Matt Abrahams outlines six steps to improve your spontaneous speaking skills.
- How to feel more comfortable speaking on the spot
- Four tactics to keep speaking anxiety in check
- The easy formula for great self-introductions
Matt Abrahams is a leading expert in communication with decades of experience as an educator, author, podcast host, and coach. As a Lecturer in Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, he teaches popular classes in strategic communication and effective virtual presenting. He received Stanford GSB’s Alumni Teaching Award in recognition of his teaching students around the world.
When he isn’t teaching, Matt is a sought-after keynote speaker and communication consultant. He has helped countless presenters improve and hone their communication, including some who have delivered IPO roadshows as well as TED, World Economic Forum, and Nobel Prize presentations. His online talks garner millions of views and he hosts the popular, award-winning podcast Think Fast, Talk Smart: The Podcast. He is the author of Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot. His previous book Speaking Up without Freaking Out: 50 Techniques for Confident and Compelling Presenting has helped thousands of people manage speaking anxiety and present more confidently and authentically.
- Book: Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot
- LinkedIn: Matt Abrahams
- Podcast: Think Fast, Talk Smart
- Website: MattAbrahams.com
- Study: “Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement” by Alison Wood Brooks
- Podcast episode: “Space, Pace, and Grace: How to Handle Challenging Conversations” with Matt Abrahams and Collins Dobbs
- Book: Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson
- Past episode: 253: How to Speak Out…Without a Freak Out with Matthew Abrahams
Matt, welcome back to How to be Awesome at Your Job.
Thank you so much for having me back. I’m excited to chat with you.
Well, I’m excited, too. It’s been five and a half years.
You can tell by the lack of hair and the more gray I have that it’s been a while.
That’s right. Well, way back in episode 253 when the show was but a pop was when we covered that. I’m curious, in your world of research and communication, have you discovered anything new that was surprising and striking to you?
Yeah, so I’ve spent a lot of time since we last spoke thinking about several concepts: how to be more engaging, how to be more concise, and with the new book I have coming out, really, an amalgamation of those, combining those, and the notion of how to speak more effectively in the moment. A lot of our communication happens spontaneously. Yet, if we ever receive any kind of training or spend time thinking about it, it’s always for planned communication – pitches, presentations, meetings with agendas. And, yet, most of what we do in our personal and professional lives happens in the moment and on the spot.
Absolutely. And that’s just a great title here for your book Think Faster, Talk Smarter. And you’re bringing back some fond memories for me when I was in a high school speech team. Impromptu was my jam, although you still got, I think we had to divide eight minutes of prep and talking, and, ideally, it’d be about less than two minutes of prep with your notecard, so it’s still not quite on the spot. That’s more time than, “Hey, Pete, what do you think about this?” than you get in most circumstances.
I love that you did impromptu speaking in high school. There was a time when I left High Tech before I started what I do today where I taught high school, and I actually coached some kids in impromptu speaking. And it’s a great way to learn how to be better on your feet, for sure.
Okay. Well, so then, tell us, when it comes to Think Faster, Talk Smarter, overall, what’s the big idea here?
Well, first and foremost, I think the most counterintuitive idea is that you can prepare to be spontaneous. That’s the big thing. And then the second thing is that many of us feel that there are people who are just born with the gift of gab, and they can communicate effectively regardless if it’s planned or not. And I’m here to tell you that you can actually learn to get better at it.
And most people can improve dramatically by taking some time, putting in some practice, and adjusting their mindset to do this in a way that they might not have thought to do it. So, really, you can practice to get better. Everybody can do it. And the book and the process that I teach has six steps to it. The first four are really around mindset, and the last two are around what I call messaging.
Okay. Well, I’m excited to dig into these six steps. Maybe before we do that, can you share with us a cool story of someone who felt pretty flustered when they were called upon to speak, and what they did, and the transformation they saw?
Yes. So, I have worked with a great number of people from seasoned executives down to just everyday people, students, for sure, and there are numerous examples of people who have been put on the spot. So, one that comes to mind is an individual who was attending a meeting, he was just an engineer in the company. He was going to learn about the future releases of the product and different people around the table were sharing their pieces.
His boss, who was supposed to share his work, you can see where this is going, didn’t show up. It turned out that his boss’ wife went into labor, and he was obviously doing what was most important for him, but that left the person who was working with me in a moment of utter panic. He had to now represent his whole team’s work without having prepared to do so.
