Matt Abrahams, leading expert in strategic communication with decades of experience as an educator, author, podcast host, and coach joined the Outthinkers Podcast to discuss the importance of audience-centric communication, the role of structure in effective messaging, and practical tips for improving your daily communication skills.
This summary provides a snapshot of key takeaways from the discussion, offering valuable insights for strategy and innovation-focused business executives.
Use Audience-centric Messaging
According to communication expert Matt Abrahams, the biggest mistake people make when communicating is starting with what they want to say, rather than what the audience needs to hear. An audience-centric approach makes content more relevant, helps the audience pay attention and take action, and reduces speaker anxiety. Focus on helping the audience achieve what’s important to them, not just getting through your own material.
Structure Your Message
Abrahams advises using logical structures like problem-solution-benefit to connect ideas meaningfully. Structures act like mental schematics to help audiences digest information. Break ideas into digestible chunks, which act like mental file folders. Chunking allows flexible rearranging of content and helps audiences remember what they hear first and last. Avoid standalone bullet points, which are difficult for brains to process.
Instead of creating a lot of slides, turn presentations into dialogues with questions and discussions. Prioritize the most important points in case you need to adapt on the fly.
Learn from Improv for Better Communication
Improv techniques like saying “yes and” build collaboration, foster active listening, and reframe mistakes as opportunities. Improv helps presenters prepare to be spontaneous by teaching presence, flexibility and comfort with uncertainty.
By focusing on relevance over rigid plans, listening actively, and conveying core messages clearly, leaders can connect authentically. Even thhough communication mediums constantly evolve, the ultimate goal remains building mutual understanding between speaker and audience. With preparation yet openness, we can communicate strategically in any situation.