New Rules for Work Labs

Master in-the-moment communication with Matt Abrahams

March 21, 2024 Season 1 Episode 6
New Rules for Work Labs
Master in-the-moment communication with Matt Abrahams
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We dive into the art of spontaneous speaking with our guest Matt Abrahams. We discuss the importance of preparing to be spontaneous in various speaking scenarios, including the crucial roles of managing anxiety, focusing on connecting with the audience rather than striving for perfection, and the significance of structure in communication. 

Matt is a leading communication expert, educator, and author at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, renowned for teaching strategic communication and effective virtual presenting. Recognized with Stanford GSB's Alumni Teaching Award, he's also a sought-after keynote speaker and consultant, assisting presenters globally, including those at IPO road shows and prestigious events like TED and the World Economic Forum. With millions of views on his online talks and an award-winning podcast, "Think Fast, Talk Smart," Abrahams empowers speakers with actionable skills, showcased in his latest book "Think Faster, Talk Smarter," and his previous bestseller "Speaking Up without Freaking Out."

Matt shares his experience working with a diverse range of professionals, from founders to lawyers, emphasizing that effective communication is vital in every field. 

The conversation also covers imaginative scenarios to illustrate real-world applications of Matt's strategies, from drafting a thoughtful LinkedIn comment to navigating unexpected encounters in professional settings. 

The discussion concludes with resources for improving communication skills and the value of practicing spontaneous speaking to excel in personal and professional life.

To learn more about and connect with Matt:
• His podcast: Think Fast, Talk Smart
• His website: mattabrahams.com
• His LinkedIn

Episode Resources
On YouTube


Producer: Podrick Sonicson

To learn more about New Rules for Work:
Website
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Event: 2024 Intent to Impact in Austin, TX

David:

Welcome to the new Rules for Work labs, where we're rewriting the rules of work. In our lab, we glean insights from the world's foremost minds, exploring leadership, team dynamics, creativity, artificial intelligence, and more. Join us as we dissect, analyze, and incubate ideas shaping the future workplace. Stick around to learn how we turn these insights into practical activities. Get ready for a journey into the future of work. This is the new Rules for Work Labs, where insights meet action.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Yeah, it's great to have you back. I think you don't officially have a podcast until you have to rerecord an episode due to a technical issue. And I think this is the first time that we have to do that.

Track 1:

Well, I am honored to be the first. I'm honored to be the first.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

How often have you had to do that, Matt?

Track 1:

Uh, we have, um, that's a great question. We have only had to redo one. We lost the file. Um, it just, it just didn't work. So it was bad.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

What, last time you, your first four minutes that we actually captured were brilliant.

Track 1:

of course, so set the, set the bar low, set the bar low.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

we, yeah,

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

so it, since it's been a while, since we've talked to you, your book's been out. Now, for several months, 80 some Goodreads reviews, uh, how are you feeling about the way that that's, that's all going?

Track 1:

Yeah. You know, so for me the assessment of success of the book is our people using it and finding value. And I hear from people that they are, so I feel really good about it. It's a, it's exciting and I hope people are getting the value that it can bring to them. And, uh, I, I, I love, I love talking about it and seeing that people are reading it and using it. So that's exciting.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

So we're coming off last night. I was just looking at some clips from the Oscars. I don't know if this is something that you're interested in or not, but there was, uh, um, John Cena, the wrestler actor did a bit where he was completely naked on stage, except for the envelope containing the winner of the award that he was about to give out. And this sounds like. This sounds like a nightmare, right? This sounds like the worst case scenario. Everybody dreads when they're about to give a talk or they're going to be put on the spot and here he is doing it.

