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The #1 best phrase people who’re good at small talk use

The #1 best phrase people who’re good at small talk use

You’re headed into this holiday season. You’ll probably encounter extended family and friends. Your conversations will start with small talk, defined as “polite and standard conversation about unimportant things.”

While small talk might seem trivial, it can net big benefits – around the holiday table and in your various business settings.

This initial type of conversation can help drive richer connections by finding common interests while also demonstrating empathy. At the very least you’ll gain more insights about the other person.

How do you do this?

According to Matt Abrahams, author of “Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot“, use this power phrase: “Tell me more.”

“Support responses” vs “Shift responses”

Abrahams defines these two types of responses. “Tell me more” is a support response. You are supporting what the other person says. You are inviting the other person to keep expressing themselves. You are winning the gold medal of active listening.

“Shift responses” create the opposite outcome. You shift away from the other person and hook back to your own agenda. In essence, you hijack the conversation.

Example: “We really had a rough travel day! Got stuck in Chicago for 3 hours and missed the connection at DFW.”

Support response: “Tell me more.”

Shift response: “You think that was bad, one time we were going to JFK but landed in Philadelphia because JFK flooded!”

You might have a great story about your JFK/Philly calamity but you’ve shut down the other person.

Other “support responses”

In addition to the best response, “tell me more”, other support responses include asking more questions about the details of the event or the emotions around the event. “What happened next?”  or  “Did that make you go crazy?”  or “How did you handle that?”

When to use “shift responses”

You don’t want to sound like you’re doing a legal deposition either! There does come a time to share your own anecdotes and experiences.  Give and take conversations create more meaningful encounters.

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, as you head into the holiday season remember that information talks and wisdom listens. Use more “support responses”.

I am grateful for your support of this blog!

source: CNBC: https://apple.news/Ayem5YVoMQE2jk2m-SMYvjQ

Annoying speech habits – Part Two

Annoying speech habits – Part Two

Last week I wrote about the top 3 pervasive and annoying speech habits according to Dr. Alice Silbergleit, the Director of the Speech-Language Sciences at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan.

You responded! You agreed with Dr. Silbergleit and you added your own list of grating speech habits.

More bad speech behaviors to avoid

1️⃣  Dr. Steve Spivack: “What about ‘you know what I mean’ and ‘Hum’”?

➜ Note: Both of these are filler clutter.

“You know what I mean” at the end of a thought makes the speaker appear less confident. You are asking for approval for what you just said. Total waste of words.

🎤 Tip: Stop! Don’t ask this type of question.

“Hum” is in the category of verbal clutter. Its cousins are “um”, “you know”, and “uh”.

🎤 Tip: Pause instead of adding clutter.

2️⃣  Barbara Franklin: “Reminds me of kids saying ‘like’ – every second word.”

➜ Note: The ‘like’ epidemic applies to all of us, not just kids.

“Like, when you hear someone, like, say ‘like’, you might want to scream. But, like, listen to yourself and, like, monitor your own use of this word.”

🎤 Tip: Ask a close friend to be your “’like’ accomplice”. Have that person keep a “’like’ tab”. Become aware of how often you use this word and then be a self-monitor.

3️⃣  Harry Hall, a fellow communication consultant, on correcting Upspeak (ending all sentences as if they’re questions):  “Playback a recording of them doing it. That fixes it pretty quickly.” Harry added, “Upspeak totally undermines credibility.” Agreed!

Steve, Barbara and Harry – Thanks for sharing.

😬 What speech habits annoy you? 😬  Share comments below. ⤵︎


#communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #BadSpeechHabits


A simple strategy (you fail to use)  –  for better emails, stronger connections & more engaging speeches

A simple strategy (you fail to use)  –  for better emails, stronger connections & more engaging speeches

Your super power

Using “The Power of YOU”.

Better Emails:

Speak For Yourself® (SFY) Tip 🎤 : Start with “You” vs “I”. Make your email other centric rather than egocentric.

