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Compelling Communication

New for 2019-20! This two-session Compelling Communication workshop gives you the skills and practice you need for your next important presentation, such as a qualifying exam, conference presentation, research meeting, or job talk.

Learning Objectives

Session 1: Presentation Development

Most people forget half of what you say within one hour of hearing your presentation. When your message resonates with your audience in a well-organized way, it is far more likely to be remembered. You will learn the necessary steps for creating clear, memorable and compelling presentations. 

  • Understand your audience’s needs and the speaking context
  • Create a clear speaking goal
  • Determine how the content best meets the needs of the targeted audience and your speaking goal
  • Organize and structure your message to keep both you and your audience on track
  • Open and close your presentation in a compelling way

Session 2: Presentation Delivery

Knowing what to say is important, but if the message isn’t delivered effectively, you can quickly lose your audience and your credibility. By learning to your manage anxiety and use your body properly, you can confidently connect to your audience. You will learn the following skills:

  • Position your body and move purposefully to increase confidence and connection
  • Gesture for connection and enhancing message clarity
  • Use eye contact to connect and enhance your credibility
  • Pace the flow of information for message retention
  • Manage anxiety effectively so you present confidently

Program Description

Both 90-minute sessions are highly interactive and include practice via multiple hands-on activities. Participants should be actively working on a presentation that they can practice and receive feedback on during Session 2. These workshops will occur one week apart. Digital recording on your cellphones will be used as a tool to assess your nonverbal presence.  

Workshops are led by Matt Abrahams, lecturer in the Graduate School of Business and a passionate, collaborative and innovative educator and coach. He has published research articles on cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. Matt recently 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.

Read more about Matt on LinkedIn and at BoldEcho, his communications consulting firm.


Open to enrolled graduate students at any stage in any discipline or degree program. 

Space is limited. Due to the workshop's interactive format, full participation in both sessions is required.

If you are accepted to this workshop you must confirm your place by submitting a Student Participation Fee Agreement, which authorizes VPGE to charge $50 to your Stanford bill – only if you do not fully participate in the event. You will receive a link to the Agreement and instructions if you are offered a place.

Time Commitment: 
Learning Experience: 

Registration Process

Two-session Workshop: Mondays, Oct. 7 and 14, 4:45-6:15 PM.

Application is closed.

Past Events in this Program

October 14, 2019 - 4:45pm
October 7, 2019 - 4:45pm
September 29, 2019 (All day)