With 4 days left of this year it’s time to devour our best-of list – guaranteed to boost your communication skills even more in ’23.
◉ Find the humor. Even during drama-filled situations – funny stuff happens. Use this material in your conversations/presentations.
◉ Ask questions. You will be forced to listen more and you’ll learn more than if you’re doing all the talking.
◉ Read more. Fiction or non-fiction – you’ll gain insights and become even more articulate. Even a trashy novel can provide examples of how to use dialog, plot development, what makes for a good or dumb story.
◉ Reflect on your positive communication experiences in ’22. You do a great job of remembering in exquisite detail when you think you’ve failed at running that meeting, or facilitating the board discussion, or giving a speech to your shareholders. Think back on when you rocked on your platform(s). Not only will this make you feel great – but it has a positive rollover effect on your future gigs.
◉ Write more. I began writing this weekly blog years ago – kicking and screaming. I did not want to add this task into my weekly regimen. Now I realize it’s been one of my best communication habits. Writing makes you a better communicator. I am forced to observe with purpose… all the time… constantly mining for good info and stories. My friends live in fear of when they’ll be quoted here!
🥂 🎉 Thank YOU for being blog post readers and happy / healthy new year! 🥂 🎉
Stuff happens… as a speaker, leader, and ranch owner. It’s all about damage control.
Jimmy, my Handsome Cowboy Husband, finds this snake last week at our ranch. Did I hear you say “amen” that I am NOT the discoverer? 😱
The best thing I never wanted
For over a decade this confirmed urban girl has loved our ranch, 100 miles west of Dallas, as a weekend getaway. I work with clients, do strategic retreats and hang out with family and friends. But that does not include snakes.
Where are your snakes?
Speaker snakebites & remedies
Technology: No matter how your computer, ppt, house sound, videos and mic work during your pre-show run, tech problems can bite you. In fact, one time someone stole my computer during a break.
Tech Remedies: 1) bring a backup on a thumb drive 2) be able to speak without ppt (often a better approach anyway) and 3) always appreciate and become buddies with your A/V team.
Logistics: Ever show up at the wrong hotel, wrong date, or even the wrong city for your gig? This all happened recently (!) but, fortunately, not to me. Virtually … Wi-Fi issues, lighting, and background distractions can rattle you.
Logistic Remedies: 1) double check all the logistic details 2) get to the venue early 3) do an online rehearsal for virtual events.
Current events: Ummm… the pandemic, for starters. Travel nightmares. Weather fluctuations.
Current events Remedies: Be flexible. Find the humor. Add in more time for travel.
Business leader snakebites & solutions: stay tuned for my next post.
What happened to the snake?
#HandsomeCowboyHusband saved the bull snake (not poisonous) and it’s back in our Garden of Eden. 🍎
He posted the snake pic on Facebook. It went viral. Many commented “OMG” with a variety of emojis. Best responses….
3rd place: “How about a new snakeskin purse?”
2nd place: “And that’s why you keep the lid down… always!”
THE WINNER, from Dr. Mark Mason: “WHAT HAS KAREN BEEN EATING?”
In order to communicate with power and presence as a speaker and business leader you must expect the unexpected.
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, TX and stays at Star Ranch on most weekends, where she will now always inspect the toilet first. 🐍
Thank you to Robin Sachs for this week’s blog inspiration.
Loved my outfit I wore last week when I gave my Einstein keynote in Portland… until I saw the side profile pics. You tell me… better yet, don’t tell me.
At another recent communication presentation I was asked, “What’re your tips on using humor?” Read on.
Why using humor is a good thing
A lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained.
Humor reduces tension and increases retention.
Everyone wants/needs to laugh.
Humor Do Not’s
Don’t use jokes. You will alienate someone. Jokes poke fun at a social group, a political party, a gender, a college, a religion… Not good.
Don’t use funny quips or cartoons you find online. First – the copyright issues. Second – NOT original. If you see this online then so did 10,000 others.
🙄 🙄 🙄
Your safest bet is to use material about yourself. Keep a log of your own crazy mishaps. Then figure out how to fold your own stories into material that can be relevant to your audience.
Humor = Tragedy + Time
What are you crying about today… that you will laugh about tomorrow? (Well, maybe not the very next day… but with the buffer of time.)
EX: I cried after I found out that I would need a bunch of chemo due to a breast cancer diagnosis 10 years ago. … Time went by. … Then I told my husband, “Jimmy – I’d always thought I’d sleep with someone bald, I just didn’t think it would be me.”
😬 😬 😬
Your Humor Challenge
Observe with purpose.
Find the funny stuff around you. Write it down. Keep a log.
Use these personal stories to support your content.
Ok – the pics from my Portland, Oregon keynote. I don’t think my butt looks big, but do I look fat? Don’t answer that question – it’s a lose – lose proposition.
