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Communication Gaps and
How to Close Them

by Naomi Karten

ISBN: 978-0-932633-53-8  
©2002  376 pages   softcover  
$33.95 (plus shipping)

Subject(s): Communication Skills

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Tools for Improving
Your Communication on Projects

About the Book

The success of systems or software development depends on effective communication. But have you ever had trouble articulating a complex concept? Have you ever doubted that someone truly understood you—or that you completely received someone's message?

Managers and technical professionals have to communicate effectively in order to understand client requirements, build work-related relationships, meet market demands, and survive time pressures. So often, though, communication breaks down, and nothing gets done (or done well, at least).

Thankfully, Naomi Karten—author of Managing Expectations—is here to help. Readers learn how to improve the way they handle a wide variety of communication conflicts, from one-on-one squabbles to interdepartmental chaos to misinterpretations between providers and customers.

Drawing on a variety of recognizable experiences and on useful models for understanding personalities, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the teachings of family therapist Virginia Satir, Karten provides a series of powerful tools and concepts for resolving communication problems—as well as methods for preventing them in the first place.

Inadequate communications include misunderstood or missed messages, contradictory or mixed messages, and messages that are intentionally sabotaged. As the author notes, these miscommunications "can have a damaging, puzzling, and counterproductive impact on projects and relationships." Karten helps readers identify many of the common factors that can cause communication gaps. For example,

  • mistaken assumptions of understanding
  • lack of follow-up
  • unfixed project terminology
  • emotional baggage
  • personality conflicts
  • mismatched communication preferences

Karten's witty, conversational tone makes this book easy to read; her real-life stories and examples make it easy to understand; and her use of hilarious cartoons by Mark Tatro brings her lessons to life.

Communication Gaps and How to Close Them is a must-read for anyone who recognizes that the way he or she communicates in professional encounters, as well as in personal ones, can be improved. With Karten's useful insights and practical techniques, this book will change not only how you communicate but also how you think about communication.


"Simply put, good communication is critical to software project quality. Gaps form when the message sent isn't received, or differs from the message received. Understanding and applying the concepts in Communication Gaps will help us determine how the gap happened, what we can do about the gap, and how we might prevent the gap in the future.

"Naomi describes and explain several models that are useful in understanding communication gaps. These models involve personality types, interactions, and change. Each of these have a unique influence on communication, and examples are provided of how communication might develop gaps, and what can be done to prevent gaps and improve communication."

—Don Gray

"This book is chock-full of immediately useful advice about making your communications count. . . .

"I especially enjoyed the antecdotes throughout the book that highlighted each point. I was amazed at how some of the people portrayed behaved and was humbled by how others reminded me of my own foibles.

"This book gives the reader lots of practical tips on how to get the message across while building the relationship.

"I'm recommending it to all my clients and peers who are constantly perplexed by the excessive time they spend communicating and the confusion and distrust that still persists."

—Diana Mek
posted on Amazon.com

"Naomi Karten's current work focuses on how to 'mind the gap' between you and your audience. This advice is helpful whether your audience is one person or many, whether communications are in writing or in speech. Her advice goes deeper than the handy techniques she presents.

"I found this book not only helpful in my business communications, which the author targets, but also in the range of communications within my own personal life.

"I recommend this book to all my business colleagues who struggle with the intention of good communciations and the results of poor communications."

Sharon Marsh Roberts
posted on Amazon.com

"Naomi's book helps teams use communication as a tool for successfully carrying out projects, delivering services, implementing change, and strengthening teamwork."

Eileen and Wayne Strider
Software Testing and Quality Engineering

"An excellent resource for project managers in any capacity
. . . provides techniques for identifying and solving communication problems."

Lynnette Nieboer
Successful Project Management

"If you'd like help assessing how your communications can be more successful, read Naomi Karten's new book, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them. . . .

"Naomi has pulled together numerous examples of communication gaps and explained how to close them, whether you're doing management, project, or service work. If you're trying to choose a communications technique, check out this book."

Johanna Rothman

"Karten succeeds very well in presenting detailed
solutions. . . .

"The best statement in the book is the section title, 'Asking the Right Questions and Asking the Questions Right. . . .' The section is typical of the contents of the book, where good ideas come at you page after page. . . .

"While there are of course no silver bullets in software development, this book comes close, for most of the failures in software development are not technical, but social."

Charles Ashbacher
posted on Amazon.com

"Presents practical methods for handling a wide variety of professional communication conflicts ranging from one-on-one problems to complete office chaos. The four main sections address gaps in everyday interactions, in building relationships, in service situations, and in response to changes. Information is presented clearly, in a conversational style."

SciTech Book News

". . . a straightforward guide especially for businesspeople, but also useful for lay readers, to effective and positive communication. From recognizing and preventing misinterpretations or disassociated definitons . . . to the value of gathering and analyzing customer feedback, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them offers no-nonsense advice for untangling the confusion between human beings.

". . . highly practical guide especially recommended for anyone in an interpersonal business job, such as management or customer relations."

—Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review

Table of Contents
Excerpt: "Communicating Change"
Author Interview

Dorset House Catalog
This Book's Flyer

By this Author
Amplifying Your Effectiveness: Collected Essays
Managing Expectations: Working with People Who Want More, Better, Faster, Sooner, NOW!

Also Recommended
Dr. Peeling's Principles of Management, by Nic Peeling
Productivity Sand Traps & Tar Pits, by Mike Walsh
Quality Software Management, Vol. 3: Congruent Action, by Gerald M. Weinberg
Roundtable on Project Management: A SHAPE Forum Dialogue, edited by James Bullock, Gerald M. Weinberg, and Marie Benesh
Roundtable on Technical Leadership: A SHAPE Forum Dialogue, edited by Gerald M. Weinberg, Marie Benesh, and James Bullock

How to Order

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