Matt Abrahams: "How to Make Your Communication Memorable"
Hello. How are we doing excellent. Very good I am thrilled to be here and I'm thrilled to be talking about the topic of how to make, our communication. Memorable. So, today is all about, specific. Tips and tricks that you can use so. That you can help yourself remember. What you're trying to say and to help your audience remember. Well. I like, communicating. I love, hearing you communicate. As well so today is going to be participative. And I invite you to participate as much or as little as you like so, let's go ahead and get started and you'll see by some of the imagery that I'm using I'm, trying to keep a very serious, subject, playful. So. When I ask, my. Students, or the people I coach what worries, you the most what, concerns, you the most I hear two things all, the time I'm. Afraid I'm. Not gonna remember what I need to say, followed. Immediately by I'm afraid, my audience is gonna remember what I say so, today is all about trying, to give those tools that we can use to, make sure that our communication. Is memorable. And we'll. Start by looking at how we can help ourselves remember. Our content, and then. We'll move forward and we'll talk about how, to make sure that, your, content, is memorable and we'll, start by talking about, presentation. Hygiene. To, me presentation. Hygiene, is about what you do to. Prepare for, your communication. Not. The actual practice, which we will talk about but. Specifically. What, you do in your life to. Get yourself ready so. To begin one of the most important, things we can do is make sure that we eat, well I coached. An individual, who kept getting promoted in, his organization, and he, noticed, that as he got promoted he got more nervous and more, forgetful when. He gave presentations. And ran meetings and I asked him why. Do you think that is and. He had no idea and. I said walk me through your day and, what. We learned was as he, kept getting promoted his, diet got worse and worse, he was drinking more caffeine he, was eating more fast food and he couldn't, remember well. So. By looking into some nutritional, advice by, eating more healthy, he, actually regained. His confidence, and his memory so. Preparing, for. A presentation. Or a important. Meeting like you would prepare for some kind of athletic, event is exactly. What you should do make. Sure that you treat your diet. Well. And, that you focus, on. Elements. Like what you eat and when, you eat certain foods to, make sure you're prepared quick. Bit of advice, caffeine. While preparing, your. Communication. But not before you deliver your communication, in, addition. To eating we also have to make sure that we exercise, we, have to make sure that our body is warmed, up and it. Works very well to, reduce stress that we have so, instead of spending a whole night cramming, for that big meeting or that big presentation. It's, far better to do a little exercise to. Breathe deeply and get. A good night's sleep, sleep. Is critical, to memory formation, and to. Making sure you have the energy you need to communicate, effectively. So. Simple, hygiene what. You eat, the. Exercise, you do the, sleep you get can, really help, now. We live, in a valley of Technology. So, part of our hygiene, in preparation. Needs, to focus on technology. There. Are myriad, of apps, and tools that you can use to, help yourself, become, a better more. Effective communicator, I'm going. To list several here. These. Are tools that range from helping, you reduce the number of disfluencies. You have those are the UM zazz likes, and I means all, the, way through tools that help you with your vocal intensity. In your flow. One. Of these tools actually allows, you to dawn VR. Goggles and, see, an imaginary, audience an. Audience you can determine if it's friendly or hostile big, or small you. Can even see your slide deck behind, you in a virtual world. Leverage. Tools. To help you with. Your preparation. This. Is the first step to, being an effective. Memorable. Communicator. Next. We actually have to think about the messages, that we communicate, and, I. Believe all effective. Communication. All high-stakes. Communication. Must. Start, with a goal and. To. Me a goal has three, key components, it's, about information. Emotion. And action. At. The, end of your meeting at the end of your presentation, at the, end of your email. What. Do you want your, audience to know, how. Do you want them to feel and what. Do you want them to do, you. Should be able to articulate, your goal clearly, before, you, create your, content. My. Goal for us today is simple, I'd, like for each and every one of you to leave here with some tools and tactics you can use to, be more memorable, I want, you to feel confident, and dare I say excited. To try these tools and ultimately. I'd love for you to use them each. Of you needs to think about what. Is your goal for your upcoming. High-stakes. Communication. And. By the way having a goal not only helps, you focus what you say it.
