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Ready to Talk

A review of Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot by Matt Abrahams.


Fri Sep 01 2023


Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You're Put on the Spot

By Matt Abrahams


Simon & Schuster, 256 pp., $27.99

Most people have found themselves in situations where they have been called upon to speak without warning. Some individuals are very eloquent and sharp, even when they are feeling awkward, while others may have different and more unpleasant reactions. If you are part of the latter group, you are probably no stranger to the excessive sweating, heart palpitations, dry mouth, and knotted stomach that creeps up as you stumble to find your words. Wouldn't it be much easier if you had the time and foresight to prepare every communication in advance, always delivering well-rehearsed and flawless responses?

Unfortunately, because the majority of people's personal and professional interactions happen on the fly, we are not afforded the luxury of preparation. But with a little help from Think Faster, Talk Smarter, you can learn and master powerful strategies to improve your spontaneous communication in any environment. The author draws on decades of experience to provide clear steps and action items that readers can use when navigating feedback, Q&As, small talk, and so much more.

I have always humbly regarded myself as an expert in responding to situations where I am put on the spot. With more than 20 years of facilitation, public speaking, and stakeholder engagement experience, it's fair to say I have quite a lot of tricks in my bag. After reading this book, I came away with an entirely new arsenal of tools to manage those tricky but inevitable moments when I must be quick on my feet. I genuinely enjoyed the situational drills and activities that reinforce the skills and provide real-life scenarios.

Abrahams considers elements of both mental and physical reactions that occur when people must speak spontaneously and how they can prepare and overcome the fear of engaging. It's not just about reacting quickly, but also responding intelligently. It is a mindset and an intentional process to guide you through more effective impromptu interactions.


As I continue implementing the six techniques and applications Abrahams presents, I feel more confident in responding to tough interactions we all face in our day-to-day work and personal lives. Whether you are new to public speaking or a seasoned pro, Think Faster, Talk Smarter is full of strategies and tips to help improve your impromptu communications. Filled with meaningful examples of success stories and common pitfalls, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to be a savvier communicator.

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September 2023

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