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Diplomacy, Negotiation and S’Mores – Power Talk Strategies for Leaders

Diplomacy, Negotiation and S’Mores – Power Talk Strategies for Leaders

On a recent visit to the Carter Presidential Library I was intrigued with the peace accord U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

3 surprising tactics learned from these leaders that you can use to navigate win-win outcomes

1️⃣ Plan your context as well as content.

The background for this historic accord was Camp David, a 125-acre secluded retreat for the President of the United States, with a dozen guest cabins. A perfect place for conversations, meetings and space.

🏕 Tactic: For your big deals you might think that your subject matter trumps all. False. While content matters, pick a location for your critical events that provide the setting for success.

2️⃣ Cultivate perspective.

At one frustrating point Sadat packed his bags. Carter came to Sadat’s cabin and began talking about their grandchildren. Sadat unpacked his bags in hopes of shaping a better world for the next generations.

🏕 Tactic: For your power talks think beyond your perspective. Carolyn Hax, a Washington Post columnist writes, “ To have no conception of how other beliefs could be right for someone else is to fail to understand that other people can have an emotional makeup, cultural history and/or set of life experiences that differ from yours.”

3️⃣ Show gravitas.

Carter’s good fortune was that he had Begin and Sadat as negotiating counterparts. They were determined political leaders who possessed strong wills, stamina, courage and vision.

🏕 Tactic: For your good fortune exude gravitas (defined as a sense of authority and presence) just as these three leaders exhibited in 1978.

That summit laid the groundwork for an historic peace treaty.

Think about how you lay the groundwork for your win-win power talks.

#communication   #KarenCortellReisman   #SpeakForYourself  #PowerTalkTips

Family Vacations: Surprising Lessons in Executive Communication

Family Vacations: Surprising Lessons in Executive Communication

Courtney & Kevin, Jim & I, and Brett on a hike

We have just returned from a 2-week family driving trip from Dallas to the foothills of Denver. What could go wrong?

Get ready to navigate winding roads, strengthen family ties, and discover valuable executive communication lessons along the way.

🥂 Lindsey and Brett get engaged 🥂

➜ Relish the good times. Our son, Brett, on a mountain plateau private hike, kneels down on one knee and asks Lindsey to spend their lives together! She says YES!

🚘 Tip: Celebrate achievements, recognize milestones, acknowledge your team for big and small gains. Raise a toast, share laughter, and create an office atmosphere as joyous as our dinner toast for Lindsey and Brett after their special hike.

➜ Listen to your family. Lindsey & Brett arrange to have her parents stay with us… for THREE nights. We’ve never met! Jim and I feel like we’re in a “parent-trap for future in-laws”. Turns out we are compatible! Phew.

🚘 Tip: Tune in to your team’s needs, understand their perspectives, and provide communication strategies that foster connection. Try to build strong bonds.

Lindsey & Brett surrounded by Mom and Dad on both sides!

➜ Embrace Surprises. Just as we are about to eat a delicious meal on our outdoor deck prepared by our daughter and son-in-law, Courtney and Kevin, a sudden hail storm takes over. We dash indoors squeezing around a smaller table.

🚘 Tip: Stay adaptable, navigate challenges, and find alternative routes to success. Detours can lead to business breakthroughs.

➜ Be proactive. Our son likes to dine out and our daughter loves to cook and stay in. We negotiate. I also bring my espresso machine because it’s essential.

🚘 Tip: Embrace your inner road trip expectation map. Chart objectives, anticipate obstacles, and adjust your course. It’s like steering through the twists and turns of effective communication, sans family drama.

➜ Avoid Wrong Turn Syndrome. Can you emulate the GPS voice and calmly say “rerouting” vs yelling when exits fly by? Okay, we miss a few exits. The GPS voice always stays neutral.

🚘 Tip: Ensure your directions align with reality to avoid confusion. Build trust with your team, stay “GPS voice” calm, and don’t leave them wandering in communication wilderness.