Also Helps you assess, the. Success of your communication. In the, work I do with my students here and the. Consulting, I do around the world I often, ask people how, do you know if your communication, was successful, and the, most frequent, answer I get is I got. Through, it. Survival. Becomes the success, criteria and, that's, not where we want to be if you. Have a goal you. Can actually assess were you successful do, the people know what I wanted, them to know are they feeling the way I want them to feel and ultimately are they doing what I wanted so, having a goal helps you not only hone your message it. Helps you assess its success. So. Once we have that goal we then need to think about how do we best communicate, our message, and I. Am a huge, proponent of, structure. Structure. Is critical. To. Success in, communication. Structure. Helps us in two ways, first. It. Helps us to set our audiences, expectations and. Second. It helps, our audience to remember I. Learned. This first rule very. Early in my life when. I was an undergraduate here at Stanford, I was a tour guide. They. Trained me for 12, weeks a full academic quarter to be a tour guide to. This day I can still walk backwards, in a straight line. What. Do you think, was the most important. Thing they taught us during. That full quarter, in terms of being a good tour guide here what. Do you think shout out some of the things smile. What. Else. Make. People feel welcome what, else. Project. Be nice the, best thing listen the. Best and most important, thing they said to be a good tour guide is never, lose. Your, tour group. You. Are a bad tour guide if you lose your tour group and here on campus they were afraid of people get lost they might get hurt, the. Same thing is true in your communication. Never. Lose your audience because. Once you lose them it's very hard to get them back they. Go to their phones they go to their friends they go to sleep we. Need to keep them with us. Setting. Expectations helps. Would. You join me on my tour if I showed up and I said hi I'm Matt let's go a couple. Of you adventurous folks, would come but the rest of you you'd be like no way where are we going why are we going there do I have the right shoes on that's. Why tour guides always set expectations that, structure, helps prepare, you so, you can, be present, and enjoy the, tour. Structuring. Your communication. Does the same thing but, structure. Also helps with memory, for. You and for your audience it provides, a map and you can't be lost, if you have a map. So. Allow me to share with you three of my favorite, structures. That, once you have your goal you, place your content, into, the. First structure is a comparison. Contrast. Conclusion. Structure, you. Miss things in common you list things that are different and then you identify, your. Particular, conclusion. Another. Structure that works very well is the problem, solution. Benefit. Structure, you start by talking about what the problem, is you. Then talk about how you solve it and ultimately you, end with the benefits, to the person listening now. Sometimes, the problem, isn't really a problem it's really an opportunity, so. This could become the opportunity. Solution. Benefit. Structure. As well. Now. Finally my. Most favorite structure, and I'm the kind of guy that has a favorite, structure is the. What so, what now what structure, in. This structure you start by defining what it is you're talking about a product, or process an idea, you. Then talk about why, it's important, to the people you're talking to that's the so what and then. The now what are the next steps what, can somebody do with that information. I, like. This structure so much because it not only helps with presenting. But. It's a great way to set up a meeting agenda, it's a good way to structure, an email. You. Can even give feedback and answer questions, in this structure I encourage. Each and every one of you to try putting. Your communication. Into, the structure. Now. I'm smiling and I'm gonna take a timeout.
This. Is a meta moment for us I just. Used what so what now what to. Explain, what so what now what I told, you what it was why, it was important, and how you can use it take. These structures, or any structure, you find beneficial, and leverage. It to make your communication, memorable. For you and your audience we. Start with a goal and then, we put it in a structure. Alright, enough of me talking we're. Gonna put this all together I'm. Gonna ask you to find a partner in one moment and I'm going to ask you to do something with one of these structures. So. To begin how many of you remember what this device, is up here it's. A slinky a children's, toy whose sole purpose I, think is to walk downstairs except. In my house and never worked, you. Are going to. Sell. A slinky to your partner, and then your partner will sell the very same slinky back to you using the problem, solution, benefit structure. Identify. A problem. Explain. The solution, and explain, the benefit now. One caveat. This. Cannot be a children's toy. You. Have to make it up to be something else. I, never. Asked my students, to do something I'm not willing to do so allow me to demonstrate. Have. You all heard of a terrible. Plight. Affecting. The African, savannah. Day. After day week after week elephants, are dying, why. You ask because, their, trunks, are getting, cold. Allow. Me to introduce you to an expandable. Elephant. Trunk, warmer. With. These cheap very effective, supplies, and tools you, can reduce. The. Deaths of elephants. On the African savannah each of us must, do our part, problem. Solution. Benefit. Here's. What you're going to do you're going to find a partner for. Some of you it's just turn to the person next of you a few of you might need to move around the room you, have one minute each to, sell your. Device. To. Your partner ready. Begin. So. I'm very curious. I'm, very, curious what, did, this device, become, for some of you raise your hand I'll calling you what was this a. Cup. Holder what was it back there. Oh it's. A it's a cozy, for, electric, cords yes sir please an. Egg. Timer oh the egg sort of rolls down yes please a. Politically. Correct way to trap Gophers, yes sir oh. It's. An exercise, tool, what in the back a. Bagel. Slicer multiple. Bagel slicer excellent. I don't. Know what you and your partner came, up with but in looking out at you you were having a lot of fun, the. The pantomiming. Was was fantastic. Let. Me ask you this though in all seriousness. Was. The structure, helpful. In you're. Creating, your pitch I see, several of you nodding your heads in what, ways did the structure, help you what, did it do for you. It. Helps you focus on the problem what else does it do for you it. Helps, you remember where to go from one to the next what else the sequence it. Helps. You finish, in. A lot of the teaching and coaching I do people, tell me Matt I don't have a problem communicating I, have a problem stopping, communicating.
