Nordic Leaders

48. Matt Abrahams and the secrets of communication: how to go from silence to brilliance

October 12, 2021 Matt Abrahams Season 4
Nordic Leaders
48. Matt Abrahams and the secrets of communication: how to go from silence to brilliance
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today's episode we are delighted to welcome Matt  Abrahams, communication expert and lecturer at Stanford University.
We will talk all things communication. The episode is packed with insights so please take a notepad and make sure to take notes.

We are going to explore:

  • How communication has changed during the pandemic
  • How to help our audience to be more engaged
  • How to make a great podcast even greater
  • The most important skills of a podcaster
  • The importance of authenticity in communication
  • How did Karate help Matt discover he was a great presenter
  • How to manage anxiety before a performance
  • What have learned from that pandemic that will stick with us
  • How to get diversity of thinking in a hybrid world 

At Stanford University Matt teaches two very popular classes in the strategic communication and effective virtual presenting

He's the host of the popular podcast "Think fast talk smart" where he explores tools and techniques to communicate more effectively.

He's the co-founder of Bold Echo communications which is a firm specialized in communication consulting, and presentation  training.

And also recently Matt published the third edition of his book "Speaking up without freaking out" a book written to help millions of people who wish to present in a more confident and compelling way.

Podcast episodes we mentioned during this episode:

Podcasts mentioned during this episode:

Note: The transcription is auto-generated, please refer to the audio if something doesn't click.

Stefano Mosconi: Welcome listeners to today's episode of Nordic Leaders podcast, our guest today is Matt Abrahams, welcome Matt 

Matt Abrahams: thank you. I'm excited to be here with you all. 

Stefano Mosconi:  Matt is a lecturer at Stanford university where he teaches two very popular classes in strategic communication, and effective virtual presenting, he's the host of the popular podcast: "Think fast talk smart", where he explores tools and techniques to communicate more effectively. He's the co-founder of Bold Echo communications., which is a firm specialized in communication consulting, and presentation training. And also, recently Matt published the third edition of his book "Speaking up without freaking out" a book written to help millions of people who wish to present in a more confident and compelling way. Great to have you here. 

Matt Abrahams: Thank you.

Stefano Mosconi:  Today, with me, we have the other two great co-host of the podcast. We have David Goddard. Welcome David. 

David Goddard: Thank you. I'm happy to be here. Nice to meet you Matt. 

Matt Abrahams: Nice to meet you, David. 

Stefano Mosconi: And then we also Nick Vertigans. Hello, Nick. 

Nick Vertigans: Hi, Stefano Hi gents 

Stefano Mosconi: let's go. And let's start the dances. We would like to turn the tables today. So usually, you are the host of a podcast, Matt. And, today we would like to have a spot as a guest. Are you ready? 

Matt Abrahams: I am ready. 

Stefano Mosconi: Fantastic. So, let's go on. of course, we are going to talk about communications and how communication affect leadership and a lot that where we know that you are, quite an expert.

The word has gone through a massive change during this pandemic so pretty much any interaction, with any other human being as happened online, there was work, there was calls, Christmas dinners, love story, breakups, everything happened online, and you study and teach communication.

So, the first thing we would like to ask you, can you tell us what has changed and what has stayed the same during the last two years? According to your experience? 

Matt Abrahams: you're absolutely right. There's been a dramatic shift, but this was a shift that was happening anyway. The pandemic just, expedited it for sure.

As companies became more global as, people had a need to reach others, at different times of day in different locations, virtual communication was certainly moving ahead. the things that are the same is when it comes to communication, you have to be clear. You have to be concise; you have to be compelling.

Matt Abrahams: The challenges become around engagement and presence. How do you  simulate an emulate being present with other people. How do you engage them to keep them focused? You have people in front of the most engaging technology humankind has ever created. And you're asking them to stay focused on one thing at one time.

And that's very hard. the fundamentals of communication have not changed the ways in which we appear and the way in which we engage have had to be.

Stefano Mosconi:  Thanks for that answer, Matt. how can we. Be more engaging and how can we help our audiences be more focused through the screen. I am guilty myself of doing a lot of multitasking while listening to people online, 

Matt Abrahams: I was keeping my eyes on you stay focused on me.

