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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.

17 Episodes
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Knowing what to say to a skeptical audience is paramount, but how can your body language communicate empathy, openness, and power? In this “Quick Think” episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, we revisit Matt Abrahams’s conversation with Stanford GSB lecturer Burt Alper about how to keep body language in mind when it comes to handling objections.  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.
Whether we realize it or not, we negotiate everyday. But when we approach these situations as a win-or-lose battle, we’re already showing resistance, and setting ourselves up for difficulty. But what if you reframed the whole idea, to think of a negotiation not as a fight, but as a problem-solving exercise involving emotions?In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart Matt Abrahams speaks with Stanford GSB Professor emeritus Maggie Neale (and author of Getting More of What You Want: How the Secrets of Economics and Psychology Can Help You Negotiate Anything, in Business and in Life) about what she has learned in her decades of researching negotiation and the steps that lead to more collaborative problem solving. Listen as Maggie shares tips on how to approach negotiations with intention, and what strategies can help us more easily communicate our wants and needs. 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.
Most of the work we do requires coordinating and collaborating with others. But how can we ensure the benefits of working with others, while avoiding conflict that’s inherent to communicating within groups?In this podcast episode, Matt Abrahams speaks with Bob Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford School of Engineering and GSB Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy) about maximizing productivity while minimizing what he calls “friction.” “So many organizations make the right things too hard to do and the wrong things too easy,” Sutton says. “For communication, to me, a big part of a leader's job is to be clear about where people should focus attention and where they should not focus attention.” Think Fast, Talk Smart is a podcast produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business and hosted by Lecturer Matt Abrahams. Each episode provides concrete, easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help you hone and enhance your communication.
Humor does more than just make people laugh. It allows you to connect with your audience, diffuse tension, elevate status, and compel others to your point of view. Humor can also help you and your message stand out, yet most of us hesitate to use humor, especially in our professional lives.In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Matt Abrahams speaks with Stanford GSB Professor Jennifer Aaker and Lecturer Naomi Bagdonas about when and how humor operates in the work place. “Many believe that humor simply has no place amidst serious work,” Professor Aaker says. “Yet showing your sense of humor can make your peers and your friends attribute more perceptions of confidence and status to us while also cultivating a sense of trust.”Aaker and Bagdonas are are the authors of Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life, which comes out in October of this year. 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.
Power exists in every relationship — whether we like that idea or not — and to be effective in any role, power needs to be understood. In this episode, Matt Abrahams sits down with Professor of Organizational Behavior Deborah Gruenfeld to discuss her new book, Acting with Power: Why We Are More Powerful Than We Believe. Deborah shares how body language can give us power, or take it from us, and advises how we can use power for good.
We’re constantly bombarded with competing images, messaging, and bids for our attention. That's why as communicators, it’s increasingly important to know what engages people.In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Matt Abrahams speaks with Stanford GSB Professor Zak Tormala about the subtle ways you can structure your speech to get people to pay attention. “It’s not really about tricking people into doing what you want,” Professor Tormala says. “It’s more about understanding the factors that actually engage people or open them up to your idea and maybe get them to see something a little bit differently.”
Most people feel nervous in situations such as speaking in front of a class, pitching a big idea, or giving a toast, yet research-backed techniques can help manage both the symptoms and sources of our speaking jitters.Matt Abrahams sits in the interviewee chair for this episode and talks with the podcast's producer, Jenny Luna, to share his backstory with public speaking anxiety and how by recognizing the causes of our nervousness, and applying mitigating techniques, we can gain confidence in our communication. 
Although it may feel counter intuitive, letting go of our prepared notes and focusing on the present can help us communicate more effectively.In this "Quick Thinks" podcast episode, host Matt Abrahams speaks with Stanford University lecturers and improv theater experts Dan Klein and Adam Tobin on how staying in the moment allows communicators to connect with their audience. 
Having to communicate in a language other than our native tongue can be quite a challenge. In this podcast episode, host Matt Abrahams speaks with Ken Romeo, the Associate Director for the Stanford Language Center, on specific tactics and approaches non-native speakers can use to prepare for speeches or presentations. Ken also shares advice on how to handle in-the-moment challenges, improve fluency, and let go of the need for perfection.
We've all been in the situation where you have something important to contribute to a meeting and you don't know how to insert your thoughts. On this "Quick Thinks" episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, podcast host Matt Abrahams offers the three ways to insert your ideas, either by paraphrasing, asking a question, or stating an emotion. He also outlines the "What, So What, Now What" framework and explains how to use this structure to communicate your ideas more effectively. 
Leading successful meetings remotely and being a strong speaker on-screen require specific skills. Communicating effectively has to do with your presence, ability to leverage tools, and your audience engagement. In this Quick Thinks episode, Stanford GSB Strategic Communications lecturer Matt Abrahams shares best practices for becoming a more effective and engaging online communicator.  
Preparing to speak in front of a skeptical audience is more than thinking about objections beforehand – there are specific techniques you can use to respond to these challenging situations without sounding defensive, evasive, or dismissive. Here, we offer a few key tips for how to handle skepticism with aplomb.In this podcast, host Matt Abrahams and Stanford GSB lecturer Bert Alper share how to prepare for these challenges from your audience and discuss the importance of tactics like acknowledging audience input, reframing responses, and how to remain cool, collected, and credible.
What does it mean to truly master communication? How can we speak and write for the most impact? In this podcast episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturers JD Schramm and Matt Abrahams discuss how to use self reflection for self improvement. They also offer methods for preparing for a high stakes situation such as a pitch meeting or an everyday interaction like an email. 
As communicators, we often need to take complex information (e.g., financial, technical, or scientific) and make it more understandable for our audience – we’re experts and they likely aren’t. But having so much knowledge on the topics we discuss can often make the job more difficult: we dive in too quickly, forget about our audience's needs, or use jargon that goes over their heads. In this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, strategic communications lecturers Matt Abrahams and Lauren Weinstein explore the “curse of knowledge” and offer specific techniques you can use to be more successful in getting your point across.
How others perceive us in person and via social media can impact our careers and social standing. But we can build the reputation we want through conscious communication. On this podcast episode, strategic communication lecturers Matt Abrahams and Allison Kluger share techniques on effectively improving and managing your reputation.
Most professional communication is spontaneous in nature: it’s providing feedback in the moment, answering questions, introducing people. On this podcast episode, Strategic Communication lecturer Matt Abrahams speaks with Stanford lecturers Adam Tobin and Dan Klein on how to become more comfortable and confident in in-the-moment speaking situations. Think Fast, Talk Smart is produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Comments (8)

Amir Zabihi

amazing interview, ty

Aug 5th
Reply

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
Reply

Afsar Ali

it is very helpful or fruitful for

May 9th
Reply

Vinay Mantri

What a concise way to talk on day-to-day communication issues! I love this podcast, please keep adding more episodes. Have listened to 9 episodes now, although answers are different and useful for the last 3 questions in each episode, it would be great if you could reframe the questions according to the guest. Cheers, Matt! Regards, Vinay

May 6th
Reply

Vikas Dixit

Thank you, it was very helpful!

Apr 27th
Reply
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