Matt Abrahams

Lecturer, Organizational Behavior

Matt Abrahams

Lecturer in Organizational Behavior

Academic Area:

Bio

Matt Abrahams is a passionate, collaborative and innovative educator and coach. He has published research articles on strategic communication, cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication.

Matt published the third edition of his book Speaking Up Without Freaking Out, a book written to help the millions of people who suffer from anxiety around speaking in public. Additionally, Matt developed a software package that provides instant, proscriptive feedback to presenters. Prior to teaching, Matt held senior leadership positions in several leading software companies, where he created and ran global learning and development organizations.

Matt is also founder and principal at TFTS Communications LLC, a presentation and communication skills company based in Silicon Valley that helps people improve their presentation skills. Matt has worked with executives to help prepare and present keynote addresses and IPO road shows, conduct media interviews, and deliver TED talks.

Matt also hosts the Stanford GSB podcast called Think Fast Talk Smart: The Podcast. And, he curates the NoFreakingSpeaking.com website.

He is currently a member of the Management Communication Association (where he received a “Rising Star” award) as well as the National and Western States Communication Associations.

Matt received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Stanford and his graduate degree in communication studies from UC Davis.

Academic Degrees

  • MA, Communication, UC Davis, 1993
  • BA, Psychology, Stanford University, 1991

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Stanford GSB, 2011-present
  • Communication Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies, 2006-present
  • Professor Speech Communication, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, 2004-18
  • Business Psychology Professor, Palo Alto University, 2009-10

Professional Experience

  • Principal and Founder, TFTS Communication LLC, 2022-present
  • Principal and Co-Founder, Bold Echo Communication Solutions, 2010-2021
  • Vice President Worldwide Education, Openwave, 2000-01
  • Senior Director Worldwide Education, Ariba, 1996-99
  • Director Education, Vantive, 1995-98

Awards and Honors

  • Larsen Lam Family Lecturer for 2021–22
  • Circle of Excellence Award, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 2021
  • Robert K. Jaedicke Faculty Award, Stanford GSB, 2018

Publications

Books

Matt Abrahams
Simon & Schuster/Simon Element
September 26, 2023

Academic Publications

Matt Abrahams
Harvard Business Review
September 2023 Vol. 101 Issue 5 Pages 139–143
Matt Abrahams
Harvard Business Review
August 14, 2023
Matt Abrahams
Harvard Business Review
July 28, 2023

Teaching

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Transform your leadership, build community, and explore the complexities of showing up authentically in the Black Leaders Program.
Discover business growth strategies and build a stronger company designed to sustain progress, scale management, and facilitate market expansion.