He did okay. It wasn’t the end of the world but he was definitely stressed out about it and a little bit traumatized, and that’s what brought him to do some work with me. And when I walked him through the methodology I introduced just a few moments ago, he later had a subsequent situation, not the same situation, but another situation where he had to step up and speak.
His team was doing a tribute to that part of the project he represented several months prior. They were celebrating what they did, and he was put on the spot by his boss to stand up and say something as a way of congratulating the team for their success, and he was able to do it with much more confidence and it came out much better.
So, just in a few short months, he developed the ability to speak better on his feet. He felt really, really good about it.
Awesome. All right. Well, let’s hear what are these six steps?
So, when we start, we first have to start with mindset. And the very first step in mindset has to do with managing anxiety. Regardless if it’s planned or spontaneous, anxiety looms large in communication so we have to first take steps to manage our anxiety. The second step has to do with the way we strive for perfection. Many of us want to get it right when we communicate. I make the argument that there is no one right way to communicate. Certainly, better ways and worse ways but no one right way.
Step three has you reframing the circumstances you find yourself in. Many of us see these situations as threatening, we’re put on the spot, we have to defend our position, and that can actually make it very difficult for us. Step four in the mindset category has to do with listening. It sounds ironic but some of the things that help us best communicate in the moment is to listen more deeply and better.
And then we switch from mindset into this notion of messaging. So, I am a huge proponent of structure. I think frameworks help us in all communication but, especially, in the moment when we have to speak on the spot. And, in fact, the whole second part of the book is dedicated to different frameworks and structures you can use for different situations, like introducing yourself, making small talk, answering questions.
And then the final step, step six, also has to do with messaging, how to be clear and concise. One of the big problems when we speak spontaneously is we ramble because we’re discovering our content as we are speaking, and we tend to say more than we need to. So, being focused, clear, and concise is critical in all communication but, especially, spontaneous communication.
So, those are the six steps: mindset and messaging.
All right. Well, maybe let’s tick through each one of these. For the step one, what are the top do’s and don’ts for managing anxiety?
So, when it comes to managing anxiety, we have to take a two-pronged approach. We have to manage both symptoms and sources. So, symptoms are what we physiologically experience. Some people feel their heart really pounding, others sweat and blush, some shake, and there are some things we can do to manage those symptoms. I’ll give you examples in a moment. But we also have to think about sources. Those are the things that initiate and exacerbate our anxiety.
So, when it comes to sources, let me give you three quick things we can all do. Number one, take deep belly breaths, the kind you would ever do if you’ve ever done yoga, or tai chi, or qigong, where you really fill your lower abdomen. And, interestingly, what’s most important is the exhale not the inhale. So, you want your exhale to be twice as long as your inhalation.
Second, and this is a mental thing, remind yourself that you are speaking in service of your audience. Often, when we are asked to communicate, it is because we have something of value to provide to those that we are speaking to. If we really listen in to our self-talk right before we speak, we say lots of negative things to ourselves, like, “You better not screw up,” or, “You should’ve prepared more,” or, “That person who just went is far better than you are.” So, if we can remind ourselves that we actually have value to bring that the audience can benefit, that can cancel out some of that negative self-talk.
And then, finally, what we need to be thinking about is our body and how our body is reacting. So, if you blush and perspire, you need to cool yourself down. If you shake, you need to do some purposeful movements, like stepping in if you’re standing up. To cool yourself down, holding something cold in the palm of your hands will reduce your core body temperature. The palms of your hands are thermoregulators for your body. So, those are some just quick tips of what we can do for symptoms, and there are many others.
The second side of the equation is sources, and there are many sources of anxiety. One source is that we’re very nervous about not achieving the goal that we’re trying to accomplish. So, if you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you’re trying to get funding. If you’re one of my students, maybe you’re trying to get a good grade. If you’re working in an organization, maybe you’re trying to get support for your cause.
What makes us nervous is we start thinking about what will happen if we don’t achieve that goal, and that can make us very nervous. So, what do we do? We have to get present-oriented because worrying about a goal is worrying about something in the future. So, becoming present-oriented can short-circuit that. For example, you can do something physical. Actors and actresses will shake their body out. You can walk around the building. If you get in your body, you’re not in your mind.
Second, you can listen to a song or a playlist, it helps you get very present-oriented. A very simple way to get present-oriented sounds silly is to say a tongue twister. You can’t say a tongue twister right without being in the present moment, and it warms up your voice. So, lots of things we can do to manage symptoms and sources to help us with the first step of the spontaneous speaking methodology.
