You ask me, “Karen – how are you related to Albert Einstein?”
I ask you, “Do you have any cousins? If so, you may have cousins you don’t know, cousins you know and don’t like (!), or maybe even cousins that are dear friends. Think about that last category…”
Einstein and my grandmother Lina were cousins that enjoyed a lifelong friendship and their letters across time show their humor, mutual affection and positive outlook on life.
Thank you Linda Swindling for suggesting that I add this Einstein Corner to my posts and newsletters. From time to time I’ll share some of Einstein’s comments to Lina and my family that have relevance to you.
Late in Einstein’s life in a long letter to Lina he writes,
“About politics to be sure I still get dutifully angry but I do not bat with my wings anymore but ruffle only the feathers.”
No, I’m not focusing on how you, as a leader, communicate to your organization about politics.
The beauty of this quote revolves around the bird metaphor. In business, every day, you face challenges. Einstein gives you a guide on how to tackle the crazy stuff. And I’ll add one more option to his analogy.
You can “bat with your wings” – face an issue full throttle.
You can “ruffle only the feathers” – approach your situation with moderation.
OR you can “sit on your perch” – to think, strategize and visualize your outcome.
All three of these options work, and even a combination of these choices. It depends on your timing and situation.
Einstein closes every letter to my grandmother Lina with, “Heartfelt greetings”.
Heartfelt greetings to you, my blog readers, for your support of Speak For Yourself®.
This weekly Speak For Yourself® Blog Series is all about how to communicate on the stage, in your board rooms, on your virtual platforms, in meetings and on email. You’ve gained insights on the how’s, what’s and why’s.
But I’m not sure if we’ve ever unpacked how to get back your mojo after you’ve screwed up in any of the above communication scenarios.
How I could’ve answered Jill: “Jill – I’ve presented my Einstein keynote many times from La Jolla to Chicago to Montreal to Las Vegas to Jerusalem to Phoenix. It’s been well received, except to one crowd. It was at the Marriott World Congress Hotel in Orlando in 2010 on the main stage at our National Speakers Association Convention to 1,000 colleagues. Very Big Deal. Huge. NOT a place to fail. And … the speech did not resonate. It fell flat. And now, today’s dress rehearsal… it’s an updated version and many of the attendees in this upcoming zoom crowd were also at the 2010 Orlando speech.”
I decided that Jill and Barbara did not need to hear about my gremlins. BUT – maybe you do. Just maybe you’ve also had to face a group, again, after screwing up. How do you do it?
Some “How to get over your own gremlins” Advice
Admit when you’ve failed and figure out why it happened and how to recalibrate.
Talk to trusted friends/colleagues/mentors to gain insights; listen to their suggestions; and then embrace what works for you and gently lay aside what does not work for you.
Don’t give up. Sounds trite – but keep on keeping on.
Get better at your craft. Continue to grow. (I took improv classes, humor labs, kept speaking, consulting and writing, and I continue to attend almost every National Speakers Association meeting. Heck, I even became president of our own North TX Chapter of NSA!)
With this blog I officially let go of the negative influence of that Orlando speech. You heard it here!! I will only add it to my many experiences as a speaker and use it as a positive learning tool.
So, how did my current zoom presentation go? I’ll let Patricia Fripp, Speaker Hall of Fame, answer this question.
“Your presentation was nothing less than life changing. Your storytelling agility and emotional connect are as good as any speaker I have seen. As you know I am a 44-year member of NSA and listen to and study speakers. You receive the ‘Fripp 14’ out of a scale of 1-10. Feel free to use these comments to shamelessly promote yourself.”
Thanks, Fripp. I have! 😎
*Yes, I’m related to Albert Einstein and this keynote is all about hope, resilience and brassieres. You’ll just have to hear it. You’ll gain strategies on how to handle life’s craziness.
PS: And, thanks to Barbara, Jill, Robin, Ann, Jimmy, Nina, Judy, Harriet, Penni, Neal, Ilene, Caroline, Tasca, Derek, Blake, Heather, Brian, Andria, Izzy, and many more who have been my past dress rehearsal targets! It takes a village.
Author:Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself® , a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and cannot explain the Theory of Relativity.
Did you know we offer a free 20-minute communication consultation?
Many of you know that I’m related to that guy with the bad hair. And speaking about hair I often say, “The only DNA I inherited from Cousin Albert is his hair texture.” (Any photo you see of my coiffure is a product of product.)
Einstein and my grandmother, Lina, were not only cousins and close friends, they wrote letters to each other on a regular basis.
As you reach the better part of a year leading through a pandemic and as you head into the holiday season here is one lesson I’ve learned from Einstein that can assist you now.
