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Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques
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Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques

Author: Stanford GSB

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Whether you’re giving a toast or presenting in a meeting, communication is critical to success in business and in life. Join Matt Abrahams, a lecturer of Strategic Communication at Stanford Graduate School of Business, as he sits down with experts in the field to discuss real-world challenges.

How do I send my message clearly when put on the spot? How do I write emails to get my point across? How can I easily convey complex information? How do I manage my reputation? 

Think Fast, Talk Smart provides the tools, techniques, and best practices to help you communicate more effectively.

47 Episodes
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“To be creative, ideas must be both novel and useful. That’s the definition that we use in creativity research,” says Justin Berg, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. But, he warns: “Novel ideas are often not very useful and useful ideas are often not very novel.”In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Berg sits down with lecturer and podcast host Matt Abrahams to share lessons from his work on creativity, which has included conducting experiments with both movie directors and circus performers. “The takeaway is that we should never stop being a creator. As managers and executives climb up the organizational ladder, they may benefit from staying involved in the creative R&D side of things, rather than just spend time having ideas pitched to them.” Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In each episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Stanford GSB lecturer and podcast host Matt Abrahams asks his guests the same question: “What are the first three ingredients in a successful communication recipe?” Answers have ranged from specific and poetic, to impactful and thought-provoking. In this episode, we bring you some favorite responses, as well as Matt’s tips for solving three common communication challenges that tend to arise during the holiday season. Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
"Leadership is a role that you play, like a part you play in other people’s lives. And [your] expression of that role is your responsibility as a leader,” says Stanford GSB lecturer Melissa Jones Briggs. Jones Briggs’ work combines techniques from the theater with social science research to teach lessons about power and communication. In this conversation with podcast host Matt Abrahams, she discusses how acting in a leadership position requires staying present and also knowing when to step back. “Power and authority often determine which stories are centered and which stories are marginalized,” Jones Briggs says. “By uncovering previously untold stories, we can create environments that invite new stories in, and that helps shape inclusive and equitable work cultures.”Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.Show NotesMelissa Jones Briggs Washington Post: Virtual work is making you talk like a business robot. Here’s how to ‘circle back’ to being human.Kenji Yoshino, Professor of Law at New York UniversityKay Kostopolous, Actor, Director, and Theater CoachErving Grossman, Canadian-American SociologistUta Hagen, Actor and Drama TeacherSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Social psychologists believe that if we want to understand our own behavior and the behavior of others, the first thing we have to ask or notice is, ‘What is the situation in which they are performing, in which they are behaving?’ And then we want to know as much about the situation as possible.”In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Stanford emeritus psychology professor Phillip Zimbardo sits down with host Matt Abrahams to discuss how time influences our perception and our positive or negative thought processes. The two also talk about how the findings of Zimbardo’s most notable (and controversial) study — the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment — inform our understanding of human behavior. Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Being a better listener has a lot to do with silence, says Collins Dobbs, a lecturer in management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “A lot of people are uncomfortable with the smallest modicum of silence, but learning often happens when we create distance for useful reflection.”In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Dobbs talks with host Matt Abrahams about the importance of “space, pace, and grace” when you’re receiving others’ feedback and handling the emotions that come out during tough discussions.  “There’s often a lot more focus on the skill set on delivering emotion than receiving emotion, but if the receiver of emotion can put themselves in a place of curiosity, agency, and openness. . . . opens up a whole new world of possibilities.” Dobbs is an executive coach and teaches several courses, including Interpersonal Dynamics, and Leadership Labs. Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Part of teamwork is dating,” says Stefanos Zenios, The Investment Group of Santa Barbara Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Operations, Information & Technology. “Dating each other to see whether you can work well together. It’s about developing how you will speak with each other in the team, how you will manage difficult conversations, and how to be respectful, but also how to help each other grow.” In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, host Matt Abrahams sits down with Professor Zenios to hear more about the methods shared in the Stanford GSB project-based course Startup Garage. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Stress is natural, stress is inevitable when you're living a life that's connected with things you care about. And learning how to embrace it, learning how to work with it is really what helps us thrive and grow and perform at our highest level, according to psychologist and associate professor at Stanford, Alia Crum. In this podcast episode, Crum talks with host and lecturer Matt Abrahams about her research and findings as principal investigator of the Stanford Mind and Body Lab where she is focusing on reshaping our mindset to embrace stress. “There's a whole side of stress that shows that it can have enhancing qualities on our cognitive functioning, our physical health and on how we behave and interact with others,” she says.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, lecturer and podcast host Matt Abrahams sits down with David Eagleman, a neuroscientist and the host of the PBS series The Brain, to discuss why our brains are wired for storytelling and how new senses might impact our connection and communication with others. “I’ve always been really interested in this idea of how we can pass information to the brain via unusual channels," Eagleman says. "We’ve got our eyes or ears or fingertips and our nose, we’re very used to this and we sort of think these are fundamental, but of course, this is just what we’ve inherited from a long road of evolution... It turns out you can push information in the brain in other ways.”See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“One of the things I think is really exciting about all this, and perhaps a little bit frightening, is nobody actually knows how to do it. It is not something that we’ve ever done before. And I’ve studied a lot of globally distributed work, and virtual teams, and so forth. But hybrid work is not that and it’s not telecommuting, which we know a bit about. But it’s something that is a mix of these multiple different modes of working,” says Pamela Hinds, Fortinet Founders Chair and professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University.In this podcast episode, Hinds talks with host and lecturer Matt Abrahams about her research on the effect of technology on teams, teamwork, and innovation by exploring issues of culture, language, identity, and conflict in promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration. “Employees are going to expect flexibility. Organizations are going to need to sustain a higher level of flexibility with regard to when and where people work.” See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Stanford GSB Lecturer Robert Siegel sits down with Matt Abrahams to discuss the role of communication in helping businesses to adapt and transform and his new book The Brains and Brawn Company: How Leading Organizations Blend the Best of Digital and Physical Specifically. “You have to see how things are interacting with each other. You have to see how your organization is interacting both internally and externally. And so what we found is that great systems leaders were really good at managing the narrative,” says Siegel.