Stefano Mosconi: I was just taking notes. 

Matt Abrahams: Sure. 

Stefano Mosconi: but besides multitasking and taking notes. What can we do to help our audiences stay more focused and engaged? 

Matt Abrahams: to my mind, it starts with being connected and relevant to the audience. So, you really have to make sure you connect your material to what's important for them.

we pay attention to what we believe has value to us. and so, it's critical early on. In any communication to help people understand what you're saying is relevant to them and how they can benefit from what you're saying. so, you have to bring that upfront, more so than perhaps you would in person.

So, it's all about relevance and it's about also. Inviting the person to be in conversation with you. So, it has to do with the language that you use. So, for example, using inclusive language words like us, you, we bring people in. So, saying things like as or as you might be wondering, or as all of us has experienced that language draws people in, even if you're on screens.

Stefano Mosconi: Thanks. what about Nick and David? Any follow up questions? 

David Goddard: Oh, sure. Yeah. Thanks, Matt, for that. So, you said that you were ready to be in the guest chair today. How did you prepare yourself for this podcast to make sure that you're relevant to our audience? 

Matt Abrahams: So, I did a little bit of research on who your audience is and, about you all.

You also gave me some very good background before we started our conversation. So, I think about the things that I think are most important. So, I recommend that everybody, before they go into any meeting or any presentation where there'll be interaction to think about key ideas and themes that you want to get across, and then think about ways to support those ideas and themes.

So, I've thought about some things that I think will be important for your listeners important for the three of you. And I've thought about ways to get that information across. So that was the preparation that I did. You'll let me know if I did a good job or not. At some point, I hope.

Stefano Mosconi: We'll see by the end of the podcast.

Matt Abrahams: Okay, great. Excellent. you were saying about, having a common language and being relevant to the audience and maybe that needs to come up quite early on in your, delivery in your presentation, your message. So be valuable and think what's in it for them. What's in it for the audience. And indeed, just before we hit record today, you told, I thought it was very funny story about an experience that you've just been through recently.

Nick Vertigans: What was that? Could you remind me? 

Matt Abrahams: So, for the past two years pandemic time, I have been doing most of my teaching and most of my consulting virtually. one of my clients, a very good client invited me to fly across the United States to deliver a presentation in person. And it was the first time I'd done that.

I didn't realize how much I missed doing that. not the travel part, but actually being up in front of people and engaging them. The irony of all of this was that I flew. To present in person on best practices for communicating virtually. It was so important to this company to learn better virtual communication that they flew me in person to do it.

So, there was a little bit of irony there, but it went fantastically well, actually it 

Nick Vertigans: That's great, fly you across the whole north America to deliver it masterclass in virtual communication. So that was, so that was a, I think a very nice example actually. Yeah, kind of linking and connecting with your audience because we've Stefano David and I have all had to do something similar.

So instant connection, instant fun. what about podcasting? What, how, you know how literally the real question I want to ask it? how do we make this podcast? Good. What do we need to do? What do we need to think of? 

David Goddard: Apart  from bringing stellar  guests onto the program.

Matt Abrahams: Thanks. yes, that was going to be the number one answer. Yes. actually, I've listened, and you guys are doing quite a good job. podcasting from my experience and I am new at this too, is it's all about giving people information that's actionable and useful. that's, from my perspective, there are other types of podcasts that tell stories, et cetera.

That's not what I do. And that's not what you do, but it's really helping people to see some value. Providing people with insights that they might not have thought of on their own. And if you can do so in an engaging and entertaining way more power to you, there's some techniques that I try to use when I do my podcast and Nick, you actually did a great job just a few minutes ago of what I think is one of the most important skills in podcasting.

And that's paraphrasing, helping people understand the connection between what was said and what's coming next, reminding them of key takeaways. That's really important because we're packaging information up to be useful and being a voice for the audience and then packaging the information up in actionable chunks is what I think makes for good podcasting beyond having stellar guests.