So. The structure, actually gives you a place to finish after I say the benefits I'm done it. Also helps you move from one place to the next it has built-in transitions, so the flow, is easier. So. Structure, helps, with memory but, it has a lot of other added, benefits. So. Once we've taken care, of our personal, hygiene and we. Then think about our goal in our structure, the, next thing we have to do to help with our own memory is, practice. So, I'd like to give you some advice and guidance on, practicing. First. When. You practice, actually stand. And, speak if. You're. In a meeting or you're preparing for a presentation stand, up and practice, I know, how. Most people practice. We, open up our slide deck that we've created, we. Sit and we look at each slide and we think to ourselves mmm. That's what I'll say mm-hmm, that's what I'll say I don't, know about you but in my mind I'm amazingly, eloquent. But, when I open up my mouth I'm not always as lucky so it's useful. And practical to, actually, stand and speak and standing. Helps, you focus. When. I teach my class, here on effective, virtual, communication, that's, where you're doing webinar, or videoconference, I encourage. All of my students, to stand adjust, the camera and stand, it helps you focus it, allows you to use your voice fully. And completely it is a very useful tool. Beyond. Standing, to practice, we need to make sure we warm up most. Speakers, especially those, who are nervous go inside themselves and they think and they think and they worry and. We don't warm up our voice so our first, utterances. Aren't. Necessarily, our strongest, I, believe. Warming, up is critical, so I'm going to ask you to help me do, the world's, quickest, and easiest vocal. Warmup we, are simply going to say two words a few, times each and those, two words are tea cup followed. By hiccup, so, I'm going to ask you to say each word. Three. Times in a pair so it's going to be tea cup hiccup tea cup hiccup tea cup hiccup and we're all going to say it out loud and I want you to notice where in your mouth, those two words get produced with, me ready begin, tea, cup hiccup. Tea cup hiccup, tea cup hiccup. We. Have a couple extra credit, yes yes yes I know we're here at Stanford Business School everybody, does the extra. When. You say tea cup where in your mouth does that come from front. Top when you say hiccup, where does that come from back. Lower, you've. Warmed up your whole voice very, simple now I'm not saying you get up in front of your very important meeting and say one moment please DK pick up do you come here you do this before you enter the room I like. To go around and talk to people in my audiences, in my meetings I like to make, sure I get there early and talk to people as they come in that's my way of warming up make. Sure you're warmed up for. Those of you who do athletics or who exercise, you know warming, up is important, the same is true with your communication. So. We practice standing, up we, warm up our voice. Now. When we practice, there's, some really, good research. Learning, theory and cognitive neuroscience. That tells us chunking, your information. Is very, useful take, pieces, of it and practice, each piece separately, and then assemble, it in different ways so. If you're giving a big presentation, perhaps, you practice, the beginning, then the middle then the end and then the next time you do the middle the end the beginning that. Form of chunking, helps. You to remember each part, and it, helps. You avoid being in a particular pattern. Memorization. Actually, works against. You when. You are in a high-stress situation because. If you deviate, from the, script you're. Lost, so. If you are very familiar with what you're talking about and practicing, in a chunked manner helps, you do that it. Also helps you give attention to the end most. People, because we're so nervous about how. We're going to start practice, the beginning a lot more than the rest, so. We figure oh by the time I get to the end I'll know how to finish do. You know the most common way meetings, and presentations, end in the corporate world I, guess. We're out of time and somebody needs the room Thanks. That. Is not the most effective way to end a presentation. So you must practice. Each. Part, in each part individually very, helpful.
