A book is born (nearly)

Three years ago, two blokes got together in a back room in Southwark cathedral and talked communication all day. We laughed, we sighed, we cogitated, ruminated and scribbled. We talked about the best and worst of communication that the Christian church has to offer, and we looked beyond the church’s walls to see best practice elsewhere.

Out of that conversation a project was born, and three years down the line it has flowered into a book. One of the men in Southwark cathedral that day was me, and the other was Rt Rev Nick Baines. Over the intervening period it has been my privilege to write the book Who Needs Words, to which Nick then added a thoughtful and provocative foreword.

The book is definitely not a last word on communication, but it might just be the first word of a conversation about it. It draws on sources outside the church , as varied as industrial relations and neuro-linguistic programming, in order to examine the subject. It also reflects on the church’s twenty centuries of communicating across racial and ethnic divides.  What have we learnt, and how much do we still have to learn? Any organisation which started with papyri and now uses podcasts must have collected some insights along the way. As well as practical advice on communication in different contexts it contains some honest reflection on what to do when it all goes wrong.

Caleb Rutherford, who designed the cover (below) described the design process as somewhere between a conversation and an act of creation “The idea is the lump of clay”, he said “and from the to-ing and fro-ing of conversation it becomes a vase”. His final design combines the simplicity of wordless multiple conversations with the polished finish of slick high-tec communication on the carpet of words below.

From today until October 7th you can order the book with a pre-publication reduction and free post and packing if you click on the image below. My greatest hope is that it will start conversations about communication. As the conversations grow and develop the book itself will fall far away, like the landscape below a hot air balloon as it rises. When it does, its the communication itself which will really matter – which is just as it should be.