Insights by Stanford Business

June 05, 2024
Dive into these thought-provoking, research-driven, and leadership-inspired podcast episodes.
May 29, 2024
In this episode, Amy Gallo shares how disagreements, if reframed, can lead to more productive outcomes.
May 21, 2024
In this episode, Ilya Strebulaev shares how a venture capitalist’s mindset can help us make better decisions.
May 17, 2024
Marketing and organizational behavior professors share how their recent research applies to communication.
May 09, 2024
In this podcast episode, Linda Hill shares how innovative teams communicate and collaborate their way to breakthrough.
April 23, 2024
In this podcast episode, David Melnikoff shares the secret to getting into the flow.
April 16, 2024
In this episode, Graham Weaver shares why being true to yourself enables you to show up better for others.
April 09, 2024
In this episode, Dana Carney shares the five nonverbal rules of power.
March 19, 2024
In this episode, Jeremy Utley and Kian Gohar explain how LLMs can help teams supercharge their problem-solving.
March 14, 2024
In this podcast episode, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg shares what it means to be a supercommunicator.
February 28, 2024
Professor Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao explains why resistance isn’t always a bad thing.
February 13, 2024
In this episode, David Brooks unpacks why listening is deep, creative work.
December 07, 2023
Communication. Power. Technology. Finance. This year’s podcast roundup has something for everyone.
December 05, 2023
In this episode, Dorie Clark shares strategies for building the personal brand you want and need.
November 28, 2023
In this podcast episode, Shane O’Mara explains how conversations are so much more than just words.
November 21, 2023
In this podcast episode, Matt Abrahams shares tips on how to master the art of chit-chat.
November 07, 2023
In this podcast episode, Julian Treasure shares how listening is where human understanding begins.
October 31, 2023
In this episode, Patrick McGinnis explains how to conquer one of our greatest fears: the fear of missing out.
October 10, 2023
In this episode, Todd Rogers tells communicators how to get to the point — before their audience checks out.
October 03, 2023
In this episode, Frances Frei shares why simple communication is the key to moving others to action.
September 26, 2023
In this podcast episode, improv experts share how good communication begins with simply taking action.
September 19, 2023
Stanford GSB lecturer Matt Abrahams shares practical advice for speaking spontaneously — in both your personal and professional life.
September 13, 2023
Matt Abrahams revisits the first-ever episode, featuring Dan Klein and Adam Tobin.
September 05, 2023
In this episode, Kim Scott shares the power of being both caring and challenging when giving feedback.
August 30, 2023
In this podcast episode, Katy Milkman shares how we can make our goals more achievable by making reaching them more enjoyable.
August 22, 2023
In this episode, Carmine Gallo shares how intentional, straightforward messaging helps you connect with others and get things done.
August 15, 2023
In this episode, Muriel Wilkins shares how the best communicators create a strong presence.
August 08, 2023
In this episode, Geoffrey Cohen shares how communication can help us find the connection we crave and need.
August 01, 2023
In this episode, Dan Lyons says it’s time we all zipped it.
July 18, 2023
In this episode, David Dodson shares how workplace feedback can be your company’s secret weapon.
July 11, 2023
In this episode, Anat Admati explains why we can’t build trust without a solid foundation of rules.
June 27, 2023
In this episode, Ashley Martin explains how ideas about gender affect our interactions.
June 20, 2023
In this episode, Vanessa Patrick shares how saying no empowers us to live the lives we want.
June 07, 2023
In this episode, Celine Teoh shares why deep connection with others starts by connecting more deeply with ourselves.
May 30, 2023
In this podcast episode, Dan Pink shares why we often over-index on risk.
May 23, 2023
Valerie Fridland explains the meaning we all ascribe to these words and how to use them more effectively in your communication.
May 09, 2023
Rachel Greenwald shares how to be a skilled conversationalist in work, love, and life.
April 25, 2023
In this episode, Gregory LaBlanc says it’s not about what you know — it’s about how well you can communicate it.
April 18, 2023
In this episode, BJ Fogg reveals the secret to building habits that stick.
April 05, 2023
In this bonus episode, Brian Lowery discusses his new book, Selfless: The Social Creation of You.
March 28, 2023
In this episode, the d.school’s Charlotte Burgess-Auburn explains the power of crafting your own personal manifesto.
March 21, 2023
In this episode, Nancy Duarte explains why the audience is the real hero of your presentation.
March 14, 2023
In this episode, Seema Yasmin explains what to do when we disagree about our deepest-held beliefs.
March 08, 2023
In this episode, Jonah Berger, PhD ’07, shares the secret to persuading others and getting your ideas to catch on.
February 28, 2023
In this episode, Professor Adina Sterling discusses how we can foster more diversity for healthier social networks and stronger high-performing teams.
February 15, 2023
In this episode, Matt Abrahams shares top takeaways from 75 episodes and answers listeners’ questions.
February 08, 2023
In this podcast episode, Matt Abrahams interviews an algorithm.
January 24, 2023
In this episode, psychology expert Bob Cialdini reveals the inner workings of social influence and persuasion.
January 12, 2023
In this podcast episode, Myra Strober and Abby Davisson share a framework to help us communicate professional goals with those we care about most.
December 16, 2022
Five lessons in five minutes: lecturer Matt Abrahams offers frameworks for successfully crafting your message.
December 06, 2022
Our favorite episodes from the past year delve into business topics from workplace communication and power to technology, finance, and economics.
December 06, 2022
In this episode, Alison Wood Brooks reveals the secret to having better conversations.
November 22, 2022