Stefano Mosconi: Yeah, maybe one thing, which was, somebody told me, little story as well. last week, first time in two years, which I met real people, in a work setting and, and it was weird. It was really weird. I had; I was watching them around me. Then I'm not good at this social thing here.

I'm really not good at, and I was the only Italian among Finns and of course, Finns are a bit less social than Italians. So, it was all very weird that the whole thing it took a while for me to, to be again the same But, I met somebody who's only that I managed to be the same genuine Stefano that I am in person also virtually so that when I'm tired, I look tired. When I'm upset, I look upset when I'm happy. I look happy. There is no face that I put on just because I'm on a virtual setting. And it's both a good thing within that because. know me, even though they never met me, as I am so genuinity can be passed through the screen as well and I think it helps engaging people.

I don't know. What do you think about it? 

Matt Abrahams: yeah. So, I would call that authenticity and being authentic and being who you are, regardless of modality and channel, I think is really important. A lot of people have to give themselves permission to do that. We have this feeling that I'm in front of a camera and therefore I have to act or be something that I'm not.

And as you said, Stefano, it is really. More engaging and easier to connect to somebody who's just being themselves. But we have to give ourselves permission to do that. And that means maybe not saying it the best way that it could or having to repeat yourself or having to clarify. We're human and that's what we do.

So, giving yourself permission to do that and then soliciting feedback from others to help you understand if you're achieving that. David and Nick know you Stefano, and they can give you some feedback on, are you being the same Stefano on screen that we used to know in person when we saw you or not?

And that's important as well, but you have to be open. Feedback. A lot of us are so nervous and so anxious that to give ourselves permission or solicit feedback is really hard. So, I love authenticity being genuine is really important. 

Stefano Mosconi: Nick and David are big on feedback. So, with me

Nick Vertigans:   Stefano  you're doing it, you're really doing it. Really being yourself, Oscar Wilde he said: "be yourself, everyone else is already taken". And your you're very good. 

Matt Abrahams: So those books behind you, Nick, you've actually read a few!

David Goddard: Yeah, no, he's quoting me quoting , the usual way it goes.

But one thing that we have found with our guests is that humor helps. humor breaks some ice, and it doesn't have to be jokes or larking around, but just being good humored, that we find helps bring that authenticity out. Is that also something that, that comes into your classes? 

Matt Abrahams: So, I think humor is really important.

Storytelling is really important as well. Those are two great tools. I've been very fortunate on the podcast. I host the think fast talk smart podcast to interview, academics who study these things. And we did a whole episode. On the value of humor to two amazing people, Naomi Backdonas and Jennifer Aaker wrote this great book recently on humor and how to bring humor into the workplace as a way of connecting as a way of energizing.

And I've talked to several of my guests around storytelling and how storytelling is very tribal, and it connects you to people. It helps people feel a part of the information you're sharing. So absolutely there are tools you can leverage to foster that connect. 

David Goddard: So, we're getting some great tips already. thank you. So, using inclusive language, I really loved that one. And the us, we, you, that's super. And then, feedback, give yourself permission to be authentic. Storytelling humor. We can put the links to those two episodes that you just mentioned into our show. 

Matt Abrahams: Yeah, absolutely happy to do. Absolutely. 

Nick Vertigans: Matt, a question. when did you first realize that you a really good at presenting? 

Matt Abrahams:I don't know that I've ever realized that I just keep doing it and other people listen. my story, I have an origin story, not like a superhero, more like a super klutz, but, when I was a high school student, a first year of high school student, in my very first day, my English teacher.

Had us go around the room is often the case in the United States. I don't know if it's true elsewhere in the world. And on the first day of class, we're asked to tell a brief story about what we did during our summer holiday. And because my last name is Abrahams and we sat alphabetically. I went first.

This was the, my lot in life. And I told the story about, I don't even remember what the story was, but I told the story about our summer and after class, my English teacher, Mr. Meredith came up and said, "you're really good at this talking thing". those were his words. Exactly. And he said, I need you to go compete in a speech and debate tournament coming up this weekend.

