Public Speaking Craziness – Handling Critical Fumbles

Public Speaking Craziness – Handling Critical Fumbles

Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in the first quarter of the Buffalo/Cincinnati “Monday Night Football” game. He suffered cardiac arrest and he is now (at time of posting) in critical condition.

Players knelt, cried and prayed. Fans stood up quietly and prayed. Sports commentators showed shock and emotion.

What struck my husband, Jimmy, and me as we watched this terrifying situation unfold:

  • Fact 1: This matchup is considered the biggest regular-season game in the 22-year history of Paycor Stadium.
  • Fumble Fact 1: Priorities can change in an instant.
  • Fact 2: Practice, preparation and performance create positive outcomes. These teams were ready to play.
  • Fumble Fact 2: Real-time trumps real-plans.
  • Fact 3: Two teams play a game and one team wins.
  • Fumble Fact 3: Rules change depending on situational context.

How this traumatic situation relates to you

As speakers and leaders you experience critical fumbles too.

Here are some crisis management guidelines when let’s say … a pandemic strikes, a tornado destroys your building, or an attendee at your meeting faints:

  1. Communicate with your team. All of a sudden the Bills and Bengals were no longer rivals. The coaches conferred. The players from both sides united.
  2. Listen. Get the facts as they unfold.
  3. Follow your mission/value statement. Take the action steps that you’ve already defined for your business.
  4. Have perspective and weigh the options. “Monday Night Football” postponed the game. Damar Hamlin’s health crisis became more important.

In business and life you play the game and you give the presentation you’ve prepared for.

And when those fumbles happen, you stop, prioritize, find perspective, communicate, listen and go in a different direction.

#Communication  #KarenCortellReisman  #SpeakForYourself   #CommunicationFumbles

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4 Crisis Communication Strategies

4 Crisis Communication Strategies

See pic explanation below.

You might recall last week’s post of a snake in our toilet at our ranch. 😱 This prompted my blog about dealing with the unexpected as a speaker.

Today’s focus: expecting the unexpected as a leader.

How do you, as business and nonprofit leaders, do damage control during a crisis?

4 Crisis Communication Strategies

1️⃣ Be timely. No communication when crisis hits the fan creates a huge vacuum that fills with fear, anger and confusion. You want to avert that mushrooming emotional effect by being accessible.

2️⃣ Be transparent. Share what you know and share what you don’t know. When my beloved mother suffered from what would become a terminal heart attack my sister and I sat in the waiting room for three weeks. As difficult as it was to hear, the medical community gave us their updates including the known and the unknown. We valued their clarity.

3️⃣ Be empathetic. Always, always, always. Try to understand the craziness from your team/board/department’s point of view. Communicate your concern for them and about them.

4️⃣ Be solution minded. Pet peeve: people who complain without any ideas on how to improve the situation. Don’t be one of those leaders. Bring your facts, context, and thoughts on how to handle your crisis.

🔢 THE PIC: Not to detract from the serious nature of many crises, this crisis happened because #HandsomeCowboyHusband had back surgery (a few years ago) that meant I had to clean the chicken coup. Pic key: bandana to ward off the fumes; gloves to handle the mess and my rhinestone necklace because … why not?

All I’m wearing is a shower cap

All I’m wearing is a shower cap

All I’m wearing is a shower cap.

I’m 8-years old practicing the piano in our living room, in this non-outfit, and my Mom snapped the photo.

You’ll never see this pic – I’m chubby… and, well, not too much is left to your imagination.

We’ve laughed about that photo (OK – it’s pretty cute) and it resides in a pre-digital-age photo album.

Now.

“You’ve never asked me why I’d be practicing the piano wearing just a shower cap,” I say to my sister, Nina, the other day.

“Here’s the context,” I continue. “I was preparing to take a bath. It takes a good five minutes for the water to fill the tub. Rather than watch water coming out of a faucet I realized I could make better use of my time.”

“Nina, I’ve been multi-tasking my whole life!”

Have you ever wondered how you manifest your strengths?

Candice Fitzpatrick, Founder & CEO, and Gary Rifkin, Chief Learning Officer of Core Clarity run a thriving business using the CliftonStrengths Assessment to help companies build teams that work towards its full potential.

I have participated in one of their excellent workshops and their assessment tool uncovered my top five strengths.

Guess what my very top strength is? MAXIMIZER! What a surprise. 🙄.

How is this relevant to you?

You are busy leaders communicating in a crazy world.

You can take this core strength test as well… or you can think back to fun or pivotal moments in your life that exemplify how you solve issues in your business, create momentum around your vision/goals, or work towards your next big success.