Professor Michele Gelfand shares communication strategies for getting more of what you want.
November 08, 2022
In this episode, Jesper Sørensen explores why organizational strategy can be both top-down and bottom-up.
October 25, 2022
In this episode, Jeremy Utley explains why good ideas are often preceded by not-so-good ideas.
October 11, 2022
In this episode, lecturer Kelly McGonigal shares how stress and anxiety can be used to enhance our communication.
September 28, 2022
In this episode, Dean Jon Levin shares his thoughts on the changing role of communication in business leadership.
September 13, 2022
In this episode, Michele Gelfand explains why social norms are the glue that keeps cultures together.
August 17, 2022
In this episode, Professor Glenn Carroll and his colleague Michael Arena discuss innovation in a hybrid work environment.
July 19, 2022
In this episode, we explore how economic concepts show up in everyday communication.
July 11, 2022
Here’s a list of shows to add to your summer listening.
June 22, 2022
In this episode, we dive into four different themes that will help your message stand out.
June 07, 2022
In this podcast episode, we discuss how being transparent is crucial to earning trust.
May 31, 2022
In this episode, we look at an essential ingredient of human behavior: motivation.
May 10, 2022
In this podcast episode, we look at the role of forgiveness in healthy communication.
April 28, 2022
In this episode, we discuss the importance of really hearing where others are coming from.
April 12, 2022
In this podcast episode, a veteran marketer and entrepreneur shares his approach to communicating for startup success.
March 29, 2022
In this podcast episode, we explore how design and communication both start with the same ingredient: empathy.
March 14, 2022
On this podcast episode, we discuss the keys to making ethical decisions in your professional and personal life.
March 01, 2022
In this podcast episode, we discuss the importance of not just knowing what your audience needs to hear, but how they need to hear it.
February 17, 2022
In this podcast episode, we discuss decision-making mistakes, and how to talk about them.
February 04, 2022
In this podcast episode, we discuss how to foster a sense of empathy and connection through storytelling.
January 19, 2022
In this podcast episode, we discuss the importance of communicating numbers so they pack a punch.
December 13, 2021
Here are some of our top picks from the Stanford GSB community’s podcasts in 2021.
December 13, 2021
In this bonus episode, we share lessons from the Stanford GSB class “Startup Garage” on hypotheses, narrative, and design thinking.
December 03, 2021
In this podcast episode, we share common mistakes that can stifle ideas and why managers should stay involved in the creative process.
November 18, 2021
In this podcast episode, we share strategies for surviving small talk as well as 10 of our favorite “recipes” from past guests.
November 11, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how lessons from the theater inform leadership styles and power dynamics at work.
October 28, 2021
In this podcast episode, psychologist Philip Zimbardo talks about “time perspective” and the lessons of the Stanford Prison Experiment.
October 19, 2021
Confidence and mindset can alleviate anxiety and improve almost any pitch or meeting.
October 05, 2021
Stanford lecturer shares tips to improve your next business pitch.
October 01, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how startups can build a product quickly and effectively.
September 16, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how you can channel stress to help your performance and relationships.
September 09, 2021
Members of the Stanford GSB faculty recommend some of their favorite programs.
September 02, 2021
In this podcast episode, we learn about ways to tap into our hardwired response to communication.
August 19, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss the effectiveness of communicating in a hybrid work environment.
August 05, 2021
In this podcast episode, we learn how communication is critical for every function inside of an organization.
July 15, 2021
In this podcast episode, we learn how to break down professional silos and hierarchies in teams.
June 25, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how to communicate effectively during a crisis.
June 03, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss the body language and word choices that can help you “power up” or “power down” your communication.
May 14, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss actions you can take to reduce speaking anxiety and achieve your communication goals.
April 23, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss best practices when inspiring young people to seize responsibility.
April 19, 2021
We’ve compiled top insights and advice from previous episodes to help you cultivate a compelling professional presence through the screen.
April 01, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how forms of “psychological distancing” can be used to build trust and encourage tolerance.
March 19, 2021
An interview with Zoom’s CEO. A crisis-leadership playbook. A podcast on virtual presentations. And a word on how to close shop gracefully.
March 12, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how asking strong questions helps you build trust and connect with your audience.
February 18, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how our behavior impacts our relationships and sharing our feelings can lead to more success as a leader.
January 28, 2021
In this podcast episode, we unpack the psychology behind our communication via social media.
January 11, 2021
In this episode, we discuss how to write simply, succinctly, and with relevance.
December 11, 2020
Cozy up and listen up to our top episodes from 2020.
December 04, 2020
Hint: it’s not just about what you want to say.
November 20, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how recognizing your audience’s emotional needs can help you achieve your communication goals.
November 19, 2020
We’ve gathered together the most memorable articles, interviews, podcasts, and videos from a year of world-changing events.