I think each teacher had a quota of how many students they have to send. So, I got sent and of course being a 14-year-old boy, I did whatever my teacher said. And I showed up, I had prepared a speech on karate, the martial arts. It was something I did then I still do now. Very important to me. And I was there ready to go.

Unfortunately, as I was ready to start my speech, I was told to start with something that will get people's attention. So, I was going to start with a karate kick, but I was so nervous. I forgot to put on my karate pants, the ones that have extra room, And the first 10 seconds of a 10-minute presentation, I ripped my pants from belt buckle to zipper.

and I finished the presentation. Somehow. I mustered my way through it, and I actually won the tournament not because my speech was good. I think everybody took pity on me because of what happened. But what it did at that moment was it taught me several lessons. talk about a moment where you learn a lot.

Matt Abrahams: I learned one, the impact anxiety can have on people when they speak. And I've dedicated a lot of my life to researching and helping people feel more comfortable and confident speaking, but it also showed me that with gumption and grit and stick-to-itiveness, you can get through hard communication situations and in have a positive.

so, Nick, I don't know if that was the answer to the question you asked, but that's where I learned the power of communication. And ever since then, I've been fascinated by it, and I've studied it academically. I've coached it. I've taught it. I don't know that I'm an expert in it, but I'm definitely somebody who spends a lot of time thinking about it.

Nick Vertigans: I think you are an expert in that. so, Mr. Meredith, thank you to you, Mr. Meredith. 

Matt Abrahams: Mr. Meredith is long gone. He was a good English teacher, but, yes, very funny stories about.  Yeah, that's great. It's lovely that he spotted that talent at roughly age 14. and you mentioned karate as well, and I'm fascinated.

Nick Vertigans: I'm a big sports fan and I'm fascinated a lot by what happens just before you do something really good. So just before you step on stage to make a presentation, just before you step on the ice in a hockey game, football field, I wanted to ask you about what do you do to manage the mind, to manage the nerves or excitement, whatever you choose to do?

Matt Abrahams: Nick, you and I share a fascination. I am fascinated by what I call commencing the beginning of something I call it going from silence to brilliance as a speaker.

Matt Abrahams: What happens in that moment? I am absolutely fascinated by that, Nick, and you're right. It happens for musicians. It happens for athletes. It happens for communicators. What happens in that moment? And I'll share with you. What I do. but I want to beg you and all of your listeners to join me on a mission.

I must, must must. This is a life goal of mine, help people to stop starting presentations in meetings like this. "Hi, my name is, and today I'm going to tell you about". Oh, that is so boring. And by now, but 99% of our communication starts that way. So please. When it comes to starting in commencing, let's stop that, kill that, go to humor, go to stories, go to something.
Now let's return to our regularly scheduled program. the question you asked me was what do I do to start? so I believe in ritual, a ritual is very important, a ritual and routine, a routine, or the behaviors we do ritual, or the thoughts that we have very important.

Matt Abrahams: So, I'll share with you what I do before. Any big, major presentation or communication first and foremost. For my mind. I do two things. One, I focus on my goal. I go in saying, here's what I'm trying to do. And to me, a goal has three parts, information, emotion, and action. So, what do I want people to know?

How do I want them to feel and what do I want them to do? I say that second. The second thing I say to myself is I am in service of my audience. I am here. Because that gets me other focused rather than self-focused. And when I get so focused, I get nervous. I get anxious, self-doubt. So, I put my focus on the others physically, what do I do?

What are my routines? I take deep belly breaths. And what I learned by one from one of my guests who also has a podcast, his name is Andrew Huberman. he's a neuroscientist. He taught me that it's not the inhalation of breathing.

That's important. It's the exhalation. So, I take a deep breath in however long I take that breath for, I double the length of the exhale. And if you do those two or three times, it helps calm you down. The last thing I do, and this is going to sound silly, but it really helps me get present, oriented, and warm up my voice.

I say, tongue twister. If you say a tongue twister a couple times one, it helps you focus on the present moment because you cannot be distracted. So, it gets you present oriented, which helps in communication. And second, it warms up your voice. As you refer to Nick athletes warm up before they do something musicians warm up before they do something.