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Sara Singer, a professor of organizational behavior (by courtesy) at Stanford Graduate School of Business and a professor of medicine at Stanford School of Medicine, sits down with lecturer Matt Abrahams to discuss the role of open communication in high-performing teams. “Learning requires leadership that reinforces learning, a supportive environment, including especially psychological safety, but also an appreciation for differences when you’re working with people of lots of different backgrounds, and openness to new ideas,” she says.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“I say sometimes that leadership is a journey into yourself. It’s self-renewal, self-reflection, self-confidence. It’s going to bed kind of scratching your head and saying, “Man, I’m not as good,” and waking up the next morning and trying it again — and I think that’s what matters.” In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, former CEO of General Electric and Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer Jeff Immelt sits down with lecturer Matt Abrahams to discuss communicating during times of challenge and pressure. “There’s no such thing as perfection of crisis,” Immelt says. “This is a pass-fail test, and all you really want to do is make progress.”See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Simple language, forceful language, vivid language, and keeping it simple and direct,” says Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, are all tools to increase the strength of your communication. In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, host and lecturer Matt Abrahams interviews Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Dying for a Paycheck, about the verbal and nonverbal ways we can harness, or give away, our authority in communication.  Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“There’s no difference between the physiological response to something that you’re excited about and something that you’re nervous about or dreading,” says Andrew Huberman, associate professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford University. In this podcast episode, Huberman talks with host and lecturer Matt Abrahams about his research on the autonomic continuum, a spectrum between states of very high alertness or fear, all the way down to deep sleep, and shares how to better-use the system to your advantage.  “If people can conceptualize that the anxiety or stress response is the same as the excitement response, they feel different,” Huberman says. Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Communication is such a delicate dance and kids need to emerge from childhood having practiced,” says Julie Lythcott-Haims, former associate vice provost of undergraduate education Stanford University. In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, lecturer and podcast host Matt Abrahams sits down with Lythcott-Haims to discuss her new book, Your Turn: How to be an Adult, and ideas on how to communicate with young people so they feel empowered to take on the various (and often intimidating) duties of adulthood. “Responsibility isn’t a bad thing,” she says. “Responsibility is actually an amazing thing. And I think we have to do a better job of narrating that truth.”Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
It has been over a year since millions of people have switched from office work to working from home. In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, lecturer and host Matt Abrahams highlights guests’ top takeaways on how to best communicate, share information, and cultivate a professional presence though the screen. “I think we have to find ways to reduce cognitive overload,” says Professor and Senior Associate Dean Sarah Soule. “I now offer my information in much smaller pieces interspersed with breakout groups.”Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Communication, conflict, and cooperation are intertwined in a multitude of ways,” says Nir Halevy, associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Halevy sits down with host and lecturer Matt Abrahams, to discuss how we can often solve conflicts and disagreements by employing the correct strategy in our communication.  “How you articulate a particular grievance, your choice of words, the nonverbal aspects of your claim, such as the tone of your voice, can definitely influence reactions to your claim,” Halevy says.  Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
The information you receive is only as strong as the questions you ask. In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturers Matt Abrahams and Debra Schifrin discuss how to craft inquiries that can lead to better communication outcomes. Questions are also instrumental in building relationships, Schifrin points out. “If you’re asking questions, you’re signaling to the other person that you value them. You’re taking time to listen to their answers.”Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business and hosted by Matt Abrahams. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Recognizing the importance of forging connections with others — and learning how to build those bonds in real time — is the focus of a course that’s been the most popular elective at Stanford GSB for decades: Interpersonal Dynamics. The iconic course has taught thousands of students and professionals what it means to have exceptional relationships and how to interact with others in a way that contributes to deeper, stronger connections.In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, lecturer and podcast host Matt Abrahams sits down with David Bradford and Carole Robin, lecturer and former lecturer of iconic Stanford GSB class Interpersonal Dynamics to discuss their new book, Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues. Both lecturers in leadership, Bradford and Robin outline what they’ve been teaching in the classroom for a broader audience.Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
“Psychology trumps technology,” says Jeff Hancock, founding director of the Stanford Social Media Lab and professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford.“If you want to understand what's going on in social media, the first place to start is with what's going on psychologically.”On the latest episode of *Think Fast, Talk Smart,* lecturer and podcast host Matt Abrahams sits down with Professor Hancock, to talk about the communication tendencies, styles, and mistakes of social media users. “Whenever there's a new kind of technology ... our focus is on what it's doing,” Professor Hancock says. “But I think over time what we end up realizing is that it's still people using it to accomplish things. And I think when we start to when we step back … we can get a sense of what really is changing.” Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication skills.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
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Comments (27)

