3 little phrases with big impact

3 little phrases with big impact

“You have a superpower that you might not know about: the power to make another person glow,” reports Stephanie Harrison, happiness and well-being expert, in a study she conducted.

Her study finds that we underestimate how happy someone feels after recognition.

3 phrases that pack a positive punch

“You are making a difference.” 

Don’t think, “That’s cheesy.”

Do ask yourself, “How can I encourage others in micro or macro ways?”

Examples:

  • “Did you see how that team leader proudly walked out with a huge smile? You are making a difference.”
  • “The money you raised at our silent auction will help fund our museum awareness campaign. You are making a difference.”

“You inspire me.” 

Ask yourself, “Who has inspired me lately?”

Harrison provides this helpful script:

Start with:

  1. “You inspire me …”
  2. Then add the reason why: “… in the way you show up for your team…”
  3. Finally, share the impact it has had: “… and it’s made me think about how I can be more collaborative.”

Barbara Franklin’s Art Show

Example:

  • “Barbara, you inspire me. You’ve embraced your passion as an artist and now you’re exhibiting at art shows. It makes me think about how I can continue to sharpen and share my passion for speaking.”

“Tell me more about that.”

Disclaimer: It’s one of my favorite phrases that I’ve blogged about before. Saying these words make you a better listener which makes you a better communicator.

Harrison adds, “Being listened to helps people feel safe, supported and acknowledged. One thing that’s guaranteed to make someone’s day: asking them to tell you more about their interests, feelings and experiences.”

To create space for others to open up Harrison suggests:

  1. Find out what is important to them: “What do you do that’s meaningful to you?
  2. Ask them to elaborate on their experience: “What did it feel like when you heard you’d won the deal?”
  3. Invite them to go deeper: “Tell me more about how you interpreted that feedback.”

Double benefits

Emerging from the pandemic might create socially awkward moments. Use these phrases to ease your anxiety and increase your authentic conversational good will with others.

Harrison shows, “There’s a bonus in store for you: It doesn’t just make the other person glow; it ends up making you glow, too.”

It’s a win-win.

#communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #3SuperpowerPhrases

Your 7-step Thanksgiving Communication Playbook

Your 7-step Thanksgiving Communication Playbook

You’re about to celebrate the holiday season. That means you may be in conversation with your extended family for several days.
Potential landmines: You notice someone else (not you) is wearing a family heirloom you thought you were getting. You have a political divide at the table as deep as the turkey breast is dry. Your second cousin asks you for the fifth year why you aren’t married.

Your Speak For Yourself® Holiday Communication Playbook!

  1. Know the score. You know I preach that you must know the background of your audience BEFORE you get on stage, or do your pitch, or have your strategy meeting. Why is Family Time any different? Figure out ahead of time what the tough subjects might be, who will be at the event(s), what’s the pulse of the group.
  2. Don’t engage. That’s right. DON’T engage. Read #1. IF there are issues, and you cannot solve them, then don’t get involved. (I’ll try to adhere to this.)
  3. Listen. Always a winner! In business and in your personal life, listen more than you talk. (I’ll try to adhere to this…) Information talks, and wisdom listens.
  4. Ask questions. Going along with #3, the way you will strengthen your listening skills is to ask questions and really hear what your family members are saying. Let them do the talking.
  5. Empower others. Even when you want to kill that second cousin for commenting once again on your marital status, can you find something nice to say about them? You like their watch. You think they did a good job on the pecan pie. You love their kid. Find something to compliment! This works. It’s only manipulative if you’re lying. So don’t lie. But still find something to praise about the other.
  6. Drink scotch. Enough said. (But then don’t over do it & don’t drive.)
  7. Remember your own strengths. Give yourself a break. My mom, of blessed memory, always said, “Karen, know who you are and where you come from”. Enter into these gatherings knowing your own good stuff. That positive self-awareness is the perfect antidote for snarky crazy stuff.
Happy Holidays. I’m thankful for you.
#Communication #SpeakForYourself #KarenCortellReisman #HolidayCommunicationPlaybook
The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

I interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to suggest stopping for a moment.

You communicate 24/7. You’re presiding, presenting, selling at break-neck speed – to your team, prospects and customers.

Take a breath and ask, “What am I saying, or not saying, to those that are nearest and dearest to my heart?

The bench at the park speaks up

On a walk the other day I notice some freshly cut flowers in a vase attached to a bench. The bench itself has this inscription, “In Precious Memory of Marion Jackson.”

I peer into the vase with flowers and see this note, “Happy 67th anniversary – To Marion from J.L.”

Self-disclosure – I cry at weddings. I don’t even know J.L. or his beloved Marion, of blessed memory, and this note on this bench brings tears to my eyes.

Reminders to you

  • Stop the treadmill now and then.
  • Tell the people you love, admire and bring goodness into your life that you do love, admire and value them.
  • Use Marion and J.L. as models.

The rest of the bench inscription says, “Filled with Tender Mercies and Loving Kindness.”

I’m happy to stop, write on a more personal level, and honor some tender mercies and loving kindness amidst the craziness of life as we know it.

#communication #mattersoftheheart #speakforyourself #karencortellreisman

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

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

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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How Do You Communicate More Accurately?

How Do You Communicate More Accurately?

When was the last time you could not find your phone? (about 10 minutes ago when I started writing this blog)

When did you ask yourself, “Did I lock the car?” (a couple of days ago when I went grocery shopping)

When did you wonder, “Did I RSVP to that zoom event?” (let me check past emails…I’ll get back to you)

Autopilot vs. Observational Awareness

You are not going nuts (nor am I!). Experts say you don’t recall doing these day-to-day tasks because you do them on autopilot while multi-tasking.

Conversely, Observational Awareness means being present, mindful and focused on what you’re doing.

How increasing Your Observational Awareness Can Improve Your Communication Skills

Do you think you also put your communication skills on autopilot while multi-tasking? Do a quick check – how much do you remember about yesterday’s conversations with your Project Managers/board members/spouse/kids?

Ways to Increase your communication Observational Awareness:

  • Listen more than you talk
  • Ask questions
  • Be mindful
  • Stay focused – try not to multi-task
  • Take notes if possible – or add the info later on whatever system works for you

Benefits of heightened Observational Awareness:

  • Saves you time
  • Increases your knowledge of others
  • Creates a more accurate picture of shared comprehension
  • Heightens your ability to understand the communication nuances – what’s really going on

The fact that you communicate digitally, informally, and maybe even formally every day means that you might be on autopilot.

Your homework:

  • Be more observationally aware of what you are saying and what you are hearing.
  • AND try to remember where you put your phone.

© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

Karen Cortell Reisman book on sellingKaren Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 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® live or virtual workshop on how to communicate formally, informally, and electronically?

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

Email Karen@SpeakForYourself.com

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