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Matt Abrahams of BoldEcho on Becoming Effective Communicators

| Podcast with Matt Abrahams Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 27 Followers on Jul 02, 2018 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke with Matt Abrahams of BoldEcho and Stanford Graduate School of Business on becoming effective communicators, especially around speaking in public.

Key Takeaways

  • Everyone has a story to tell
  • Make sure you understand who you are speaking to and what it is that you can do to help them
  • It’s important to structuring your message in such a way as to make it easy for your audience to understand
  • All communication should have a goal which has three parts - information, emotion and action (what, so what, now what)
  • Overcoming imposter syndrome – most audiences are there to learn, they want you to be successful
  • It takes bravery to admit that we’re not great communicators and start on a path of learning to improve

Sponsored by

Ocado Technology: This podcast is brought to you by Ocado Technology, a division of the Ocado Group. Ocado Technology builds the software and systems powering Ocado.com, the world's largest online-only grocery retailer. We’ve been disrupting the grocery industry for over fifteen years using the cloud, robotics, AI, and IoT. Find out more and check out career opportunities here.

  • 1:34 Matt’s book – Speaking Up Without Freaking Out 1:46
  • 2:04 It’s normal and natural to feel nervous in high-stakes speaking situations
  • 2:21 There are lots of techniques to manage the anxiety related to public speaking
  • 2:38 Examples of ways to cope with both symptoms and sources of anxiety
  • 3:25 Make sure you understand who you are speaking to and what it is that you can do to help them
  • 3:50 The importance of structuring your message in such a way as to make it easy for your audience to understand
  • 4:08 “Tell me the time, don’t build me the clock” – many technical people are clock builders
  • 4:29 Effective communication is about confidence, audience awareness and structure
  • 4:57 The Three C’s of communication – confidence, connectedness and being compelling
  • 5:07 Competence = confidence; the more confident you appear to your audience the more competent and credible they will see you as
  • 5:27 Lots of resources on the No Freaking Speaking website
  • 5:43 Connections come from knowing your audience and knowing your context
  • 6:01 All communication should have a goal.
  • 6:08 A goal has 3 parts - information, emotion and action
  • 6:21 Once you have a goal you can pick a structure to convey the message most effectively
  • 6:25 One structure is “what, so what, now what”?
  • 7:12 Overcoming imposter syndrome – most audiences are there to learn, they want you to be successful
  • 7:29 Know that there are things that you know that can provide value – that’s why you were asked to talk
  • 8:05 Focus on having a strong non-verbal presence – stance, voice pitch
  • 8:35 The audience wants to get something from the speaker, if you demonstrate confidence the audience will see you as confident and credible
  • 8:50 Exploring what context means in a speaking situation
  • 8:58 Shorter presentations are harder to structure
  • 9:10 Time of day makes a difference to the speaker and audience’s energy levels
  • 9:25 Understand where your talk fits in a sequence (where there are other talks as part of the communication event)
  • 10:00 Creating a communication event devoid of contextual awareness sets you up for failure
  • 10:47 Culture (national and organisational) is another contextual aspect to be aware of
  • 11:31 Leaders have a responsibility to model appropriate communications and mentor others into doing so
  • 11:48 Too often speakers are fixated on content and don’t think about audience context and culture
  • 11:55 Building these skills takes time and focus
  • 12:04 Building skills is about repetition, reflection and feedback
  • 12:23 Consider joining an organisation like ToastMasters to get practice opportunities
  • 12:43 Ensure you take time to reflect about how your talk went
  • 12:55 Try to build a culture of reflection and feedback – at the end of a meeting ask the participants for feedback on the quality of communication
  • 13:38 The importance of vocalising your practice – don’t just think what you will say, practice saying it out loud
  • 14:08 It takes bravery to admit that we’re not great communicators and start on a path of learning to improve

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About QCon

QCon is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams. QCon takes place 7 times per year in London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, Beijing & Shanghai. QCon San Francisco is at its 12th Edition and will take place Nov 5-9, 2018. 140+ expert practitioner speakers, 1300+ attendees and 18 tracks will cover topics driving the evolution of software development today. Visit to qconsf.com get more details.

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