What are your top strengths and how are you using them in a positive way? And how might they be getting in your way?

Lessons contemplated

Candace and Gary, and their Core Clarity team, are all about celebrating, understanding and using your strengths to move forward.

And that’s what I’m contemplating now … I have maximized my time and resources, as Founder of Speak For Yourself®, and in my fabulous personal world as well… and life is good.

But, sometimes (OK, most of the time) I squeeze too much into each day. Even though I’m having a blast personally and professionally, it can be draining.

I’m still grabbing those “extra” five minutes. But at least I’m aware. Stay tuned.

Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate & sell. She lives in Dallas, Texas and promises not to practice the piano, just wearing a shower cap, going forward.

© 2022 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

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Dew of Life – Overcoming the Challenges of Chemo

Dew of Life – Overcoming the Challenges of Chemo

Karen Cortell Reisman in 2012

I’m ecstatic if I can help anyone going through a cancer journey.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month here is a re-print of a short speech I gave about overcoming the challenges of chemo … that has resonated with many.

Background

When my synagogue asked me to deliver a short sermon on Yom Kippur on finding spirituality in the oddest places, I immediately said “yes”. FYI – Yom Kippur is the Highest Holy Day in the Jewish religion. This sermonette was presented to 1000 congregants.

Sermonette

My oncology nurse, with a nasal-breathy-sweetsy voice – which is a bad combo on any day – said, “Karen, once you start chemo, you’ll be better. You’ll get into a rhythm and enter a calmer phase of your illness.”

Here’s what I wanted to say – or rather YELL –  in reply to Nurse Nasal/Breathy/Sweetsy, “Are you kidding me? Why don’t YOU sign up for chemo! You are crazy.”

Here’s what I actually said – or rather DID – just smiled, wanly. You don’t want to bite the hand that needles you.

But I felt like biting. And screaming. And cursing.

A bit of context here. At the start of 2012 I walked into a regular annual mammogram looking pretty good and feeling great. Nine months later – after one lumpectomy surgery, 16 weeks of chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments, and 101 doctor visits – I walked out of a bad-aqua blue treatment room bald, tired and puffy.

My one-sided conversation with Nurse Nasal/Breathy/Sweetsy occurred just after my successful surgery. She chirped, “Well, if you don’t have any questions, we’ll see you next week for Round One of chemo.”

I finally spoke up – too stunned to say much. “Ummm, can I drink a spot of scotch during these 4 months of treatment?”

“No,” she responded with noticeably less breathiness.

Then I began to cry.

Do you get the picture? I was NOT happy. With her. With my situation. With the realization that I might get chemo-brain/fogginess and rival Yul Brenner for hair bragging rights.

No hair, no control over my life and no scotch. And I wasn’t feeling too spiritual either.

Then I got a letter from Rabbi Debbie Robbins. She wrote, “Dear Karen, My thoughts are with you. Here’s a prayer, called The Dew of Life, which might help you as you go through this journey. You can recite this prayer when receiving chemotherapy. It’s adapted from the Annual Prayer for Dew recited on the 1st day of Passover.”

Who knew?

“Dear G-d —  the prayer begins —

Droplets of LIFE – flow gently mending the hurt in this body.”

Oh.  —  Chemo was not droplets of doom. Chemo was droplets of LIFE.

“Dear G-d —  the prayer continued –

Droplets of BLESSINGS – come gently fetching a year of goodness.

Droplets of DEW – heal gently, softening this hard place of blessing.”

I tucked this prayer into my “Cancer – Yes I Can” Calendar of endless appointment dates and notes – and it traveled with me throughout the rest of this journey.

As instructed, I recited the Dew of Life prayer at the hospital every time I got chemo.

And I transitioned.

No longer did I think of chemo with expletives preceding it. Chemo is/was the DEW OF LIFE.

As our Service of the Heart states, any place can become a holy place.

For me, Sammons Cancer Center Baylor Hospital during chemo treatments became a holy place. This prayer – soothed, supported and strengthened my reserve.

And speaking of cursing… Nurse Nasal/Breathy/Sweetsy was right and she really was lovely. My journey did calm down during that phase and I stand here, exactly one year later, feeling great and grateful.

I conclude here with the Dew Of Life Prayer conclusion, meant for all of us as we enter into our new year:

“Dear G-d –

Droplets of Dew – come for a blessing and not a curse,

Droplets of Dew – come for life and not for death,

Droplets of Dew – come bringing plenty and not emptiness.”