Kevin Mwaura

Audience Intent Message 3 ingredients to a great communication

Nov 15th
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Emmanuel Osawaru

Great podcast 👏... key insights on relationship personal and workwise.

Aug 2nd
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Ricardo Martins

you need to normalize the audio levels. I can barely hear you while running. She's too loud and you're too low. ;)

Jul 19th
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Waseem Zafar

invilove.com

Jun 12th
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박지선

C

Jun 12th
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amit arora

nice tips.

May 26th
Reply (1)

Jeff Summers

Great insights!!!!!

Apr 9th
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Jeff Summers

Great insights throughout! Love all the stories!!

Apr 8th
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Summer Ot

I love this podcast! Highly recommended.

Dec 8th
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Stu Cook

Another useful episode... in communication the right language is key to get across the message you want people to hear. Sometimes what you say and what is heard can be VERY different!

Oct 31st
Reply

Yan Xiong

I love this podcast channel! thank you for providing us the great content!

Sep 22nd
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Stu Cook

Super useful content thanks.

Sep 7th
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Megha Bhattacharya

Really grateful for the information!

Sep 1st
Reply (1)

tej singh

Some valuable insights. Fascinating. keep it going guys

Aug 18th
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prasen lonikar

Loved this whole podcast

Aug 14th
Reply (1)

Anup Sonkusare

Just impressed by the way she explains Negotiation!!

Aug 10th
Reply

Amir.Z

amazing interview, ty

Aug 5th
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Nikhilendra Gudisa

Greats insights by Jennifer and Naomi!

Aug 1st
Reply (1)

Joan Wangui

Dare to be dull. Be obvious. Shoot for average and fail happily - takes the pressure off.

Jun 18th
Reply

Vishal

Couldn't have been better! 🙂

Jun 14th
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