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 just discovered that the spell checker on her Word software has been somehow reset for Brazil and it wants to change the spelling of this entire blog. You cannot make this stuff up! And it’s going to get used somewhere in Karen’s workshop tomorrow for a new client.
PS: Thank you to Linda Cohen, my friend & colleague, for attending my presentation in Portland, OR and taking these photos!
“Let me say something as an objective observer: It’s never OK to punch a comedian.” – Stephen Colbert.
Colbert refers here to Sunday’s big slap at the Oscars when Will Smith strode onstage out of anger at Chris Rock’s joke centered on Jada Pinkett Smith.
Your Checklist: How do you communicate anger in a productive way?
Vent to a trusted friend.
Yell … in an empty room – get it out.
Go exercise or take a walk.
Listen nonjudgmentally (hard to do).
Check your perspective.
Change the paradigm.
Don’t punch anyone.
How do you do damage control if anger has escalated?
Apologize with sincerity.
Ask for forgiveness.
Use humor, if possible.
Figure out the source of your frustration.
Understand that you are part of the problem and solution.
Anger can be a good thing
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anger can give you a way to express negative feelings or motivate you to find solutions to problems. But, the APA states, “excessive anger can cause problems”.
Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.
Back to the Oscars… “If you really want to hurt a comedian, don’t laugh. That hurts more than a punch, I promise you.” Stephen Colbert
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 got 18 out of 18 correct on her Oscar Ballot, co-created with Marvin Blum, her Oscar Ballot Partner for over 4 decades!!!
When Betty White was asked how she had managed to be universally beloved during her decades-spanning acting career, she summed up with a dimpled smile: “I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.”
Good communicators build relationships.
White became a role model for how to grow old joyously. “Don’t try to be young,” she told the AP. “Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won’t live long enough to find out about, but I’m still curious about them.”
Good communicators listen, ask questions and stay curious.
Laugh at Yourself
White’s character in “Hot In Cleveland” was only meant to appear in the pilot episode. She stole the show, became an integral part of the series, and was voted Entertainer of the Year by The Associated Press. “It’s ridiculous,” White said of the honor. “They haven’t caught on to me, and I hope they never do.”
Good communicators admit their own flaws.
Over her 60-year career Betty White won 8 Emmy Awards. She portrayed a man-crazy TV hostess on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, the loopy housemate on “The Golden Girls,” and an energy-sapped guy getting tackled in a football game aired as a Superbowl commercial. Those were just some of her most recognizable performances.
Good communicators maintain relevance by being adaptable.
Keep At It
About her early work, White recalled, “I did that show (a 1949 local Los Angeles daytime show starring Al Jarvis) 5½ hours a day, six days a week, for 4½ years.” There is no substitute for putting in the hours to enhance your skill set.
I just re-watched Betty White’s opening monologue for her Emmy-award winning turn as host of Saturday Night Live when she was 88 years old. She exudes charm, joy and humor. She makes this comedic 5 minutes look easy. But it isn’t. Underneath her outward presence all of the communication attributes mentioned above come into action. Her years of experience, timing, smile, self-deprecating humor, poise, eye contact, audience rapport = a master performance.
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 doesn’t have dimples; BUT she tries to get along with everyone. It’s just that simple.
Drum Roll…. This year Doritos 3D ad with #FlatthewMcConaughey wins.
Use this list of strategies for your next board presentation, zoom meeting or project review all modeled in this commercial.
Self-deprecating humor. Laugh at yourself – it makes you more approachable. We will then want to listen to you. Matthew makes fun of himself throughout this ad.
Good story arc. Many of the ads tried too hard and became disjointed. Our Doritos ad shares the conflict, the comical issues around being 2D (getting sucked by a Roomba), and a simple elegant solution.
Clear CTA. Eat Doritos 3D. The problem and solution relate, unlike in other commercials where you had to really search for the product relevance & Call to Action.
Logical support material. Jimmy Kimmel and Mindy Kaling belong in this ad. “Did you travel by fax?”, asks Kimmel as Kaling looks perplexed. Perfect. They move the story forward! Note, we liked the Will Ferrell ad and we are fans of Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson but what were they doing in this ad? Answer: Gratuitous celebrity placement.
Strong finish. Flatthew transforms to Matthew by eating a 3D dorito chip inside a vending machine. Cute dog barks at his smushed 3D owner. We laugh as Matthew declares, “Doritos. Now in 3D.”
Real takeaways for you – find the humor, move your story forward with logic, add good support material that makes sense and create a clear message/solution. Finally, don’t get stuck in a vending machine.
Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, #AlbertEinstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.
Want a customized Speak For Yourself® virtual workshop on how to communicate formally, informally, and electronically?