Okay. Manage anxiety, understood. We got the symptoms, we got the sources, and that’s handy. In terms of getting present, I’m intrigued, are there some additional ways that you recommend folks get into their body as opposed to their mind?
Yeah. So, a great way, if you have an opportunity, is to connect with people, have conversations. So, if I’m ever in a physical space with other people where I’m presenting, maybe I’m running a meeting, or I’m giving a presentation where I know I’m going to get Q&A, and it’s appropriate, I’m out talking to the people, just getting to know them. It’s very hard to have a conversation with somebody and not be in the present moment. So, I’m listening, I’m connecting, that helps.
Another simple kind of fun way is to start at some hard number and count backwards by an even harder number. So, start at 100 and count backwards by, let’s say, 17s. That can be very challenging. So, there’s a lot that we can do to get ourselves present-oriented.
Yeah, try it. you can do the first one, that’s 73. Oh, I’m sorry, 83, and the rest are really hard.
Okay. And now let’s hear about the second step when we’re thinking about striving for perfection.
Yes. So, when many of us speak, our goal, we feel, is to do it right, to say the right thing, to be perfect. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Society doesn’t help. If you ask people, “Who’s a really good speaker?” they will typically pick people who are professional communicators. They’ll say some TED speaker from doing a TED Talk, some politician, actor, actress, and that sets an incredibly high bar for the quality of what communication should be like.
Now, we seem to forget that these folks have been trained, and coached, and practiced a lot. In the case of TED Talks, sometimes they’re even edited. So, we need to be thinking about the criteria we use to judge and evaluate our communication because we set the bar really high. That said, we try to achieve it and we want to be perfect and right. And we can disabuse ourselves of that.
I start my Stanford MBA course every quarter I teach with this saying, I say, “Try to maximize your mediocrity in your communication.” And let me tell you, Pete, these folks’ jaws drop. They’ve never been told in their lives to be mediocre. But the value of this is when you strive just to get it done, you put less pressure on yourself, which actually boils down to cognitive load.
Your brain is like a computer. It’s not a perfect analogy but it works. And you know on your laptops and or phones when you have lots of apps or windows open, your system performs a little less well. It’s not performing at its top speed because it’s doing too much at once. The same thing is true with you when you communicate. If I’m evaluating and judging everything I say, that means when I communicate, I have less cognitive focus and effort in what I’m actually saying.
So, you can reduce that by just telling yourself, “Hey, dial down that judgment and evaluation.” I’m not saying never judge and evaluate. You should. But if you dial that down a little bit, you can just focus on getting it done. And when I explain this to my students, I end the class by saying, “Maximize mediocrity so you can achieve greatness,” and they get it. They understand that the pressure they’re putting on themselves actually works against them.
So, that’s step number two. Just get the communication done. And, in so doing, you’re likely to do it very well.
Okay. Understood. And how about the third one, service as an opportunity?
Yes. So, many of us, when we think about our speaking situations, and we think about, “Oh, you’ve got to answer questions on the spot,” for example, or, somebody asks you for feedback, or to introduce somebody in the moment. Many of us don’t say, “Oh, this is a great opportunity.” We think, “Oh, my goodness, I’m going to screw up. I can’t believe I’m in this situation. I have to defend myself or my position.” So, we get very defensive.
And that affects not just how we hold our bodies. We get tight and tense. Our tone gets more curt. Our answers get really short and brief. We can adjust that by reframing the circumstance even in the most difficult spontaneous speaking. Let’s imagine a Q&A session where somebody is just coming at us, fast, furious, spicy. We can still see that as an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to connect, an opportunity to potentially find areas to collaborate, and, in so doing, it will change our approach.
We become more open in our body posture. Our answers become more detailed. Our tone becomes more collaborative. All of that will help us do better in the interaction. So, reframing these situations not as hostile and challenging but as opportunities can fundamentally change how we approach this.
Okay. Let’s hear about listening.
Well, so I host a podcast called Think Fast, Talk Smart. I’ve not done nearly as many episodes as you’ve done. We’ve just come up on our hundredth, and it’s all about communication. And across these hundred episodes, what has been very clear to me is that listening is critical. We absolutely have to listen better. Most of us do not listen well. We listen just enough to understand what the person is saying so we can then respond, rehearse, evaluate, and judge. We need to listen deeply.