We as speakers rarely warm up, we just start, we go join meeting and start talking. You should warm up. So long-winded answer. I do things that are ritualistic for my mind. I do routines for my body and that's how I get ready. 

Nick Vertigans: What an answer!

Matt Abrahams: Sorry. 

David Goddard: How about you, Nick? How do you. What are you doing apart from not talking to me if we're doing something together? 

Nick Vertigans: Yeah. I need space and time and I need to do some exercise. So last week before a speech, I went swimming at a, had a sauna because I live in Finland. and I sat outside for a bit. and just, I took some deep breaths, got taxi to the event and it was, I was ready to go, and I was ready.

I really felt. So that really helps the breathing, I think, is really important, take an in-breath count to, 1, 3, 5 on the out-breath. I think that's really, really important. And just also picture visualize, I think, how do you want your audience to be, to be thinking and feeling and what do you want them to be doing at the end?

do you want them to be laughing, crying, smiling, talking to each other? But I think Matt  answers just fantastic. I've taken taking notes here. Really. I love 

Stefano Mosconi: by the way that is what's with and the other technique, which he suggested this also, I never tried, I tried the breathing one because I think it works perfectly with me, but the other one, the rapid eye movement left right left.

That was another one that I know. Have you ever tried to do that? 

I have, I get a little dizzy doing it.

Matt Abrahams: Would you, do you want to explain it or do you want me to explain  it?

 Andrew Huberman smart guy, and has his own podcast on many really interesting things. We talked about anxiety and anxiety management and breathing came up as part of it. But the other thing that we talked about was. Anxiety is an emotion which is designed to move you.

Matt Abrahams: It is designed to move you towards some things in a way from other things. And when, as humans we move. We our eyes move and scanned the area around us. And through that scanning, it gives us a phone sense of comfort and confidence because we're seeing the periphery, we're seeing what's around us. So, we're not going into the dark if you will.

So, some research not done by him, but by others that he cited by simply moving your eyes, laterally side to side, you're mimicking that innate evolved behavior to help you feel comfortable in times of anxiety so his claim is that if you move your eyes back and forth side to side, as if you were walking towards something or away for something, it will reduce your anxiety.

I have tried it, but again, I am somebody who gets very sensitive. So that technique is not a technique that works for me, but it works for many others. Stefano did I do a good job explaining fantastic.

Stefano Mosconi:  I haven't tried because I had the same problem that you have. I can't do it as quickly, or I will get dizzy, but the breathing one works perfectly for me. I've never heard the, I had one before last year.

Nick Vertigans: Nice. That's really nice. 

Matt Abrahams: I hadn't either. That's why you have to interview smart people. They tell you; they teach you smart things. 

Nick Vertigans: David you're smart. what tips do you have that we haven't already mentioned? 

David Goddard: thank you for asking Nick, since you happen to ask. I do have a couple. One is, somebody I learned a long time ago, which I was going to give a fairly early in my career.

 Big presentation. And I was really anxious beforehand, arrived a few minutes early and there was, a lady who was organizing this event and she asked me, basically what you're going to talk about today. And I chatted with her and then suddenly, always time to go on. And then when it went onstage, I just carried on.

 what I learned from that is that it, for me personally, it helps me. Just drive a little bit early, familiarize me with the venue and just talk to people. If there's somebody around that you can talk to, cause they're all human beings everybody wants you to do well. I think, so it just, that helped me carry on the eye movement thing.

I recently came across that with the English national rugby team. they train before the games, their eye movements to expand their field of vision so that when they're on the pitch, they see more and that helps them also be present in the moment with what's going on in the game rather than. worrying about their particular skill set at that moment, or some huge person bearing down on them.

they keep their eye on the big picture. 

Nick Vertigans: Good. One, good one, David, and thanks for that. 

 let's go back to the, what is the hybrid work or the discussion about what next? we spent now couple of years in this remote mode and, likely we will bring this with us quite long time. Most companies have adopted a hybrid work model or will adopt one, what do you think we have learned during this past two years that we can bring in the new normal when we moved to a mix of physical and remote.