Track 1:

Well, I, so I don't think everybody should be naked in front of people, but I certainly think, I certainly think you can learn to be better at it and you should. And I, and I think that, um, You know, it's, I, the, the book in, in the whole process of getting better at spontaneous speaking is a whole bunch of counterintuitive ideas. One is we can get better at it. Many of us feel like we're just born this way, either I've got the gift of gab or not. And then that you actually have to prepare to be spontaneous. And that seems counterintuitive, but, but we do it in many facets of our lives. If you're an athlete, you do lots of drills and prepare and then you go play the game, which is spontaneous. So yes, you can get better. I don't, you know, I think you have to do a lot of exercising before you'd feel comfortable being naked in front of people. But, uh, I

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Yeah, that's a lot. He, he does a lot of exercising. It was very clear

Track 1:

he does. He does. He does. When I watched those award shows, it's, it's really interesting because everybody has the opportunity to prepare, right? If you're nominated, there's a chance you could win. So you could prepare, but, uh, I I'm struck by the number of people that, that don't seem to prepare. For that. And, and as somebody who's interested in spontaneous speaking, I think it's, it's fascinating to watch what they do spontaneously. Uh, and often it's very emotional filled and that's very connective and interesting to watch. It's just one of these things where, you know, I'm all about do the best you can to prepare for the situations you'll be in. So I think if you, if you're nominated for an award, you should think about what you might say. Uh, I, I do understand superstition that, you know, if I really practice and prepare for it, maybe I won't get it. But, uh, I'd love to see these folks prepare just a little more,

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

so, Matt, I'm curious, um, I'm guessing that a lot of them didn't come to you for coaching. Who does? Who's the, who's the, um, who are the people who you really hope to connect with most that are, are calling you back and saying this thing changed my world.

Track 1:

Well, I hope everybody I work with has that experience of where that where's they, they take some value away from it. Um, so I, I don't have a target demographic really. I think everybody can get better at communicating. I certainly do a lot of work with founders of organizations, be they tech or. biotech or fintech, you know, so lots of founders who are pitching their idea for whatever idea, you know, for, for selling it for, for perhaps getting funding. But, but I work with a lot of people. I just did some work with a group of lawyers. I did some work with a group of sales people, some folks in the medical profession. You know, all of us have to speak in a planned or spontaneous way. And I am honored and happy to help anybody. Now I've been fortunate to help people who've had some rather high stakes presentations, but at the same time, I'm happy to work with anybody who needs some help honing and refining their communication.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

As you were talking through your list, um, the number of places where there are high stakes communication in there that are unplanned, right? The doctor who's got the patient coming in and they have to give the family. challenging news, right? Like there's, there are a lot of moments in there that are not necessarily, uh, folks who, who might be up for an award, would, would need to practice these skills, for sure. Oh,

Track 1:

is spontaneous. It doesn't happen in a planned way. It's introducing yourself, fixing a mistake. It's having to do small talk or give feedback, ask questions. So much of our communication is in the moment and, and the stakes are often

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

So what is something, and I come at this from a point, I was very, I remember freezing up on a presentation in high school I remember doing this in a marketing class in, uh, in college and giving a presentation. I remember doing this in one of my first days in grad school and just speaking in front of my cohort of 50 people and I, I don't know exactly how it happened other than just, I practiced it. You mentioned something that's counterintuitive that people can do to begin to get more comfortable with? Public speaking.

Track 1:

Yeah. So I think a few things. So in the book, I documented a six step methodology that I developed to actually help Stanford MBA students first. And it works for everybody. But a lot of it has to do with mindset. And then there's actually the messaging that you have to focus on. So we need to first address the fact that many of us get nervous when we speak in front of others. And so managing anxiety is critical. And that anxiety can happen as you're preparing for a plan presentation or can happen the moment So You, the, the spotlight turns on you in a meeting where somebody says, Hey, it's your turn to speak or what do you think about this? So having tools and, and, and ideas about how to manage your anxiety. Absolutely critical. We also have to disabuse ourselves of this notion of trying to do it right. The fact that we want to do it right gets in the way actually of us doing it well at all. So we need to focus rather on connecting with the audience, really delivering the message, being in service of them. Rather than trying to say it the right way, and if we can just do that, manage anxiety and reframe these circumstances around connection versus perfection, that can get us a long way, and there's several other things we can do to see these as opportunities versus threats. We have to listen better. That's a big counterintuitive notion that to speak better in the moment, you have to listen better so you can best understand how to respond the nuance of what's needed in the moment. And then there's a whole bunch we need to do around the messaging. That's really the second part of this. We have to leverage structure to give us a place to begin and end, and we have to use that structure among other things to help us be focused. Many of us, when we speak in the moment, take people on the journey of our discovery of what it is we're thinking about saying, rather than actually saying it in a clear and concise way. So a whole bunch of tools and steps that we can go through to help ourselves do better.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