I once heard a video where somebody was talking about jazz and jazz music, and he talked about a teacher he had. And the teacher told him that when he’s listening to jazz music, to really understand it, he has to listen until he sweats. And I love that. When you listen to really connect and in the moment with somebody, you have to listen intently. Listen until you sweat.
So, when it comes to listening, I have a framework that I borrowed from a colleague of mine at the business school, his name is Collins Dobbs. And he talks about, in crucial conversations, three things. And these three things apply to listening beautifully, so I borrowed it – space, pace, grace. To listen truly well, you have to give yourself pace, space, and grace. By pace, I mean slow down.
All of us move so quickly and we have so much going on, we distract ourselves, so we need to slow down so we can really listen. We need to give ourselves space, not just physical space. Move into an environment where you can listen well, but also mental space. We have to give ourselves space in our minds to really focus, be present, and pay attention.
And then grace, we have to give ourselves permission, not only give ourselves pace and space, but to listen internally to our intuition. So, when somebody says something, if you said to me, “Hey, Matt, I’m doing great,” well, the words might say one thing but my sense is the way you said them might mean something else, and I need to give that some credence, and then act upon that as well.
So, the ability to listen minimizes the likelihood that you will respond poorly in a spontaneous speaking situation. For example, you come out of a meeting and you look at me, and you say, “Hey, Matt, how did you think that went?” And, all of a sudden, I hear, “Feedback. Pete wants feedback. Well, Pete, you did this poorly. You could’ve done this better. This should be different next time.”
But if I would’ve really listened, I might’ve noticed that you came out the back door, not the front door, that when you asked me, you were looking down, your tone of voice was very different. What you really wanted in that moment was support. You didn’t want feedback, and I missed it, and I made it actually worse not better. That’s why we have to listen really well.
Okay. And then when it comes to some of your frameworks, what is the framework for introducing yourself?
Well, let me give you an all-purpose framework first, and then I can give you a specific one when you do an introduction toast or tribute. So, my favorite structure in the whole world is three simple questions: what, so what, now what. The what is your idea, it’s your product, your service. It could be the person you’re introducing, including yourself. The so what is why is it important to the people you’re talking to. And then the now what becomes what comes next.
So, if I were introducing you, Pete, I might say, “I’m really excited to introduce you to Pete. He’s a very talented person. He does many things, including host a podcast. In talking to Pete, you’re going to learn so much from his vast experience. Now, I’m going to turn the floor over to Pete.” Did you see I just did what, so what, now what as a way of introducing you?
Now, if you’re doing a toast or a tribute, where you’re introducing an idea, a product, maybe a group of people, another structure can work really well, and that is what I call WHAT. What is, “Why are we here? What is the event?” The H is, “How are you, the person doing the introduction, connected to the event?” The A is an anecdote or story you might tell that’s relevant and appropriate for the group. And then the T is some kind of thanks or gratitude.
So, imagine you are the MC, the master of ceremonies at a wedding. You would start, you wouldn’t have to necessarily say why you’re all here. People can figure that out as they see everybody all fancy dressed and probably came from a ceremony. But you might want to explain how you’re connected. You might say, “I’ve known the bride and groom for 10 years. In fact, I introduced them.” And then you would give an anecdote or story that’s relevant and appropriate, and then you would thank everybody, and then maybe bring up the next speaker.
So, the WHAT, why are we here, how are you connected, anecdote or two, and then thank you can be a helpful way of introducing people or an event.
Okay. And so, could you show us that in action? Let’s just say there’s a project kickoff, everyone’s getting together, and they’re going around introducing themselves. Matt, could you show us the introduction of self in action?
Yeah. So, I hate the, “Let’s all go around the table and introduce ourselves.” I think there are so many better ways to get to know each other and names. But if you have to do that, so what I like to do, I do a slight variation of what, so what, now what, in that I start with something provocative. Rather than saying, “Hi, my name is…” That’s boring. Everybody sort of tunes out.
So, I’ll start by saying, “I’m somebody who’s passionate about communication. My name is Matt, and I am a podcast host, an author, and a teacher. And I look forward to sharing with you what I’ve learned about communication and, more importantly, learning from you what you know about communication.” That’s how I would introduce myself. It’s a little more engaging. It allows me to animate and demonstrate my passion. And it really sets up the next step of the interaction.
Okay. And now let’s talk about being clear and concise.