Amen

Karen’s Dedication

Today’s blog is written in memory of Susan Dedmon Miller

Karen’s Request

Be proactive. Get annual mammograms, PSA tests, whatever you need to stay on this side of good health. At one point in my journey a doctor said, “You’re a poster child for mammography.” When you think about it, who wants to be a poster child for anything? But I don’t mind being a poster child for you.

* Photograph taken by Sally Baskey, my roommate at our 2012 National Speakers Association Convention, just before donning my “badass” wig (according to my daughter). Thank you, Sally, for making me pose for this pic. Just remember, I let you use the blow dryer first.  Note: this is the ONLY pic taken – sans wig or scarf –  during this journey. 

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 is grateful to have a symmetrical head.

© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

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Recipe for Life, Death and Ground Fish Balls

Recipe for Life, Death and Ground Fish Balls

MY MOM’S GEFILTE FISH BALLS

You should never make Gefilte Fish Balls. Why?

  1. Your kitchen will reek of fish for one week.
  2. YOU will smell like fish for one week.
  3. Your refrigerator will smell like fish for two weeks.

But – you should read this recipe.

My mom was a great cook. The problem – she never taught me how to cook.

Every year for the Jewish High Holy Day, Rosh Hashanah, she made her famous Gefilte Fish Balls.

One time I watched her prepare the gefilte fish, against her wishes. She remarked, “I don’t know how I do it. I just put it all together. I can’t give you a real recipe”.

See approximate recipe below.

AS I GREW UP

Karen with her mom, Anne Cortell

We always had a large crowd for Rosh Hashanah. After I got married, I inherited the tradition and celebrated this High Holy Day – the Jewish New Year, at my home. At one time we peaked at around 45 people for this seated dinner.

Mom continued to prepare the fish. On the day of the dinner she would arrive at my door around 11am, honking her horn. I’d come outside and help bring in the 5 Pyrex dishes filled with The Balls. We would sit down, have 2 Balls with fresh Challah (bread) – a true highlight moment. I always knew the best part about this celebration was not the holiday itself, but the entire day spent with my Mom. We would set the tables, prepare other dishes, and spend time together.

I vividly recall her final Rosh Hashanah. According to her notes she brought the fish over on 9 – 8 – 1991, two days before her 72nd birthday. She honked her horn as usual. She came in saying, “Karrrren (she had a thick German accent), I’m tired. I don’t know why. I shouldn’t be, but I am.”

We had our typical fantastic day together and a lovely evening celebration. She had a fatal heart attack two months later.

A YEAR LATER

I took her copious log, called the grocery store and attempted to make The Balls. At the last minute Aunt Lorraine offered to help. (Aunt Lorraine was not a ‘real’ Aunt – she was my Mom’s best friend and a second mother to me. We just called everyone ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’.)

Out of deep sadness evolved a new rich tradition. From that year forward, Aunt Lorraine and I would prepare The Balls together. She had her pot – covering two burners, I had mine – covering the other two burners. She tossed in the same amount of seasoning as I.

She’d say, “Karen, I don’t get it! We’ve done the exact same thing, but your Balls always taste better”, which was an accurate assessment, in my humble opinion.

“Aunt Lorraine, I know why. My mom is watching over my pot, not yours.”

Then Aunt Lorraine was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and just ahead of Rosh Hashanah she said, “Karen, I won’t be able to prepare the gefilte fish this year.”

Her comment spoke volumes. What she was really saying was, “I can’t make the gefilte fish because I’m dying.”

Lessons learned about life, death & ground fish balls

With my mom – It wasn’t about The Balls. It was about love, tradition, celebration, Mom and daughter time and family.

With Aunt Lorraine – It wasn’t about The Balls. It was about finding ways to move from deep grief to new and special connections that help fill the void.

So – don’t make these Balls (refer back to top).

But – do make time for those you love. Create wonderful traditions in and out of the kitchen. Those memories – past, present, and future are delicious.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

Order from grocery store:

  • 2 pints of finely ground onions

Tell the guy to take fish (amounts below) and filet and grind twice. Once it’s ground you should have around 6 pounds of ground fish. Make sure he saves the carcass and skin – and gives to you. Have them remove the eyes. (!)

  • 3 pounds of buffalo fish
  • 4 pounds of trout
  • 4 pounds of whitefish
  • 8 carrots
  • A head of celery – use the very tops and the bottom part (I think my mom was saving the best part for other uses)
  • 5 sticks of margarine
  • 2 large onions, sliced (that’s in addition to the pre-ordered ground onions)
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 14 ounces matzo meal
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lawry salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Sugar
  • 2 packs of clear Knox gelatin
  • Couple of jars of red horseradish

DIRECTIONS

Place rinsed skeletons, heads, tails in bottom of a huge silver deep rectangular pan that will cover two of your burners on your stove. Throw away fish skin.