So I saw last night on your LinkedIn profile that you made, you made a post about audience first. Why, why being audience centric is important and you say increases relevance, enhances, uh, comprehension builds connection and then, uh, their knowledge level on your topic, their attitudes towards your topic, their potential resistance point. I was struck by how many threes you're using

Track 1:

So I like this notion of comparing spontaneous speaking and plan speaking to slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. You need both to be successful, to move forward. Uh, but they're, they're, they're related. They're similar. They work in a similar way, but they're not exactly the same thing and, and to strengthen both is really important. So I'm using that analogy in these posts and, and I'm talking about what we do in the case of what you saw for audience, et cetera. And I do tend to present things in threes and I have done a little bit of poking around and. You know, there's, there's the rule of threes and everybody says three feels right. Uh, I don't know of any real good academic reason to say why three is better than two and four. Personally, I think four or five is too many. Uh, I, you know, I have a very simple rule. If I have to write something down, like going to the grocery store, anything over three, I have to write down. That's too hard for me. So let's keep it simple. But one or two just doesn't always seem like enough. So three feels right to me. And I do a lot in threes and a lot of the structures I teach people come in threes, problem, solution, benefit, comparison, contrast, conclusion, past, present, future. These are all based on three. Then now there's structures that certainly don't need three. Many, If your listeners are familiar with STAR, Situation, Task, Analysis, Results, that's four. Somebody taught me a structure for writing sermons, and I love this one. It's me, we, the, we, me. Uh, and I love it. That's five. a pyramid.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

a, Tabata

Track 1:

Yeah, yeah, sort of, sort of, but no, I, so, so, you know, I think structures in threes feel good. I, I, I, I like it. I don't know of any reason academically why three is better than two and four, but I do a lot in threes.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

I have to say, I recently did a program with a client on decision making frameworks you know, there, you know, there are dozens and dozens of decision making

Track 1:

Oh, yeah,

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

you try to try to teach six, they say, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. But if you were to only hand over two, they're like, well, wait a second, our life is so complex.

Track 1:

exactly.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

turns out three is magic.

Track 1:

Somehow, it's three feels like enough. I worked for a CEO once, and he would always, everything he said, every question he said, there are three things there. And I went to him, I said, are there always three things? And he said, yes, because he challenges himself always to do three, because he felt two wasn't full enough, and nobody could remember four. So, there's something to it

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

Based on the work we're doing with teams that are going through change. are going to scenario the shiznit out of

Track 1:

Okay. I am. I am ready to answer in three parts everything you say about it now.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

Excellent.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

So actually this is, this is, this is a new one. Um. And it's a little different. So, um, you stumble upon a viral LinkedIn post from an industry titan, who also happens to be a friend, sparking a heated debate on a topic close to your heart. Eager to contribute, you draft a response brimming with insights, but a gnawing fear of sounding foolish holds you back. You can practically feel the weight of your professional reputation hanging in the balance as you hover over the post. Button unsure whether to risk it all.

Track 1:

So for me in that circumstance, um, I, I, when I have situations where I have feedback to give, I often weigh what is the advantage of giving the feedback versus the disadvantage of not giving the feedback. And, and that helps me figure out where I think I need to fall on this. And some of the time now, this is this is a unique situation, but some of the times what motivates me to say things is not the person who is receiving what I'm saying, but those who see if I've responded or not. So, you know, if I'm a manager. And I have an employee who's doing something that's not ideal. Uh, there's an advantage and disadvantage to sharing with that employee, but there's also an advantage and disadvantage of not doing it relative to what the others see. So I often will use that as part of my calculus as well. So I'm, I'm looking at what's the advantage of doing it. What's the disadvantage of not doing it. And then. I'm also looking at what's the advantage and disadvantage for those who are watching my response or not. So, is there an expectation in your circumstance or your scenario where I should respond and not responding actually says something? And so, I would need to think through that. Now, what I would do to look at the messaging itself is I'd make sure is the message clear. Is it helpful and applicable to the audience, whoever that is, the target audience, and then I would read it out loud and probably wait a little bit of time before I send it out just to go back and check. I have, I have learned in my life that when I send things out too quickly and now review them with a little bit of distance that I am often editing them or saying I'm sorry. So those would be some of the things that I would factor into the calculus there.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

So yeah, a little different than on the spot, one to one communication where you can't really wait for an answer.