Now. Research done not very far from here in the psychology, department several, decades ago on the Stanford campus they. Did a tremendous amount of work on how. Where, you actually learn, something. Influences. And impacts how, you recall, it so. If you practice, in a situation. That is similar, to the situation, in which you will communicate you are more likely to remember the information. So. Any of you who are parents who have instructed, your children when they're studying for a test or a quiz to study in a quiet place you're. Actually doing them a service you're. Helping them my. Children like to study with lots of noise and. Devices. Yet, when they take their exams or have to write their essays it's, in silence, that's. Actually causing a problem. In terms of their memory so, if possible, go into the venue that you'll be presenting, in practice. In there that will help you. So there's some very specific things we can do to. Help prepare, but. What happens if, we, go blank. What. Happens, if we forget. This. Is the number one fear people, report, to me so. Let me give you some advice on how to handle blanking. Out, first. Don't. Acknowledge it, oh man. I just forgot. Instead. Leverage. Two techniques I'd like to suggest first. Repeat. What you just said and, see. If that gets you back on track when. You lose your keys how do you find them, you. Retrace your steps do. The same in your presentations. For. Some reason, when we're presenting, or running meetings and we blank out all, we do is think about all the things we need to do or say in the future I only have ten more minutes left this, is really important I you have to get the funding I have to get this good that's all future thinking, you. Would never do that if you lost your keys if you lose your keys you don't stand there say I have to get to the store I have to pick up day we don't talk about the future we say wait I put those keys we go back repeat. What you just said most. Of us can remember what we said even. If we can't remember what we intend to say and simply, by repeating, yourself, it often will get you back on track. Now. If that doesn't work let, me give you a second, tool and, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret when I teach and. I have some former students here so you're gonna hear something you heard when you were a student of mine. Have. A back, pocket, question. At the ready so if, you forget simply, pause and ask your audience a question thereby, giving yourself time to collect your thoughts check, your notes get back on track. Here's. What I do in my lectures, when. I can't remember what I need to say next I'll simply, pause and say this, is a good place for us to take a pause and, I'd like for you to reflect on something that we've just discussed, and how it applies to you and your, life and.
You, Know what my students do they. Pause and reflect on, how. Their life has changed based, on this information and what am i doing I mean what's next where do I go I check my notes, now. If I'm really lost I'll say turn. To your partner next. And tell them the impact that has. And. My students, think wow Matt really cares and I do but. I'm also finding. My place I want. Each of you to think about for the types of communication, you do what, are some questions you could ask midway. Through or perhaps. Towards the end or even at the beginning that. Would. Engage your audience in reflection and distract, them from paying attention, to the fact that you don't know where you are so you can find out there. Are lots of types of questions, that you can ask have, them at the ready, simply. By knowing that you can repeat yourself go back to go forward or that, you have a back pocket question, makes. Most people feel more comfortable and confident, when, they present which therefore makes them more, able. To get through their presentation, and less likely to forget what they want to say. So. The next time you, fear blanking out know you have tools to get you through it. So. We've talked about what we can do to. Help ourselves remember. We've. Talked about hygiene that's. What we eat we. Exercise, we sleep we leverage technology we've. Talked about how we prepare, by having a goal know. Feel, do and then creating a structure and then. We've talked about ways to practice we stand up we chunk information we, practice, in the real environment. I'd. Like now to flip. The coin and I'd, like to talk about what we can do to, help our audience, remember. And this, involves, three things - it involves using. Variation. It involves. Making sure our content, is relevant, and finally. How can we leverage emotion, to make ideas stick. So. Let's start we're. Gonna talk about variation and we're going to talk about variety, in several ways first. We're going to talk about variation in your voice. Evolution. Has designed. Humans, to pay attention to. Variety. To novelty, if something. Stays the same, we. Habituate. If. I were to have talked like this for. My. Entire lecture, you. Would no longer be paying attention, and likely. Be, asleep. Variety. Is what, keeps us focused. So. You must put variation. In your voice how. Do you do that well. Record. Yourself and listen do. You have variation, if you. Notice that you don't have variety, use, emotive, words. When. We invoke, emotive, words we tend to reflect their meaning so. I might say this is a really, big challenge I wouldn't, say this is a really big challenge the, words really and big invite, that. Kind of vocal. Emphasis. When. You are practicing. Make. Sure that, you. Extend. And exaggerate. The way you would normally say something. When. We get nervous we, tense up and our vocal cords are muscles, and they tense up too so, if my normal vocal range is here and I get nervous it becomes here so. When I practice, I purposely, practice, in an exaggerated. Way knowing, that when I get nervous it will come back to my normal range. Be. Mindful. Of your voice, and the variation, in it. We. Must also use variation. Well. Before we get to the next point we also have to practice, I would like all of you to notice this word up here what is the word oh we're. Going to say Oh in a variety of ways to make sure that we have variation, on our voice in, a moment I'm gonna ask you to say oh is if a heavy object dropped, on your foot you. Might. Say a naughty word after you say the word oh but I want us all to practice okay, on the count of three something heavy dropped on your foot I want you to say Oh ready one two three oh that. Was great now you just, saw something so adorable.
