Matt Abrahams is a passionate, collaborative and innovative educator and coach who teaches Strategic Communication for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business
and Presentation Skills for Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program, and De Anza College. He has published research articles on cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. Matt is also Co-Founder of Bold Echo Communication Solutions
, which is an industry leading communication coaching consulting practice. Matt recently published Speaking Up Without Freaking Out
, a book written to help the millions of people who suffer from anxiety around speaking in public.
What is the number one problem for communications inside companies in your experience?
MA: The number one communication problem within companies is the sheer volume of it. There are so many channels of communication (phone, text, email, conference calls, chats, etc) that people are inundated with messages. Prioritizing and acting on this communication is hectic, sporadic, and at the worst, chaotic.
What is the number one problem for communications between companies and their clients?
MA: The number one issue between clients and companies is making the message stand out to get the client's attention. Clients have so many different internal and external messages coming at them, it is challenging to get the audience to pay attention.
How is the advent of digital workplace changing communications? What important trends do you see coming in, say, the next 5-10 years?
MA: Clearly digital communication has provided the opportunity for communication to be more timely, inclusive, and precise. The challenge is the amount of the communication and the noise. New tools in the next 5-10 years will help us prioritize and manage this communication more effectively. We are already seeing calendars that allow chat and collaborative messaging tools.
What are your favourite communication tools right now? Are there any that you feel are really underused or under appreciated?
MA: I appreciate tools that integrate multiple business functions. I highly leverage a calendaring tool that allows me to text, call and pull in emails.
Which communications skills do you believe aren’t affected by any upcoming changes in technology and therefore should be learned by any communication professional?
MA: Regardless of technological advancements, communicators need to learn to adapt their messages to the needs of their audience and context. Further, they need to learn how to structure messages to be relevant, compelling, and concise.
Which resources (blogs, books, videos, podcasts) do you recommend to our readers who want to learn to communicate effectively?
MA: Books, blogs, videos, podcasts, classes and Toastmasters are all very effective ways to learn and hone communication skills. Please check out my book
Thank you for the interview.