Many of us, when we speak spontaneously, we discover what we’re saying as we say it. So, we say more than we need to. My mother has this wonderful saying that really helps get to the crux of this. And I know she didn’t create it but I certainly attribute it to her. And her saying is, “Tell me the time, don’t build me the clock.”
Many of us are clock builders. We say way too much either because we want to demonstrate how much work we’ve done, or how smart we are, or just so into whatever it is we’re talking about, we give way more information than people need. And, in so doing, we can bore them, we can cause them to get confused, we can lose our place and where we’re trying to head. So, really being concise is critical, and there are lots of ways to be more concise.
The two that I like to start with is, one, you have to know your audience. You have to understand what’s important to them. The more relevant you can make your content, the more likely you can focus it on the needs of your audience. That’s number one. And number two, you really have to think about your goal. Whenever you communicate, you have a goal, and you have to think about that goal such that it will help you focus.
And, to me, a goal has three parts: information, emotion, and action. In other words, what do you want your audience to know? How do you want them to feel? And what do you want them to do? And even in the moment, when I’m walking into a situation where I have to speak spontaneously, I can quickly say what I want them to know, feel, and do, and that helps me focus what I say.
I bet, when you were doing impromptu speeches in high school, at some point, before you started speaking, you would think to yourself, “What is it I’m trying to accomplish here?” And whatever that answer was helped you focus your communication so you were clearer and more concise.
All right. Well, Matt, this is quite a lovely rundown here. So, those are our six steps. And so, I’m curious then, maybe we’ve done all that prep, and yet, still, someone puts us on the spot, we’re drawing a blank, what do we do?
Yeah. So, the number one fear people report to me is, “What do I do when I blank out?” And we can reduce the likelihood of blanking out by having a clear goal, thinking about our audience, and leveraging a structure. Because, if you think about it, a structure gives you a map, and if you have a map, it’s hard to get lost.
So, I might know, not remember, or know exactly what I want to say next, but if I’m using a structure like what, so what, now what, and I know that I’ve just covered the what, I know that so what has to come next. So, it helps give me directionality. So, we can avoid blanking out by, first, really leveraging a structure and knowing our audience.
Now, let’s say the worst happens. Even though you’ve got a structure, even though you’re feeling good about your communication, for whatever reason, you blank out. In that moment, there are two things I recommend you do. One, go back to go forward. Repeat yourself. When you repeat yourself, often you will get yourself back on track.
It’s like when you lose your keys or your phone, what do you do? You retrace your steps so you can find your way. Same thing works. Second, if that doesn’t work, distract your audience. You just need a few seconds to get yourself back. Here’s how I do it.
“Look over there.”
Not so much that way. Not the smoke and mirrors distraction. But here’s what I do. When I teach, I teach the same strategic communication course multiple times a year at the Stanford Business School, and sometimes I’ll forget, “Did I say that in this class? Have we covered this already?” And I just need a moment to collect my thoughts.
So, I’ll just stop wherever I’m at, and I’ll say to my students, I’ll say, “I want to pause for a moment. I’d like for you to think about how what we’ve just covered can be applied in your life.” And when I say that, my students don’t think, “Oh, Matt forgot.” My students think, like, “Oh, how could I apply this. It’s important. We should apply it. It’s nice that he’s giving us time to do that.”
I think all of us can come up with a question that we could ask pretty much anywhere in our communication that would give us just a few seconds. So, imagine you’re in an update meeting, a product meeting, you could pause, and say, “What’s the impact of what we’ve just discussed on our timeline or on the product we’re coming up with?” People will think about it, and in that moment, you can collect your thoughts.
So, if the worst happens, repeat yourself. If that doesn’t get you back on track, ask some kind of question, assert something that gets people thinking in a different way, and that gives you time to rethink what you’ve got to do.
That’s really cool. And then I’m thinking of the project management or project kickoffs setting, it might be any number of great things to prompt people to think about it. Now, I guess in some ways, if the question is too far afield from what you were talking about, they’re like, “Huh? Why were you asking us to do this now?” Like, “I’d like for you to anticipate some of the sticking points as you imagine this playing out in process.” Like, “Really, you’re telling us about the financial projections? I don’t know why we’d do that now.”
Yeah. Well, of course. So, of course, there are certain constraints but you could certainly say in the midst, you can say, “Now I want everybody to think back to the previous project. What were some of the sticking points that got in the way? Or, what are some of the financial issues?” Depending on whatever it was, people will start thinking.