So, fasten your seatbelts, cherish family ties, and drive toward a more effective communication style.

#communication   #KarenCortellReisman   #SpeakForYourself   #VacationCommunicationTips

How to listen well ➜ Ask this one question

How to listen well ➜ Ask this one question

You get stuck over how to advise a peer that’s received negative work feedback.

You perseverate over how to help a client diagnosed with cancer.

You hesitate to offer support to a struggling friend.

According to a NYT article by Jancee Dunn the best way to handle these scenarios is to ask this question:

“Do you want to be helped, heard or hugged?”

Dunn’s inspiration originates from her sister, a special-education school teacher at an elementary school. Dunn’s sister observes, ““Some need a box of tissues, or they want to talk about a problem on the bus, and I’ll just listen.”

You might think that this question works best with school-aged children. But Dunn says, “It struck me that this question could be just as effective for adults.”

I agree.

How often do you vent to a trusted colleague, friend or family member and all you want is to be heard, or maybe even hugged? In fact the last thing you want is advice!

The next time you are in the position to listen to your friend, family member or colleague think about these 3 “H” options: Helped. Heard. Hugged.

➜ By asking them this one question: “Do you want to be helped, heard or hugged?” you will then know how to navigate the conversation.

My best bet: you’ll be a great listener without providing any solutions unless solicited.


#communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #BestListeningTip

5-Star Communication Skills

5-Star Communication Skills

“You’ve run a very popular and expensive restaurant – that has your name on the door –  for over 16 years… and it’s a competitive market here in Dallas. What do you attribute your success to?” asks the Dallas Morning News food editor to Dean Fearing.

Dean replies, “There are 3 components. First, consistency. We serve great food every day. Second, personability. I decided that I’d greet our customers at every table on a daily basis. I’ve done this from day one. Third, a great wait staff. We have a wonderful team at Fearing’s Restaurant.”

The parallels between Fearing’s top rated restaurant and 5-star communication skills

Consistency. Just like the expectations you have for a fine meal when entering a fine dining establishment, your team/board/stake holders expect you to communicate compelling content with clarity and confidence on a consistent basis.

Personability. You do business with people you know, like and trust. Let’s drill down on the word “like”. Be likeable, like Dean Fearing.  Communicate with respect, listen with genuine interest and create an atmosphere of good will.

Leadership. Whether you run a billion dollar organization or you’re a solopreneur, you and your company represent and communicate your brand.

Once a year my daughter and I have an all-day spa date and one year we went to the Ritz Carlton. We began our day having lunch at their restaurant, Fearing’s. As we ate our delicious lunch, guess who came over to chat? Chef Fearing.

#communication   #speakforyourself   #karencortellreisman   #DeanFearing

What’s the germiest spot in your communication skills’ tool kit?

What’s the germiest spot in your communication skills’ tool kit?

“The germiest spot in your kitchen, plus tips for cleaning it.”

This Apple News feed title intrigues me. I’m curious.

Drum roll.

It’s your spices.

You handle raw chicken/meat/fish and then grab your paprika…

What’s the germiest spot in your communication skills tool kit?

Drum roll.

It’s your listening skills.

You handle your team/prospects/stockholders and then grab your next comment…

Two stats and one epiphany

  1. Most people usually only remember about 17-25% of the things they listen to.
  2. According to a survey in Psychology Today, 96% of people think they are good listeners.

The disconnect – You are far more confident in your listening skills than your actual abilities reveal.

So go wash off your listening skills with soap, awareness and these action steps.

  • Remove distractions
  • Ask questions
  • Stop making assumptions
  • Allow silence
  • Paraphrase
  • Have open body language
  • Maintain good eye contact
  • Show empathy
  • Be present.

Back to the spices. I just used tongs to handle the chicken in hopes of not contaminating my newly cleaned jars.

#communication   #KarenCortellReisman   #SpeakForYourself   #ListeningTips

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?”


  • “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


  • “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

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