And Cute. Ready, one, two three. Now. You've just made a terrible mistake and, you're. Really sorry how, would you say Oh ready one two three. Look. What you just did you. Were able to take a very simple word and you, were able to convey different meaning, by varying your voice, imagine. What you could do in complex, sentences. And in. An entire presentation, or, meeting, variety. In your voice is what makes it engaging. We. Also need to think about variety, and the evidence and support that we use when, we communicate there. Are lots of things we can do to. Encourage. People to believe, what we're saying to, motivate, them to change to, educate, them one. Type of evidence we can use is data, we. Use lots, and lots of data in our lives. When. You use data make. Sure you provide context, so that people understand. What it means but. Data is but one type of evidence you could use another. Type of evidence has to do with testimonies, third-party, voices, other people, advocating. Or supporting, what it is you say and then. Finally there's stories, examples, use cases these. To add value. Here's. The key you, must use variety. Among these, types most. Of us communicate using. The type that we are most comfortable with what we like if, I'm a data person when I communicate I use a lot of data if I'm a storyteller, I tell, lots of stories the problem, is my audience, isn't all like me so. I have to cast a wide net I have to use variety. In the support I use maybe, I give a testimony, and give some data maybe, I put both the testimony, and the data in a story this, helps, my audience, understand, and remember my points use. Variety. To, help you support, your points. We. Also have to think about variety in terms, of the images, and visuals, we use you'll. Notice that many of my visuals, are, referring. To children's, play or toys and they, vary the, idea is to keep the audience engaged if, all, you show people is bullet, point after bullet, point after bullet point they, will habituate. Remember. Bullet skill don't. Kill, your audience, with bullet points use. Images. Now. Variation. Is important. But so too is relevance. You. Must make sure that your content, is meaningful, and relevant to your audience, that. Means we have to do some reconnaissance and, reflection, about who's in the, who's, listening to my communication, who's reading my messages, and we, must tailor, our messages to their needs. While. Some of you will get upset to hear me say this you. Need to change and, adapt, your communication. Audience. By, audience, time, by. Time does, that mean more work for you yes. But. Does it mean that the, impact, and the relevance, your message will have will be greater yes. And that's why we do it, so. We need to tailor our audience, our. Messages, for our audience in several factors one we have to first think about their knowledge what do they know about what we're speaking on, we. Don't want to come in too high level we don't want to get too deep we need to meet our audience where they're at so you have to think about that you have to do some reflection. You, have to ask people who are in the audience talk to people who have spoken to this audience before and, ask. What's, their knowledge level you. Must also think about their expectations, what, is it they expect, from you and, then. Choose to either conform, to those expectations or, perhaps, deviate. From them, and, then. Finally, you. Need to understand, what are your audience's attitudes, are they in favor of what you're suggesting, are, they agnostic, or perhaps hesitant. Or resistant, and with. This information we can craft our messages, and hone, them to, be more relevant and memorable, I want. To give you an example, let's. Say you are presenting, to an audience that you know is a bit hesitant or resistant, to what you're advocating for. That. Is valuable. Information I. Might. Change the way I structure, a message, based on it so. You know that problem/solution, benefit structure we talked about if. I have a hesitant. Or resistant audience it might be in my best interest, to move, the benefits, to be the first part, start. By talking about the, benefits. Imagine. What it would be like if we could or what if it was possible, to get. Your audience to agree to that imagined, future and that, reduces. Their resistance, you. Then say what's in the way is this particular, problem and here's how we solve it now. I certainly can't guarantee that all resistance, and hesitation will disappear, but. I can suggest. That by starting with the benefits you put yourself in a better position so. Understanding. Your audience their, knowledge their expectations. Their attitudes, can, influence, and should influence the way you communicate, so. That your audience will receive your message better. And remember it longer. It's. Not enough just to tailor our message we also have to make it engaging and, I'd like to suggest some ways that we can get physical engagement, as well as mental, engagement.
Physical. The engagement, is to have your audience do something, you, could pose a question. Rhetorical. Or a polling question you, can show a video, provide. A schematic, if you're, in the virtual world have, them go to an external website have them type something into the chat get. Your audience, involved. By having them do something they are more likely to engage with the content which we know, increases. The likelihood of their remembering. But. Physical, engagement is not enough you also need mental engagement, and there are lots of ways to do that I already, alluded to one use the word imagine. Or what if or picture, this we. Know from research done, two. Doors down, that. This engages areas. Of the brain associated with attention, and retention. So. If I can ask you to imagine or picture this in your mind you're, actually seeing it which, will help you remember it, similarly. Use analogies. Analogies. Connect what people know to what they don't know this also makes it stick I talked. About structuring. A presentation, is like giving a tour that's an analogy. By. Engaging our audience physically, and mentally they, are much more likely to remember what we're saying and, have. A good time while you're communicating, with them. Finally. We must leverage, emotion. We, have known for millennia, that emotion. Is powerful. And engages. People and helps them remember, so. We need to find ways to leverage, emotion. In what we say. Part. Of that is how we say it bring. Emotion. To your messages, you, it's congruent, and appropriate. Show. That you have passion show, that you have interest a. Wonderful. Technique that comes from the world of theater and acting if you. Are trying to convey something that you're very that you want to be exciting. For your audience think, about a time you were excited. Right. Before you deliver that message by, getting yourself into that physical, emotion, you. Will deliver it more likely in that way. Now. Some of you are thinking I get it emotions important, but I talk. About things that don't have a lot of emotion, I talk about technology. Or science there's not a lot of emotion, there and, you might be right but. The. Consequences. In implications. And results, of that science and technology has. Potential. Emotion, if you're, saving trees saving time saving lives there's. Emotion, you can tap into. Take. The time to find a way to bring emotion, into, your communication. It will help the audience feel, something, and remember. So. We've talked about several. Factors, that help, make your communication, more memorable, we, talked about hygiene that's that preparation, we, talked about structure.