November 10, 2020
Political polarization may creep into the workplace. Here are some ways managers can become peacekeepers.
November 06, 2020
In this podcast episode, we explore how good leaders can self reflect and better communicate to advance social justice.
October 22, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how leaders can communicate effectively when their organization, brand, or reputation is under attack.
October 09, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how subtle word choice can invite inclusion, or can reinforce harmful stereotypes.
September 25, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how curiosity and storytelling can lead to more innovative online and in-person communication.
September 11, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how cultural values play an important role in how you communicate and how you perceive others’ communication.
August 28, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how to embrace failure and incorporate play into work.
August 14, 2020
In this episode, we address audience questions that range from how to handle interrupters to how to craft an authentic, clear email.
July 31, 2020
In this bonus episode, Stanford GSB lecturers share advice on how to position yourself when met with skepticism from your audience.
July 06, 2020
In this podcast episode, two experts discuss where leaders should and shouldn’t focus their attention when it comes to running group communication.
June 22, 2020
In this podcast episode, we dissect how to use humor to build bonds in business and in life.
June 08, 2020
On this podcast episode, we discuss how to harness power through non-verbal communication.
May 26, 2020
In this podcast episode, we discuss communication techniques that can help open people up to your ideas.
May 07, 2020
In this podcast episode, Matt Abrahams shares research-supported techniques for gaining confidence in high-stakes communication situations.
April 24, 2020
In this “Quick Thinks” podcast episode, Stanford improv experts share advice on getting out of our heads and into the moment at hand.
April 10, 2020
On this podcast episode, host Matt Abrahams speaks with Kenneth Romeo on specific tactics that non-native English speakers can use to handle in-the-moment challenges.
April 03, 2020
In this bonus episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, host Matt Abrahams shares a framework for structuring your comments during a meeting or presentation.
March 27, 2020
In this bonus episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart, host Matt Abrahams shares quick tips on communicating via screen.
March 12, 2020
Use these techniques when handling challenges and objections.
February 27, 2020
Implement these best practices before and after both high-stakes and everyday communication to improve your effectiveness.
February 14, 2020
In this podcast episode, we explore techniques for presenting complicated information so your audience can more easily understand.
January 31, 2020
Learn how to shape the way others see you through your verbal and nonverbal communication in this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart.
January 17, 2020
Stanford improv experts discuss the art of in-the-moment communication in this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart.
January 17, 2020
How do I communicate clearly when put on the spot? How can I easily convey complex information? How do I manage my reputation?
December 06, 2019
Communication mistakes, job-stealing robots, and career-gap explanations captured reader attention this year.
November 22, 2019
Public speaking can be extra challenging when you’re put on the spot.
August 19, 2019
Our experts’ tips on small changes that can make or break your next presentation.
May 03, 2019
Learn how to be more effective at your next meeting or presentation.
December 14, 2018
These three skills will help you grab and keep your audience’s attention.
December 06, 2018
How you present yourself on screen can make or break your credibility.
December 03, 2018
From tips for career satisfaction to an economist’s stint as an Uber driver, here are the stories that caught our readers’ attention.
July 30, 2018
Confidence equals competence. Learn how great leaders handle a crowd.
March 29, 2018
6 ways to communicate challenging concepts to an audience.
December 04, 2017
Readers keyed into humor’s workplace value, the secret to improving communication skills, and advice from Sheryl Sandberg and Marc Andreessen.
October 26, 2017
Use these tools to help you think fast and talk smart.
August 21, 2017
Stanford GSB professors suggest a reading list of articles and books related to the concept.
January 04, 2017
Want to provide better feedback, introduce people, or master small talk? Try this technique.
December 12, 2016
Long commute? Spend the time listening to these 10 Stanford Business stories.
September 26, 2016
What to know before you go live.
April 04, 2016
Key takeaways from analyzing 100,000 presentations.
January 29, 2016
Do you get nervous speaking in public? Learn how to mitigate your fear.
December 19, 2015
Explore Stanford Business stories from 2015, including pieces on technology, finance, and work-life balance.
September 03, 2015
Anyone with a novel idea, from an entrepreneur to a product marketer, should know how to handle a suspicious audience.
May 20, 2015
An expert on public speaking explains how online technology changes the way we communicate.
July 25, 2014
A Stanford GSB lecturer and expert on public speaking explains how you can become a more compelling and confident presenter by asking – not telling – in the right situations.
March 13, 2014
A Stanford lecturer and expert on public speaking explains how to ensure your audience remembers what they hear and see.
March 04, 2014
A Stanford lecturer and expert on public speaking explains what to do when memory fails.
February 26, 2014
A Stanford lecturer and expert on public speaking explains how to manage anxiety and deliver a smooth presentation.

School News

October 30, 2018
Five alumni and one faculty member recognized for contributions to Stanford GSB during annual reunion weekend.
December 13, 2012
C-suite leaders challenge MBA students to lead under pressure.