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Matthew Kohut

Co-Author of Compelling People
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    Matthew Kohut is a founding partner of KNP Communications and co-author of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential, one of Amazon’s 2013 “Best Books of the Year” in business and investing. Scientific American, American Express Open Forum, and 800CEORead also featured it on their 2013 “Bests of” lists. The book is required reading at Harvard Business School and is being taught both there and at Columbia’s Business School.

    Drawing on cutting-edge social science research as well as his own work with Fortune 500 executives, members of Congress, TED speakers, and Nobel Prize winners, Kohut reveals how we size each other up—and how we can learn to win the admiration, respect, and affection we desire. At the forefront of his field, he shares insights on strategies for “moving through the world” during funny, compelling presentations full of interactive exercises that include eye-opening body language examples.

    Be Compelling. Everyone wants to know how to be more influential, but most of us do not believe we can have the kind of magnetism or charisma that we associate with someone like Bill Clinton or Oprah Winfrey. In Compelling People, co-authors Matthew Kohut and John Neffinger show that this isn’t something we have to be born with—it’s something we can learn. Expanding on the themes in their co-authored Harvard Business Review cover story “Connect, Then Lead,” they trace the path to influence through a balance of strength (the root of respect) and warmth (the root of affection). Each seems simple, but only a relative few figure out the tricky task of projecting both at once.

    Acclaimed Expertise. Kohut has coached public figures for events ranging from live television appearances to TED talks, and has served as a speechwriter for CEOs and top executives in government and advocacy organizations. In addition to conducting communications trainings for clients in the government, private, and nonprofit sectors, he has served as a communications consultant to organizations including NASA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Harvard University. 

    He is also a fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College. He previously worked for the dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, serving as professor Joseph Nye’s principal speechwriter and researcher. Kohut holds a masters in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

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