change efforts in the past few years, I have grown to appreciate the need for actionable tools based on sound theory and designed to assist with the change planning process. This edition includes examples of those tools. 2) I moved some of the background research to the book’s website to better organize supplemental material. For example, the citations for “By the Numbers” are on the book’s website ( The CME4 website also includes a glossary of key terms, case studies, and self-tests. 3) I’ve added a number of tools to help students understand the principles and ideas at a deeper more personal level. For instance, each chapter concludes with a list of key terms for review. Readers will also find three “Drill Down Exercises.” I’ve used this title to emphasize that learning the principles goes beyond the mere memorization of a concept; it requires a deeper “drill down” beyond a cursory reading of the text. Students who desire to maximize their understanding will find these questions challenging and thought-provoking.
  • Enriching: Books have a capacity to enrich our lives in special ways. Some provide a needed perspective on a vexing problem. Others offer a catchy phrase that resonates as well as illuminates. Still others move us emotionally in some deeply personal way. My hope is that CME4 will enrich your life in one of these ways. I’ve made every effort to do so in this edition by tightening up the writing and relating incidents I’ve found deeply illuminating. And I’ve tried to do something else unique – highlighting critical thinking skills. In particular, I’ve had some success over the years focusing on seven questions used by critical thinkers:
    • Have I made reasonable assumptions?
    • Have I properly identified the implications of the facts, ideas or situation? (i.e., So what?)
    • Have I properly identified the pattern(s)?
    • Have I relied on reasonable evidence to reach my conclusions?
    • Have I properly defined effectiveness?
    • Have I considered all the logical alternatives and selected the proper course of action?
    • Have I considered the ethical impact of my decisions?

In fact, my students have dubbed these “Phil’s 7 questions” (see Throughout the manuscript, I have underscored these questions in one form or the other. Sometimes, readers will see the question addressed directly and at other times more obliquely. Either way, a singular desire motivated me. I sought to use the communication problems discussed in the book as a vehicle to help others think more critically about any challenge they face. Why? Because the demand for critical thinkers always exceeds the supply.

In short, every chapter has been revised in some major way. I have also been mindful of how the Internet continues to change the way organizations communicate. The “dot” is the most significant aspect of the evolution because dots can be easily connected. The ease of connecting employees, managers, and executives has not made organizational communication easier; it has made it more challenging. I hope the book and website provide the wisdom, insight, and counsel necessary to enhance your communication effectiveness.