And Practice, we. Then talked about what you can do to help your audience in terms of variation, in relevance, and emotion, these. Are the levers that you have to. Pull to, make your. Communication, much. More memorable. Now. I want to see how. Memorable what we just did together is, for, you, so. I'm gonna ask you to think about one thing of value that. You learned today in our, time together and I. Want you to turn, to a different partner, somebody, perhaps who you didn't, work with last time and. I want you to explain that thing of value using. The, what so, what now what structure, so, you're going to tell your partner what the. Idea or tool. Or tactic, is you're, going to tell them why you think that is important, and you're, going to then tell them how you will, use it and then, your partner will do the same for you I want, to know what you're carrying out of here that will help your can. Be more memorable so, find another partner, pick one thing of value share. That value in the what so, what now what we often, don't spend time reflecting on, how we communicate, we, are so fixated on just getting it done and moving on that, we don't take time the. Only, way to get better at your communication. Is through three things. Repetition. Reflection. And feedback. You. Need to give yourself the reps you need to give yourself opportunities. To, communicate, and try new ways try, new structures, try varying your voice try new ways of practice. Second. You. Must reflect and think about what worked and what, didn't work what's. That definition of insanity doing, the same thing over and over again expecting different results we, do that all the time in our communication. We. Need to think about what worked and what didn't I challenge. All of you who lead teams and other people at the end of your meetings or presentations, take 30 seconds, in debrief, what worked and what didn't work in terms of the communication not.
The Content, but, how we actually, communicate it that, sends a very powerful. Message to your team's the, communication. Matters, and then. Finally, we need feedback, find. Trusted, others friends, family co-workers who can give you honest feedback, use. Digital recording. As a tool to give yourself feedback that's. How we get better, there. Are also tools and resources available, to you and I encourage you to take advantage of them here. You see a website, that I curate, called no freaking, speaking. And this. Is a website that has lots of free content from, me and from others you could take advantage of. Stanford. Continuing. Studies is a hidden, gem that, this campus, provides, if you live in the local community, look, at the classes, they offer there are a tremendous number of business and communication, classes. They. Also have many virtual offerings, for those of you visiting us from far away you can take webinar, based classes, from, continuing, studies and then, finally. Toastmasters. An international. Organization, designed to help people feel, more comfortable and confident when they communicate take. Time, to. Find avenues. To learn and practice these skills. It. Is my hope that. You are leaving here today with some specific, tactics and techniques you, can use to help you be more memorable and your messages, to be more memorable when you communicate, before. I take your questions and I invite those questions, I have. Two questions for you did. You learn something today that you think can help you in your communication. Thanks. Did you have a little bit of fun then. I have done my job now. I would like to hear what questions, you have of me there's some microphones, in the back people, will get them to you they're coming we'll have here and then I've said over there yes. Sir. Thank. You very much Matt that was terrific um. Who. Is the. Greatest speaker, in your mind that's ever lived. That. Is an incredibly, hard question, oh just what first comes to your mom right are. You gonna ask me a question because you were quite blunt no no, no. I'm. Not I have. Been so. Moved in the last year. By. The teenagers. Who suffered, that great tragedy, in Florida. The. Shooting which was just absolutely. Horrific those. Young, people are among. Some of the most eloquent, speakers. I have heard and they're, not coached they're, not trained and in fact they have actively, not. Sought that out they've rejected those. Who want to help so, when, I look at people who have had an impact people whose messages, are memorable people who deploy some of the techniques we've talked about I look, to those teens in to me that, is so moving, thank. You for that question yeah please, over here I, was, gonna you you mentioned about talking, to an audience that's hostile, but what about an audience that. Just. Doesn't relate to you at all. Sometimes. I have talked to a group, of students of color and trying, to figure out exactly how, to say something that they're they open their minds to here and the, second question that may be related is what's, the role of humor, right, so. Let me take the second question first, humor. Is a wonderful, way to engage your audience if. You're, funny. Having. A shared laugh is a great, way to bring people together, it engages them, the problem, is humor, is tricky it's, not always funny it's culturally, sensitive. You. Have to be careful here. Are my two rules for humor, focus. Group your jokes if. You intend to use some humor talk to people who are like people who will be in the audience and ask, them is this funny and most, importantly, listen, to what they tell you. Second. Use, humor, about yourself. Self-deprecating. Humor, is the safest. Even. Though it might be tempting to talk about politics. Or, geo. Issues. Stay. Focused. On yourself it's much safer now, how do you relate to an audience, that. Can be hard a lot. Of it has to do with the work you do up front try to understand, what motivates, them what are the issues who, are the speakers they listen to are looking for what, what helps connect, and then. Engage. In dialogue, so it's not always about you talking, get, them to speak so some of the best ways to engage an audience that you. Feel is going to be disconnected, from you is to ask questions.