  • Homework: Look at your last 10 emails you’ve sent. Count up the “I’s”. How many times did you begin with “You”?
  • ❌: “I look forward to meeting with you.”
  • ✅: “You and I are scheduled to meet on xx.”

Stronger connections:

SFY Tip 🎤 : Ask about the other person. Listen to their answer. Ask more questions.

  • ❌: “Congrats on your son’s engagement. My son has been married for 4 years yada yada.” You have just hijacked the conversation.
  • ✅: “So excited about your son’s engagement. Tell me about his fiancée.”

More engaging speeches:

SFY Tip 🎤 : Know who your audience is and strategize to meet their specific needs.

  • ❌: True story…  someone pitching to Disney said, “Let’s don’t mickey-mouse around.” Ouch.
  • ✅: “Your Disney World imagination has thrilled my family for two generations. Let’s talk about further innovations for you.”

Why you don’t use your super power?

It’s easier for you to talk about you, your business and your issues or accolades. It’s your favorite subject.

Simple does not mean easy

Simplicity is defined as the quality of being easy to understand. Just because The Power of YOU is a simple strategy does NOT make it easy to do.

Communicate and focus on your audience of one or 1,000 —  IF you want to build trust, sell more and create strong bonds.


#communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman  #YourCommunicationSuperpower

3 questions every speaker should answer

3 questions every speaker should answer

Whether you’re pumped or dreading your presentation, you, the speaker, must answer these 3 questions in order to engage your audience.

🎯 Question #1 to create buy-in ➜

Do you know what you’re talking about?

You answer, “Of course!” But, does your audience know that you know?

  • Tip: Share your credibility through stories. We call this “credibility sprinkles”.
  • Ex: “When I spoke to 900 home inspectors in California at their annual association meeting I asked them what ‘BS’ stood for and they shouted out ‘better service!’”

🎯 Question #2 to maintain buy-in ➜

Do you care about what you’re talking about?

You do not need to be a raging extrovert. In fact, introverts make great speakers.

  • Tip: You show your passion for your subject through your nonverbal actions.
  • Do: Smile, have good posture, exhibit effective eye contact.

🎯 Question #3 to go beyond buy-in ➜

Do you really know who you’re talking to?

  • Tip: Gather your intel.
  • Find out: Where is their pain? What makes them tick? What are they good at? Who competes with them? Where can they improve? What defines success for them? How knowledgeable are they about your topic? Experience range?

🎯 Your audiences are distracted, tired or deadline driven. AKA: Overwhelmed. Do them a favor. Nail these answers in order to share your value.


#Communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #AudienceEngagementRules

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

One Powerful Way to Add Traction to your Message

One Powerful Way to Add Traction to your Message

Mickey Raphael*, Willie Nelson’s harmonica player in 7000 performances, says, “Miles (Davis) taught me, ‘Don’t overdo it. Take a breath. What’s important is the space between the notes.’”

When you want your listeners to really hear you: Don’t overdo it. Take a breath. What’s important is the space [pauses] between your content.

Why use pauses?

  • Pauses enhance your vocal variety.
  • Pauses keep your audience attentive.
  • Pauses act as verbal commas, semi-colons and periods.

So why don’t you pause more often?

  • When you get nervous you speed up – the exact opposite intention!
  • You can’t stand white space!
  • Time distortion: You think you’ve paused for an eternity but it’s been only 1 nano-second.

How do you master the art of the pause?

  • Use a pause to transition from one idea to the next. (Your most logical pause strategy.)
  • Insert a “pause” into your material when you want to create drama. (Write it into your outline & internally count “1001, 1002, 1003 – maybe even longer.”)
  • Add pauses when sharing a story. (Especially if you act out some dialogue.)

Pausing is one of the most powerful tools you have when you speak. I urge you to find “The Space Between Your Notes”.

*PS: Personal trivia – Mickey Raphael grew up in my home town, Dallas, and my parents enjoyed a great friendship with Thelma and Arno, Mickey’s parents!

#KarenCortellReisman   #Communication   #SpeakForYourself   #MickeyRaphael   #PowerOfThePause

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