Lina was handling significant change and she needed to (alarm… buzz word ahead) pivot. Einstein wrote, “Dearest Lina… one does not jump so easily out of deeply rooted habits, not even you.”
He’s right. Again! And we don’t even need a telescope or black holes to support this theory. It is not easy to jump out of deeply rooted habits.
The strategy step for you, and me: Think about your habits.
What have you changed during Covid that’s been a good thing?
What habits will you keep?
What habits have you gotten rid of?
What new habits will you create?
Send us your comments below.
Happy Thanksgiving for those blog readers who live in America and good luck to all of you as you continue to jump out of deeply rooted habits.
i24 News, an Israeli international 24-hour news and current affairs television program, interviewed me last week about personal stories regarding Albert Einstein, a family cousin. This particular show airs in French.
Good news: We pre-discussed the questions she would ask.
Cautionary news: During the taping, the host of the show remained unseen on my zoom screen and I was unprepared for this! YOU will see Valerie Perez, the bright and upbeat host and me on the video; but, during the taping, the screen just showed a black box with the name of someone else in that box! Try spotting my initial confusion.
5 Tips to Ace a TV or any type of Interview:
1. Know the time limit. 2. Get the questions ahead of time (this is so helpful and especially so with language translations going on for each question). 3. Ask the host, ahead of the event, what would make this interview of great value to them – and do what they want! 4. Get there early whether it’s virtual or in-person. 5. Do your homework on their format and their audience.
1 Mistake NOT to Make:
Find out the exact production parameters. Ask these type of questions ahead of time!
Take aways for you: do your homework on what you will be asked, provide value for them, and figure out how their production team will film the taping.
You’ll enjoy this interview if you speak and understand French! But do click on it to find out how to ace an interview (watch the host) and mistakes not to make (watch me… especially at the start).
Reporters at Hebrew University of Jerusalem press conference.
Last week, in Jerusalem, I spoke at the “EINSTEIN 140th BIRTHDAY PRESS CONFERENCE—In His Own Words: New Documents Revealed”.
Media coverage spread across the globe from Reuters to The Newcastle Herald—Australia to The Shanghai Daily to World Israel News to The Guardian—Nigeria.
These 106 various articles discussed the unveiling of new manuscript pages and personal letters composed by Albert Einstein purchased by Hebrew University of Jerusalem which was co-founded by the famous scientist.
Q: Why was I speaking at this press conference along with Hebrew University’s Archives’ Academic Director Professor Hanoch Gutfreund and Dr. Roni Grosz, curator of the Einstein Archives?!
A: As the granddaughter of Einstein’s cousin, Lina Kocherthaler, I shared personal experiences of growing up and being related to Einstein.
Q: What does this have to do with YOU?
A: Everything! You may or may not be giving international press conferences; but, you are a leader in your profession and my simple formula (easier to understand than Einstein’s!) shows how to be heard above the noisy market place.
Your Strategic Formula to Get Above the Noise:
Show Up. Speak Up. Follow Up.
Answering questions during our press conference.
Show Up – You and your organization need to show up – physically and digitally. The market place will not come to you. Network, attend your association gatherings, be a part of your space in person and online.
For me, I was invited to a dinner in Dallas honoring Einstein’s legacy about two years ago. I showed up.
Speak Up – Once you show up, you must speak up. Many of my C-Suite clients hire us to work on how to speak up effectively. It’s not that easy! Do you have the skill set to “say a few words about X” when asked? Mark Twain once said, “It takes me about two weeks to prepare for a good impromptu speech.” Be ready to talk about your services, brand, or latest initiative; with clarity and charisma.
At that Einstein event in Dallas, I was asked to “Say a few words about Einstein and my relation to him.” Thankfully, I was ready and I had a great time sharing just under 4 minutes of info and stories.
Follow Up – Once you’ve shown up and spoken up, it’s time to follow up. Next steps to getting heard above the noise won’t happen without you taking ownership of this endeavor. Follow up with an email, a personal thank you note, a phone call, a gift, a personal introduction to someone else that might benefit the other person/group, or a positive comment on social media.
After speaking at the Dallas event, follow up included emails with one of the attendees, Elan Divon, from Montreal. He then invited me to speak at a spectacular event hosted by the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University held in Montreal. After this exciting weekend in Canada I followed up with Hanoch (fellow speaker at last week’s press conference) who attended this Montreal event. You get the point. From that connection I was asked to speak at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
You might think that my family legacy guarantees getting heard above the noise. And, admittedly, this Einstein connection opens doors. BUT without using our Strategic Formula these doors would have closed.
Show up. Speak up. Follow up.
Ps: A special thank you to Elan Divon, Ram Semo, Hanoch Gutfreund and my new friends at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for asking me to speak and for being great hosts in Montreal and Jerusalem.