Have Them talk to each other become a facilitator rather. Than a presenter, or teacher and that's a way to build camaraderie build, trust and to break down some of those barriers. Microphones. Over here yes, thank. You, those. Thoughts. Are applicable, to different. Cultures. I mean, that stretchered, is, applicable for almost, I will I believe that. Much. Of what we've talked about today is very, relevant cross, culturally, clearly. There are some things you have to think about in terms of expectations, norms. Etc, to, factor into your communication. But, I do believe having, a clear goal having, a structure, will, help figuring. Out how to engage your audience, will help now that engagement, might differ by culture, but. Having, engagement, is critical so yes I believe at the highest level everything we've talked about today, spans. Culture, how that gets deployed and what that looks like we'll have to take the culture in context, into account for. Whereas. We've got some questions here and a microphone is coming, so. Great. For presentations. Yes, but often times we are at our age coaching. People so. How do you take that into a two minute synopsis, of how, you. Can use your skills because, I've seen conversations. Kind of explode, I can't even control it right, yeah so just whatever thoughts you have so, I believe, with practice. You, can get very effective, at quickly coming up with a goal for, the interaction you're about to have and then, use a structure, in coaching. Situations, where you're giving feedback, I think, the what's so what now what structure, is wonderful, what, becomes, the, issue or, the behavior. That you want to address so, what is why it is important, in the now what is the guidance that you believe, the person should undertake so. Having that structure can keep it tight keep it focused and make it memorable but, it takes practice to, be comfortable, doing that in a spontaneous way, so. You have to practice, doing, that, type of feedback. Several. Times before it becomes natural but I do believe coming, up with a goal and structuring, it can be very, very helpful for feedback as well, as answering questions, yes. Please yeah, the. Most important takeaway for me is that before. Communication. Preparation. Is, so important, but, preparation. Each time and usually. There's. Not enough time and, he also suggests. Us to have a good, sleep, and you know so. How. Can we you. Know trade. Off between I wish, and the secret to how we could all get more time in our lives. What. I suggest, is the more you practice this the more efficient, you become at it so, you can do things more quickly it.
Also Has to do with prioritization, many, of us think well I'm not going to sleep tonight because I'm gonna drill and drill this big presentation, I have to give in fact the research suggests getting a good night's sleep is far, better for you than repetitive. Practice well tired so. Part of it is is prioritizing. Based on. What you know it will be helpful and then the other part is just, becoming more efficient. At it the more effective and efficient you are that the quicker you can do it but, it is, a trade-off you have to have that initial investment I have, a very simple heuristic, I use if, I have a big presentation coming, up or meeting when, whatever that date is I take, the time between today and that date and I cut it in half and that first half is preparation. And that second half is practice, most. Of us sacrifice the, practice, piece we're, working on our content, up until the last minute because we think because I've worked on it I'm gonna be able to deliver it well and every, one of you who has ever done that knows that's not true so, I I just use that simple heuristic, and after you do that for a while it becomes easier, becomes, easier yes please I. Have. A comment and a question for, okay the first one is it. When I was in the Army I learned the, army way of communicating, which is tell them what you're gonna tell them tell. Them and tell, them what you told them and you followed that, almost. To the liver, well, thank you the, question, yes, do, you ever use the Gettysburg Address as an example of persuasive, communication. So. I use the Gettysburg, Address in my classes, in a different way there. Is and I'm I'm, not remembering, who did this but somebody took the Gettysburg, Address and created, a PowerPoint, for it, the. Whole speech there seven slides and, I. Use it to prove, a point that, message, is important, slides. Are less important.