I have a good friendship, with, a former neighbor of mine who runs a very large organization. part of, Logitech and Logitech are really, interested in behind a lot of powering these things. just the other day.

Matt Abrahams: We went for a walk to talk about, what, what are being called now, equitable meetings. And when I refer to equitable, diversity inclusion, equity and inclusion are absolutely critical, important issues for businesses. but in this case, equitable is referring to time being present in the meetings.

So, in other words, if let's imagine that David, Nick, and Stefano, you're all in the same room together, and that, that would be, I'm sure a very fun and scary room to be in, and I'm remote. It is very easy to lose. because you're physically present. You can be there, there are lots of cues and clues you're relying on.

So, I think one of the biggest lessons we learned from the pandemic is that we have to invite the remote people in. First, when everybody's remote, it's very different. But when you've got a few people who are remote, you have to include them. So, this notion of equitable meetings I think is really important.

So, this might mean, for example, if you're going through an agenda that the very first agenda item is delivered by the person or people who are. To remind everybody who's physically in the room that these folks are remote. And they're part of this. It might mean assigning somebody in the room, not as the facilitator of the meeting, but as the eyes and ears for the people who are remote.

So, the things that you couldn't see, for example, imagine that you're in a meeting and somebody brings in some cakes or some coffee, somebody might say, oh, these cakes look delicious and smells so good. they give that color commentary. So, the person who's not in. Feels as if they're part of the room.

so, I think those are the lessons that we need to think about. The other thing we have to think about, is how do we capture those accidental learning experiences that happen in person that we just don't have when we're remote and how do we codify it and include people who are remote.

Matt Abrahams: And that's a big challenge. I don't have an answer for that except to be aware of it. And. So I do think we took lessons from the pandemic, but we have to be really thinking about these equitable meetings for sure. we just have to change our mindset it's hard to remember people who aren't physically present, in the old days, if somebody was talking to somebody who wasn't in the room with them, we thought they were crazy. Now we call it work. And so, we have to figure out how to manage that.

David Goddard: thinking about the equitable meeting concept, you think that we're going in the right direction there? I noticed with some of my clients that there tends to be at the moment, an amplification. or exaggeration of things that were already there. Like you said, we've been doing this already for a long time, but some biases get amplified, like proximity bias and confirmation bias.

For example, seem to be ramped up. what sort of direction do you think we're going in with this concept of the equitable meeting? 

I think it's new. And I think there's some people who are, I know because of my practice and my teaching, that there are for some people, this is very new and novel and scary.

Matt Abrahams: And so, we have to get through that. I think that I think the model David, to answer your question is. When the pandemic initially hit and everybody went online, there was maybe two or three months of everybody fumbling their way through it, trying to figure it out. And then people came to a pretty steady state that might not have been perfect, but it was workable.

And I expect that the same thing will happen with hybrid. when folks go back to work in earnest. Now I know in Northern Europe where you all are, you're ahead of at least us in the United States. people are back and people. so, I think we have lessons to learn from what all you are. because the vast majority of large companies here in the states are not back, at least in Silicon Valley in California, where I am that's the case.

So, I do think there are lessons learned, but my hunch is that there's going to be a learning curve, a steep one, and then we'll come to some plateau where we can often get better, but it's workable with what we've got. And the other thing I'll say is I think people are going to self-select for careers, roles and jobs and companies that fit their comfort level of working in this hybrid way.

So, if there's a company that, that really does this well, and people need that, there might be a migration there. And if people are more comfortable in another way, they're going to self-select that. 

Stefano Mosconi: And in tech field, where there is, of course, the opportunity to choose the company that you work for more or less everywhere in the world. Of course, depending on the time zone, this is becoming quite the hot topic, that people would select, according to their needs and their wishes, what kind of company they work for. And there are jobs which are fully remote, partially remote, but let's just say, I think in the part of the world where we live, I can't remember the exact number, but already before. I think Finland already had something like 60% of telework, rate. And, and I remember when I was in Nokia, which was a global company, we used to have quite many. Let's say the remote hybrid meetings already 15 years ago. So not a lot of new stuff. And usually what, the only thing that really surprises me that when you have an audience, physically present and then somebody connected via, online, Tools then there has to be someone that tries to repeat the questions, which are not being heard or whispered to the audience, which is not locally present that already does a lot to help the remote audience feeling.