Track 1:

I am always probably optimizing for saying something, but I would like it to have some caution put in it. You know, I want to hear other people's opinions. I want to get insight. And so you are depriving people of that by being quiet. And so I just, I would challenge you to find a way of coming up Finding a way to comfortably share your thoughts. Maybe it's not sending the email or the post. Maybe it's just calling the person up or sending a text. But let's let the person hear your thoughts. Maya Angelou says, there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. And, and, and I think that can relate to exactly what, I mean, that we, we want to hear from people and, and for you to hold it in and then to regret not sending it or to worry about regretting sending it, that's a lot of angst. I would, I would. Do some review and then I would send it.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Maybe a more, well I think that's a relatable situation. Uh, maybe a more real time situation. Uh, so another scenario. And you, you, you mentioned this a little. A little earlier. Um, the team meeting ambles along as your boss concludes a seemingly endless 45 minute presentation, leaving you momentarily dazed by an information overload, just as you're about to mentally process the onslaught of data, your boss turns to you with a keen look and says, so what are your thoughts on this? Your brain races to organize a coherent response, desperately trying to recall key points while avoiding the awkward admission that you zoned out for a fraction of the presentation. As you begin to speak, you find yourself walking the fine line between offering constructive feedback and attempting not to sound like

Track 1:

these Sedaris. I still love these Sedaris. So first and foremost, this highlights the pressure that we put on ourselves to respond immediately. There, you can buy yourself time. So you can say things like, give me a moment to think about that. Or you can ask a clarifying question to get your, your boundary, uh, and your bearings, or you can paraphrase what you heard to buy some time. You could ask somebody else to share their thoughts if that's appropriate. So there's a lot you can do in that moment that doesn't mean I have to respond right away. Now that said, here is a perfect place for where we could use a structure. So I have a structure I love. I know Elise has heard me talk about this a lot, but it's what So what now? What? Three questions. What? So what now? What? So I'm going to the what is my position, my idea, my update, my feedback, whatever. It's what I'm saying. The so what is why I think it's important. And then now what is what I think comes next. So if I can take a moment to get my bearings and understand what the actual task I've been given is all about, then I can just share. Here's what I think. Here's why I think it's important. And here's what I think we should do or consider. Next. So having that structure, that road map can really help me in those moments where I'm like, Oh, my goodness, what do I say? How do I say it? Where do I start? You just answer those three questions. It assumes that you that what you're saying is relevant and important and in line with what was said before. And that's where buying that little bit of time can help you to get your bearing straight.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

What degree is faith Is confidence in here that like I'm going to come up with something that is relevant here and I'm not going to sound like an

Track 1:

And many of us are afraid of that. And we need to let go of that because that, that presumes that there is a right way to answer it. And there is no right way to communicate. There are better ways and worse ways. And, and there is a, a, a, there is a level of faith in taking that first step. But if you prepare yourself. And you have confidence in that preparation that leap of faith is less high off the ground than the leap of faith when you don't do that, you know, and so we often get in our own way. We often make these things bigger than they need to be. And you can simply diffuse that by one leveraging a structure, you know, You can't, it's hard to get lost if you have a map and a structure gives you a map. And if you do some preparations and drills and stockpile some things in advance, then you're in a pretty good shape when you have to take. that initial step. So I do think there's a lot we can do to help ourselves. Now, I borrow a lot from improvisation and the methodology and book and improv is all about show up in the moment, do what's needed, and if it doesn't go the way you want, That's okay. You can correct and adjust. I have this view of mistakes that I like to share with people. You know, many of us don't want to make mistakes, even though intuitively we understand that's how we learn. I like to look at mistakes as missed takes. You know, we were talking about the Oscars earlier, right? A film producer or director Does lots of different takes. Doesn't mean anyone take is wrong. It's just I want to see something different. So if something doesn't come out the way you want, literally like that clapboard, say take two and either say it again or use an example, tell a story, do something to get that point across in a different way. Just like an actor might stand or sit, might say it with a louder voice or softer voice. Just do a different take. And that can take a lot of the pressure off of ourselves because we don't want to make the mistake. So instead, just think I'm going to do different takes and that can be helpful.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