There's. A bar chart for, score right, and I mean it's very funny but it proves a point and, you can you can all go search go search Gettysburg, Address as a PowerPoint, and you will see the seven slides so. I use it but I use it not as a persuasive. Tool though it is a very effective tool I use. It to prove the point that that we, need to have our story and message first, and then create slides if we rely too heavily on slides we we lose a, lot and that, that makes, that point very, very well other. Questions, yes. I I have a class. That I have to give in Galway, Ireland of Executive. MBA students. Yes and they're a wonderful, wonderful, group but you know what the Irish are like. And occasionally, I'm very friendly yes they, are that they're fantastic, especially after the class is over in my club haha that's. Right but occasionally. I have a student, or two that will start looking, at their mobile phone during my my. Piece which I suppose is partly, a criticism of me but the others don't so it isn't a total criticism, how, do you handle. Individuals. Or do you just ignore them who, appear. To be distracted. By something else. So. I always make the assumption, that when. People, are doing something distracting, like looking at their phone that there is a important. Reason that they're doing so so, I start from a place of compassion. Rather. Than, it. Would just hurt my ego too much to be thinking that I'm boring right, but. What I try to do is I try to engage. Non-verbally. If you're standing up you can move closer to the people who are, distracted, and and we've, all learned that as the voice gets louder we should pay attention, try. To bring them in asking, questions works well what, I have learned in the digital age that I teach in and all my students that haven't you know not just one but multiple devices, sometimes, you can actually enlist. The devices, and what you do so you can ask people go search on this or there, are tools that allow you to take polls through texting, so people text a certain number and that's a poll and you can actually show the data live so, rather, than fight the technology see, if there ways that you can leverage it, to help, you accomplish your goal and that, that will make you feel better and it'll actually lead to some very interesting interactions. Thank. You yes please oh you. Don't have a mic mic is coming. Kind. Of the company's culture when you're giving for, example uh the, founder of Trader Joe's Joe Colome said that in all his messaging he always wanted to have fun with the customer, as, you give these presentations. Do you take into account kind, of what drives the company and have that in your messaging absolutely. So I try to practice what I preach so when I go in and do some consulting with companies, all around the world I spend time trying. To understand the culture and the values and, I watch some of the senior leaders to see what they do and then I infuse, that in the advice that I give them and that, can be really important, it could also get me in trouble I went to one. Start up not too far from here and the executive, team had a tradition. Of. Cursing. In. Their presentations. And so so we had some interesting examples, in, the workshop I led but, understanding. What they do and how they do it is very important, for sure yes. Please a microphone is coming your way. Thank. You it was great I used my mobile for sharing, the slides to. The group oh thank you good reason thank you I I have to tell you this taking, pictures of slides is new and I never know where to stand I always feel like I'm photobombing, my materials, and, so so, I'm getting used to it but yes Nicholas, you're. Going to love your pictures excellent, my you look great yes, thank you look great. And. I'm blanking. Ask. Me a question no I know if I'm blanking on desking good question. So. I think. It was about what. Do you do is interrupt so, sometimes you're presenting, and you get asked questions. Yeah. How do you handle Samia is a choker yes and a perfect, interrupter. So what do you do what, do you do when something interrupts your flow so.
If You can ignore it ignore it if it's you know if it's somebody's cellphone going off or something of that nature ignore. It if, it's somebody interrupting. With a question, or some kind of comment what. I recommend, you do is you use paraphrasing. To take, something from what they're saying and then redirect so. If somebody's saying but what about this what about this you could say ah that's, an important, point I'm really, interested in and notice what I've just done I acknowledged. And then I move away I've signaled, I'm done with you, non-verbally. Here's. The challenge when you are in a situation where you were under under, some kind of interrupts or somebody's. Challenging, you you, have to balance being. Appropriate. Versus. Being rude to the individual, but also to the rest of the group if somebody is being distracting, and, interrupting. And disrupting, the. Rest of the room is feeling that tension, and very. Rarely will the rest of the room help you they're looking for you to deal with it and if, you don't. Then, your credibility is, affected. So you have to to, understand. That you need to manage that and manage it as politely as you can and I firmly, believe that paraphrasing. Taking. Something of value and then redirecting. Is the way to handle that I'm, going to take one more question to stay on time but I will stay afterwards and ask individual, questions is there a final. Question right. Over here thank you. Thank. You my. Question is how, do you change, track, in, a conversation. Or rather engaging, conversation. Especially when, you're, conversing. Statements. Is like one question after another but. Meanwhile, you're well aware, the. Conversation, is just going. Downward. Against. You're going to want it too right so how do you regard the conversation, and again I don't mean to sound repetitive. But I really think paraphrasing. Is a very polite tool for doing that so, acknowledge. That you hear what the person is saying oh I understand, what you're saying or I hear where that's going I'm curious, to know how so use it as a bridge so the paraphrase, acknowledges. And then, bridge to the direction that you wish to go I believe.
Paraphrasing. When. Paired with structure, and having a goal are the, three essential. Ingredients. To effective, communication those, are the bottom, line tools if you can create goals, structure. Your messages, and know how to paraphrase the. Content, it, can really help I would. Like simply to conclude. By saying thank. You each, of us has important. Ideas, and stories and messages to convey, we, must take the time to, make sure that, they are memorable for, us so, we can communicate them, clearly and memorable. For our audience, so they can take them with them with that. I hope you are taking away some memorable, ideas to help you be a more effective communicator thank. You very much.