And you could even say, “We’ve got some new people on the team. They don’t remember what it was like last time. I’d like each of you to just turn to somebody and share what a big issue it was for our last release, and then we can start talking more about where we’re going.” I don’t think a single person would question that at all, and it will help you be more effective.
That’s cool. That’s cool. Well, Matt, tell me, anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?
Yeah. So, I would just like to re-emphasize the fact that everybody can get better in their communication. The process I’ve delineated might sound intimidating, might sound like hard work. It’s not. You can do it in bite-size pieces. You can practice. The reality is this: the only way you get better at communication is the way you get better at everything else in life – repetition, reflection, and feedback.
If you’ve ever played a sport, a musical instrument, you had to practice. And then you had to reflect, “What’s working? What’s not working?” And then, finally, seek advice, guidance, and support from others so you can get better. I’ve seen it in my own life, I’ve seen it in the people I teach and I coach. You just have to take the time. You take small steps forward and it makes a huge, huge difference.
All right. Well, now could you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?
So, a quote that I love, Pete, and thank you for asking this, is a quote by Mark Twain, and it’s got a little tongue in cheek here but it proves a point that I just made about how we can work to get better at spontaneous speaking. And Mark Twain said, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
And the point behind this is you have to put in work. You have to practice to get better at spontaneous speaking. Mark Twain knew it a long time ago. It still holds true today. And it puts a smile on my face every time I think about it, and I think it helps others understand what’s possible when it comes to spontaneous speaking.
Okay. And now could you share a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?
I have lots of favorite research points but I’ll share some research from a friend and colleague, her name is Alison Wood Brooks. She teaches at Harvard Business School. And a while back, she did some research that looked at how we can reframe our anxiety around speaking not as something that makes us anxious but as something that excites us.
It turns out that our physiological response to excitement and anxiety are exactly the same. Our bodies have one arousal response and we can reframe that and relabel it. So, instead of saying, “Oh, I’m so nervous,” we could say, “Hey, I’m really excited to do this.” And we can attribute those symptoms we’re feeling to excitement. And it actually ends up with us performing better, that is we feel better about how we did. And the audience sees us as doing better. So, I love that research.
Okay. And a favorite book?
So, one of my favorite books of all time is a book called Improv Wisdom. It’s a book by Patricia Ryan Madson. I know Patricia, I’ve gotten to know her over the years. A very skinny book but it’s got lots of life changing advice that comes from the world of improvisation.
There are very few books that I have read where, upon closing the book, I have fundamentally changed my life based on what I’ve read. And this is one of those books, and it’s a book I return to often. So, it’s called Improv Wisdom Patricia Ryan Madson.
Okay. And a favorite tool, something you use to be awesome at your job?
So, I’ve already alluded to a few, there are two. Actually, you know what, there are several that I use. Let me share the most useful tool I think I use, and that is paraphrasing. I think paraphrasing is the Swiss Army knife of communication. You can use it for so many things. As a podcast host, I use it to really clarify what I heard my audience members say, my guests say.
I also use it as a tool to distribute airtime in a meeting. So, if somebody’s talking too much, I’ll paraphrase and throw it over to somebody else to talk some more. And I also use paraphrasing to clarify in my own life what it is I just heard somebody say. So, if one of my teenage kids, or somebody else in my life says something, and I want to validate that I heard it, and make sure that I got it right, I’ll use paraphrasing. So, that is the single most useful tool I use to be awesome at what I do.
All right. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?
Well, first and foremost, I invite people to listen into Think Fast, Talk Smart, that’s a podcast I host. It’s short episodes all about communication. Definitely consider checking out the book Think Faster, Talk Smarter. I’m not that creative with my naming. It’s all about spontaneous speaking. And then if you go to MattAbrahams.com, you’ll find a whole bunch of resources I’ve put up there for all things communication. And if you’re a big LinkedIn user, feel free to link in with me as well.
All right. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks looking to be awesome at their jobs?
I challenge everyone to think about the impact communication has on the work that you do, and on the others that you work with, and I encourage you and challenge you to work on your communication so that you can be a better version of yourself, a better colleague, a better partner, a better parent. Communication will help you do that.
All right. Matt, this has been a treat. I wish you many fast thoughts and talks.
Awesome. Pete, it’s been great to be back with you. Keep doing the good work that you do. Keep thinking fast and talking smart. Thank you.