Matt Abrahams: Absolutely. Yeah. And those are great best practices and stuff that we all need to learn for sure. 

Stefano Mosconi: So, let's try to get a, to get towards the closing, of the podcast, talking about your podcast. What are the best three episodes that we should, listen and our listeners?

Matt Abrahams:  I'm not going to let you do that to me. the question its which of your kids do you love the most? Everyone has a favorite. I just, I am. I am going to forward to you three episodes that we've discussed today, talking, that we've mentioned about story, about humor, about anxiety management. the very first episode that we did was on spontaneous speaking, how to be better. In an impromptu extemporaneous situation. And I like that a lot because a lot of people don't think about that. People when it comes to communication, they think about formal planned communication. Yet the vast majority of our communication in our personal and professional lives is spontaneous.

Matt Abrahams: So not to say that's my favorite episode. It was the first and it was the first on purpose because it was such an important topic. How's that was a good cop out. I worked my way out of that one. Good one. Thank you. 

Stefano Mosconi: then, what other pods do you listen to? 

Matt Abrahams: so, the Andrew Huberman podcast is one that I really recommend a guy Kawasaki has a great podcast as well.

Matt Abrahams: And there's one called hidden brain, which I asked him. So those are three of my tops, podcasts that I listened to, besides yours and, and the one I do. Thank you. Yes. 

David Goddard: And last question. What would be your best tip to make sure that we get diversity of thinking in this hybrid world?

Matt Abrahams: Absolutely. So, a couple of. One, give people time to digest information, either after meetings or even before I assume you're familiar with the Amazon way where people don't give presentations, they give documents.

So, people come in and in the beginning of meetings, they actually read, and everybody gets synced up. I am giving people time to think helps people formulate a plan. putting people on the spot, is not a great way to do it as a professor. I hate doing cold calls where you just point at somebody and ask because it doesn't give them time to think.

So, you have to think to be able to formulate your opinion so that you can then have diverse opinions. Second, you need to set ground rules to allow people to feel comfortable. One of the biggest rules. For effectiveness and communication is psychological safety. People have to feel safe and comfortable sharing their opinions.

If they don't, then you're going to make worse decisions. and you're not going to benefit from people's diverse experience. And then finally, I'm a big fan of having an assigning and rotating a role of devil's advocate. Somebody who will question what a group is thinking and doing. If they're going down a path.

So, you actually forced diversity of opinion by having somebody whose role. To find flaw or poke holes in what people are saying. A lot of research says that actually helps make for better decisions. Now it can be frustrating for sure. But if the goal is to make best decisions possible, then having a devil's advocate and setting up psychological safety are critical to doing it.

David Goddard: Yeah. I'm,  I'm happy to take the devil's advocate role.

Matt Abrahams: I've noticed 

Stefano Mosconi: I was going to suggest that actually, maybe 

David Goddard: Nick can do the psychological safety and Stefano can do the thinking. 

Matt Abrahams:Thank you. Thank you, David. Thanks.

Nick Vertigans: Thank you so much, Matt. it was  really insightful. Thanks. I totally agree with David.

David Goddard: Thank you. Fantastic. Thanks for your time and enjoy. Enjoy your day. And I think Stefano has got a quote for us.

Stefano Mosconi: Yeah. Yeah. It because the discussion that Matt said before about the rituals and, and all of that brought to my mind, a quote from Aristotle, which is "we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit". so, I think it's, it's the quintessential beautiful, 

David Goddard: Matt, what's your rate, your guest  experience today?

Matt Abrahams: My overall experience was five stars out of, out of five. Individual ratings will be sent separately.

This was fun. I really enjoyed it. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks so much. you guys are a kick. I've never done one of these where I've had three people. It's great.

Matt Abrahams: How you guys play off each other. It's giving me some interesting ideas. it was great to get to know you guys. Thank you very much.

All the best. Have a good rest of your day

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