And there are directors who will come in and they'll, they'll, they'll get the shot that they want. And then they, they tell the actors, I got it. Like I got the one that we're going to use, but let's just go through it. I'm just going to run the film And it takes the pressure off them. And who

Track 1:

The director in that moment is having faith that the actors can do something more free and the actors in that moment feel more free and they are grateful for the faith that the directors put in them. So. You know, this notion of taking that leap is there, but there are things you can do to reduce the pressure it feels or has.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Next scenario, man. Um, oh, as you navigate the grocery store aisles engrossed in choosing the perfect avocado, you suddenly hear a familiar voice behind you, you turn around. And there stands your ex, also engrossed in the avocados, as if fate decided to make guacamole of your emotions. Awkward eye contact ensues, accompanied by an unintentional and equally awkward half smile from both parties. The tensions rise as you fumble to remember whether avocados are a fruit or a vegetable, desperately seeking distraction from the unexpected reunion. In a futile attempt to break the silence, you blurt out, And there you are, stuck in the produce section, contemplating life's

Track 1:

the, the, the salsa dilemma that this brings up. I, uh, I, I love these questions and this one, this one I vaguely remember. I remember the guacamole. Yes. The guacamole

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Yeah, I think it's because

Track 1:

Um,

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

of your emotions.

Track 1:

those moments, I, I like to, I like to be. I like to be interested. Um, I was very fortunate to interview a Rachel Greenwald on my podcast. Think fast, talk smart. Rachel is a fascinating woman. She is an academic and a professional matchmaker, and she's the first one to teach me this notion of be interested, not interesting. So in that moment, just ask a question. And ask a question to get conversation going. You you've got a great opportunity to, to start with just what's happening in the environment. I mean, if the whole awkward past relationship thing is too much to start with, you could literally say. Are avocados fruits or vegetables, right? And, and start there, or you could say, Hey, I see you have a new haircut or wow. I wonder what you're cooking for dinner tonight based on those ingredients in the cart. So I would start and diffuse the situation with, with just being curious and interested in what's going on around you and then see where that goes. And in essence, you know, in these moments like this, we feel like, again, we have to do it right. Like we're playing tennis and I have to ace the ball over the net. And that puts a lot of pressure on us and can put the other person in an awkward situation. Instead, see it like hacky sack. I just have to serve the little beanbag ball to you in a way that you can then return it to me so we keep things going. So I would diffuse that circumstance and then based on how you feel and what kind of response you get, if you get a spicy response or not, uh, then you can decide what the next step is. So, um, I think there's an opportunity there to make a great appetizer. And, uh, here's my little pun. If each person chips in, we can have a good conversation. have the sound effect, the womp womp there. So that's good. Yeah, that's good.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

That's good. That's good. It's been ruminating in the back of your

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

up

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

say you've forgotten, but I don't think you

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

like that

Track 1:

Well, I threw the salsa out there and I wasn't happy. So I put the pressure on myself. I did a take two. I didn't say that was bad. I just said take two. Let's try it again.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

That was good. I see.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

Oh, but I have one. My scenario is just a little bit more, more grounded in what I, What I've seen happen. I'm imagining you've got a student, maybe you've got two, right? Working there. It's at Stanford who hears what you've said and said, I am in fact going to practice I'm a brilliant engineering student. I work with other brilliant engineers. We are going to go out for our first job. We're going to land it. And then we are going to create our own companies. we know to be good at that. We have to practice, but we really don't have anybody to practice with. So. Given our brilliant engineering, what we're going to do is we're going to build robots. And we will have Matt Can you

Track 1:

I, we can hear the dog. Yeah.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

fabulous timing. That is not a problem I have most of the time and we can't hear it

Track 1:

It is us. You see, things come in threes.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

That's right. So, um, hold on a second. I'm going to go get my dog.