Add water – totally cover – about ¾ high in the huge pan.

Add all the carrots, celery tops and bottoms, margarine, sliced up onions.

Add:

  • 7 seconds of salt – from large container using the spout
  • 7 seconds of garlic salt – with open bottle (no sifter)
  • 5 seconds of Lawry salt – with open bottle (no sifter)
  • 4 seconds of sugar out of sack
  • 3.5 seconds of pepper

Put on two burners on stove on high till it boils. Cover and turn to simmer for around 40 minutes to an hour. While this is simmering, prepare the fish.

Put all the ground fish in large bowl.

Add:

  • 2 pounds finely ground onion
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 14 ounces of matzo meal
  • 6 seconds of salt (for all seasonings use same lid as above)
  • 4.5 seconds of pepper
  • 5 seconds of Lawry salt
  • 5 seconds of garlic salt
  • 4 seconds of sugar

Then…

  • Knead together and add 4 more cups of water
  • Use an ice cream scooper – dip scooper into heated fish broth first – then scoop out 2 balls. Fill the scooper but make it flat at the top (unlike today’s huge portion of ice cream at an ice cream shop, but that’s another story).
  • Put the scoops of fish into the fish broth. Turn the broth up to boil again and wait for the balls to float, turn white, and not fall apart. These are your test balls! IF they fall apart, add more matzo meal to your ground fish concoction.
  • Take your test balls out when ready and place in freezer. Go grab some coffee and wait a bit. Take the balls out of the freezer and eat them. Should taste delicious.
  • Now get busy: Put 16 balls at a time into the fish broth. Bring to a boil. Should take about 10 min. to cook – or until they’re really floating.

All of this: 114 balls (not an approximation) *

  • Once done: take all the fish bones and other ingredients out of the fish broth. Add in the gelatin. Save the cooked carrots and dice.
  • Pour the fish broth over the fish balls in their various glass Pyrex dishes. Cover and refrigerate.

SERVE THIS WAY

  • 2 balls/plate
  • One little slice of cooked carrot on top of each ball.
    • NOTE: Looks like The Balls are graduating from college.
  • Place some of the jelled fish broth on each plate.
  • Add a dab of horseradish to the side.

* While Mom never had a written recipe, she kept a log of each time she prepared Gefilte Fish. Her detailed notes of jelling challenges, added matzo meal, how many balls went where date back to the 1950’s. Some notes from her batch on 9-18-1990: “It made a total of 114 balls and I think it turned out very good! Indeed EXCELLENT AND IT JELLED!! Total of 81 balls for Karen, she had 11 left for her. 12 for Nina, 8 for me, 4 for Reisman, 8 for Kallenberg, 2 each for Ruth and Norma”.

Karen Cortell Reisman book on sellingKaren Cortell Reisman Speech BookAuthor: Karen Cortell Reisman is president of Speak For Yourself® and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and has finally learned how to cook.

© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

Did you know we offer a free 20-minute communication consultation?

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One Word You Never Want to Use

One Word You Never Want to Use

You use this word all the time.

You err every time you use this word.

This word causes problems for you and your business.

You have heard me write and say, “Our most favorite word is ‘trust’ and our least favorite word is ‘assume’”.

Never assume your audience remembers all that you say. Never assume your pitch resonates with everyone. Never even assume everyone receives your emails.

But making assumptions now goes deeper.

According to Dr. Shirley Davis, CSP, SHRM-SCP, assumptions lead to blind spots, and blind spots lead to unconscious bias… which has impact on the way you lead, communicate and make decisions.

Dr. Davis asks, “Which biases are yours?” She suggests these categories: Height, Name, Race, Personality, Appearance, Accent, Education, Skin Tone, Weight, Hand Dominance, Religion, Class, Sexual Orientation, or Age.

In all these categories you might have an unconscious opinion (negative or positive) developed early in life and strengthened over time.

Dr. Davis’ Strategies for Minimizing Implicit Bias

  • Acknowledge that we all have implicit biases.
  • Practice intellectual humility – “recognize you may be wrong, and be willing to turn some of your exclamation points into question marks.”
  • Become more culturally aware.
  • Expand your network and expose yourself to “others”.

As a leader in your business you make decisions that affect your team and company strategy. Watch for your assumptions – blind spots – unconscious biases. Communicate with mindfulness.

Source: www.drshirleydavis.com

Karen Cortell Reisman Speech BookKaren Cortell Reisman book on selling© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

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