Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques

Communication is critical to success in business and life. Concerned about an upcoming interview? Anxious about being asked to give your thoughts during a meeting? Fearful about needing to provide critical feedback in the moment? You are not alone! Learn and practice techniques that will help you speak spontaneously with greater confidence and clarity, regardless of content and context.

Recorded on October 25, 2014, in collaboration with the Stanford Alumni Association as part of Stanford Reunion Homecoming and the Graduate School of Business Fall Reunion/Alumni Weekend.

Speaker: Matt Abrahams, ’91 Matt Abrahams is a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching strategic communication; he also teaches public speaking in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program.

Hand-Out copy can be found here

Our own notes are below:

¤ Question: How many “f”s are here?

Finished files are the re-
sult of years of scientif-
ic study combined with the
experience of many years.

Answer: 6 but many see only 3

¤ As you feel the anxiety, a recept is:
  • Take a breath and admit it
  • Re-frame it as a conversation, not a performance
    • start with questions
    • use conversational language
  • be present-oriented. say any tongue-twister:
    • ex.: I slit a ship, a ship I slit, and on that slited ship I slip
¤ When you need to talk spontaneous:
  • Get out of your own way
    • Training: Game to name things with other names
  • Accept that Q&A are opportunity and not challenge
  • Start with: YES AND …
  • Slow down and listen
    • Talk by spelling
    • Don’t just do something. Stand there. Listen then respond
  • Respond: Tell a story. What is your story?
    • Useful structure #1:
      • Problem or opportunity
      • Solution
      • Benefit
    • Useful structure #2:
      • What? (what is it)
      • So What? (why it’s important)
      • Now What? (what the next steps are)
    • Structures sets you free.
¤ To engage with remote audience
  • tell: Imaging what if we …
  • do some pool questionary
  • open Gdoc and do all together something
  • Pera-phrase the questions to win time and think
  • Humor wonderfully connecting but it’s very-very risky
¤ When asking questions:
  • ask a couple times why? why? why?
  • ask an advise (people will give more open answers)




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