Track 1:

Right. Very cool. All right, Elise. The dog is muggled.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

The dog is muzzled. I had my wind roars showed up and they wouldn't just leave them at the door for reasons I know not. But, um,

Track 1:

All right. All right. So we have, we, I'm a robot or something's happening here.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

yeah, yeah. Okay. So you've got students, um, they are preparing for their career. They've taken your message. They've embraced it. And they are absolutely planning to practice on a weekly basis. To, uh, speak spontaneously well. And they want you to practice with them, but of course you're not available all the time. they've built, uh, an AI enabled robot filled with your wisdom. What are some of the first exercises you have them practicing?

Track 1:

I love that. Uh, and so in fact, we have uploaded, we've created a chat map where we've uploaded all the, um, transcripts. Yeah. All the transcripts from Think Fast, Talk Smart, and we're going to release it soon where people can actually do what you're talking about, where they ask their questions and they'll get the responses, uh, aggregated across all of our guests. So the very first prompt, I think they should type in. Is whatever the scenario or situation there's, so if they're planning on pitching an investor, for example, they should go into this chat bot and, and describe the, the investor and, and the type of, uh, product they have and have the AI generate questions that they could answer. I think AI is a great tool for helping you get outside of your head and think differently or take a different approach to some of these communication situations. So you can actually use AI to generate. Spontaneous speaking prompts. Have it create a question that you would answer. I would then also take the answers that are some of the key ideas that you think differentiate your product and have a I help you with different audiences saying, okay, one of our differentiators is speed and efficiency for an audience of product managers. How can I be thinking about or what terminology should I be using when I want to discuss? Efficiency for product managers versus efficiency for salespeople, whatever. As you well know, language matters. And if we can't speak the language of the people we're trying to influence or educate, that can be a barrier. So I think A. I. Could be a great tool for helping you hone your message as well as practicing being spontaneous. So I would encourage my students to do that. And in fact, that's the function I serve for them often when they meet with me in person.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

So I'm curious as they get farther along, um, some of these tools have developed where they've got cameras on them. They've got.

Track 1:

Yeah,

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

microphones on them, uh, and they could give feedback in real time. themselves in a situation where they're pitching and the audience wants to know, you know, we see how your tools are wonderful, but how is this going to work out for first time mothers and their grandparents? A situation where your young students have literally no way to relate to the audience. How do they answer these questions when they, they really have no clue?

Track 1:

well, so I would push back a little bit, at least because I think we've all been kids and we've all had some relationship with a parent. And so I do think we have ways of accessing some of the ideas And some of the concerns, and I think we can put it hypothetically, we can say, I can imagine a grandparent using our product might be interested in these things, uh, and I think that's a reasonable response. One, it demonstrates the perspective taking and two, it demonstrates that, that in the moment I can come up with an answer that's important, relevant, uh, and, and hopefully helpful. So I do think we, I think oftentimes we can put ourselves In some perspective, give ourselves some perspective and relay that even if it has to be hypothetical or subjunctive, if we were to do that, this is what we would think. Is that too

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

like the, I,

Track 1:

much of a politician answer for you?

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

no, I like the idea that you, you would say something like, I, I could imagine and then follow it up with some questions,

Track 1:

Yeah, absolutely.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

getting into that curiosity so you could hear the,

Track 1:

Exactly.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

And then after people talk themselves. Into why their idea is so great. Then you've sold your product and they did it for you. Yay.

Track 1:

That's exactly right. It's exactly right. It makes it much easier if they sell it to themselves.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

That's right. Dave, what was your last scenario?

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Well, I had, yeah, one, one last one. It's kind of a, um, it's a little bit of a trope, I suppose. You step into the elevator lost in thought about the upcoming meeting only to realize your CEO is already inside. Staring at the floor numbers with an unreadable expression, the sudden awareness of the corporate hierarchy hits in your torn between a respectful nod and pretending to be engrossed in the elevator music as the elevator ascends. You contemplate striking up a conversation about the weather. But the high rise office building eliminates any small talk about sunshine or rain. Your attempts to look occupied intensify, and you find yourself fixating on the digital display, praying for the elevator to move faster and whisk you away from this unexpected executive encounter. Finally, you muster the courage to

Track 1:

Well, I would, if I were in that situation and there were, there was music playing, I would try to, I would say air supply or hollow notes and see what he says, or she says, um, again, in those moments where you know, you never know if that moment is pivotal or not. I, there are so many people I know who out of happenstance and just plain coincidence have had fundamental changes in their lives, their careers. And you don't know if that's one of them. So I, again. be curious, highlight something in the moment, um, and see what happens and set the other person up to set the tone of the interaction. So, uh, I think highlighting something, uh, might be really interesting. Like it's, isn't it strange that we're only stopping on even floors this morning as we go up the elevator or, or, or just some observation and let the person respond. And, you know, I have been in those circumstances where I am the higher status person, or at least should be, or thought, you know, if you looked at it, you would say yes. And it's uncomfortable for that person too. So, so doing something to disarm the circumstance, make it just better, I think is a good step in the right direction. So I would do some, I would probably make some benign reference to something and, and move from there and then just follow suit with what, what comes back

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

That's a great point that there's this symmetry to the anxiety. To the awkwardness, right? Like it's, it's not just you. Uh, and I think your answer was exactly the same. The first time we recorded this, I, you mentioned music for sure. I don't know if air air supply was the example, but it was, which I think is pretty awesome, quite frankly.

Track 1:

There we go. I'm consistent. I'm internally consistent, which is unusual.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

And what's up with air supply?

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

for you or

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

who will travel to go see air supply sure what that's about, but apparently.

Track 1:

So I, uh, we, we, my wife and I did a, uh, we have this friend who got totally into this trivia competition. I mean, he was like totally into it. And, uh, he played a bunch of eighties music and we had to guess. I mean, we all knew the songs, but we couldn't remember the name of the song or the artist. And, uh, I, I was very proud of myself because I remembered Hall and Oates. And, um, but I did not remember air supply. So that was in my brain from this weekend.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

And that makes a, makes a great spontaneous conversation starter. You know, matter what. What group you're in. It's one of my favorite icebreakers with, um, with companies where they have, they're bringing the whole company some sort of event.

Track 1:

Yeah.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

and you get the CEO and the brand new intern and everybody in between in the same room and you mix them up and you ask them to interview each other about not only the work and all that, but who was your favorite band growing up?

Track 1:

Oh, yeah.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

And that question is just very disarming.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

Matt, where can people find you? Where can they find more?

Track 1:

It's been a true pleasure to chat with you both as I, as I knew it would be. And, uh, so I, I host a podcast. Think fast, talk smart. We have amazing guests, including Elise talking about how to make meetings better. Uh, mad abrahams. com. Great place to go for resources and connecting with me. And I, I use LinkedIn a lot. And if you're on LinkedIn, And I'd love to connect with you there. So three places, listen to the podcast. You can go to madabrahams. com. You'll see the book and other things. And then LinkedIn.

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

Roll a threes for the win.

Track 1:

Wheel of threes for the win. That's right.

david-mastronardi_1_03-11-2024_160611:

a, on a, threes.

Track 1:

Yeah,

elise-keith_1_03-11-2024_130611:

thank you so much, Matt.

David:

Thank you for joining us in the lab. We appreciate our guests for contributing to the thoughtful discussions on the future of work. A quick nod to Padraic, our behind the scenes maestro, for making each episode possible. If you've enjoyed the ideas we've explored today and want to put them into action, check out our companion newsletter at labs. newrulesforwork. com for the practical activities and additional resources. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback is the catalyst for our ongoing journey into the future of work. Thank you once again for joining us. We'll see you next time in the lab.

00:47 Welcome Back to the Podcast: The Joy and Pain of Re-recording
Celebrating the Success of the Book: Insights and Impact
From Oscars to Awkwardness: Learning from John Cena's Bold Move
Mastering Spontaneous Speaking: Strategies and Counterintuitive Tips
The Art of Preparation: How to Shine in Spontaneous Moments
The Magic Number Three: Structuring Your Message
Navigating High-Stakes Communication: From Boardrooms to Operating Rooms
Leveraging Structure and Improvisation for Success
Embracing Mistakes: A New Perspective
Navigating Awkward Encounters with Curiosity
Harnessing AI for Spontaneous Speaking Practice
Elevator Encounters: Turning Awkwardness into Opportunity
Connecting Through Music and Final Thoughts

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