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Surprising Adds that Could Make You a Super Communicator

Surprising Adds that Could Make You a Super Communicator

Ever been to a business event, power breakfast or strategy session dominated by one person? How about a dinner party or book club? You know the one!

The best communicators aren’t always the ones who talk the most in these various settings.

Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, shares three ways we can be “super communicators” and really connect with almost everyone.

How to be a super communicator on a consistent basis

Ask questions

  • Super communicators ask a lot more questions. In fact, 10 to 20 times more questions.
  • Some questions invite you in. “Tell me more about your xxx.”
  • Some are deep questions – getting others to talk about beliefs, experiences. “How do you feel about being on the board of xxx?” Or, “Can you tell me a memory that is really important to you?”
  • Super communicators ask not just about facts but how you feel about what you are doing – all in hopes of creating reciprocal authenticity.

Be a humble conversationalist

Most super communicators were once crummy communicators. Duhigg’s research points out that these struggling communicators had to become keenly aware of having to listen intently to understand what the other person was saying. This heightened awareness propelled them to become super communicators with these attributes:  being honest, authentic,  vulnerable and nonjudgmental.

Looping for Understanding (great for conflict management):

  1. Ask a question … a deeper one. (see my first point above)
  2. Repeat back what they said.
  3. Ask if you got it right.

You don’t have to agree or disagree. “I understand where you are coming from. I think I’ve heard what you are trying to say. I have a different point of view…”

7 Super Communicator Goals

  • To listen for understanding.
  • To lower the burden of the conversation. You are not trying to get them to agree with you.
  • To find a connection.
  • To get others in the group to speak.
  • To be generally interested in what others are thinking.
  • To give credit to others when context permits.
  • To better navigate tough conversations.

Don’t dominate a conversation. Be the super communicator that makes the conversation of interest to all.

Thank you to Judy Dedmon Coyle for sharing this podcast with me.

Source: Krys Boyd’s NPR “Think” Podcast with Charles Duhigg, author of “Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved 

A Powerful Communication Lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A Powerful Communication Lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Note – This blog, originally published on 1.17.17, has been one of our most popular posts. The message remains true and I’d like to share it again on this Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

MLK uses the Anaphora Effect.

You’re asking, “What’s the Anaphora Effect?”

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s American federal holiday marking his birthday, celebrated earlier this week, let’s highlight one of the genius components of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

He uses the Anaphora Effect exquisitely.

Definition of Anaphora

It’s the repetition of words at the start of successive clauses, phrases or sentences.

Why use Anaphora phrases? To create a rhythm, heighten emotion, and add emphasis to make the message easier to remember.

In MLK’s famous speech:

  • Now is the time” is repeated three times in the sixth paragraph.
  • One hundred years later”, “We can never be satisfied”, “With this faith”, “Let freedom ring”, and “free at last” are also repeated.
  • Of course, the most widely cited example of anaphora is found in the often quoted phrase “I have a dream”, which is repeated eight times as King paints a picture of an integrated and unified America.

You might have learned in your English writing classes to not repeat words too often in written form. It depends. Using a catchy phrase can enhance your email or Chairman’s Report.

Your Speak For Yourself® challenge:

Use the Anaphora Effect digitally, informally and in formal presentations to create more buy-in.



Photos taken by Robin Sachs Photography. Thank you to Robin for joining me in Atlanta to tour the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Martin Luther King National Historical Park!

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved


8 tips on what to do and say to someone with a medical challenge ➜

8 tips on what to do and say to someone with a medical challenge ➜

My sister, Nina Cortell, and I on my LAST day of chemo (in 2012) followed by a pink manicure!

This post is in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“You’re a poster child for mammograms,” the radiation oncologist said to me.

“Why?”, I asked, from my seat in his bad-aqua blue treatment room.

“Because you found your breast cancer early. You’re going to be okay.”

Eleven years ago I walked into that regular annual mammogram looking pretty good and feeling great. Nine months later – after a lumpectomy, 16 weeks of chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments, and 101 doctor visits – I walked out of that bad-aqua blue treatment room bald, tired and puffy.

Here’s what I have come to know

  • Embrace “Normal”. It’s not about how much money you make, or how many trips you take, or how many clients you have. It’s about being able to get up in the morning and having the luxury to do whatever is on your schedule. You get to enjoy a normal day.
  • Find the humor. I tell my clients that the definition of humor is Tragedy + Time. When I found out I was going to have chemo, I cried. Then, later, I had to chuckle. I told my husband, Jimmy, “I always thought I’d sleep with someone who’s bald, I just never thought it would be me.”
  • Maintain best practices around exercise and diet. If you’re in good shape you’re ahead of the curve when you get a challenging diagnosis.
  • Nurture your support system. My family and friends made all the difference.

Speaking professionally and personally – here are 8 communication tips to help you interact with your colleagues, clients and friends who are dealing with medical challenges like breast cancer.

  1. Do stay in touch with someone who’s going through a health issue – emails, texts, phone messages – all are great.
  2. Do NOT ask the person who’s sick to return your call or electronic message. That’s a burden.
  3. Do say or text, “You do not have to return this call/text/email.”
  4. Do NOT ask, “What can I do to help you?” Again, this is a burden.
  5. Do something that you would like someone to do for you. Options: mail a fun card (appreciated and unobtrusive), meet for a walk, wash her car, make a meal, walk the dog, drive him to a doctor appointment, bring lunch, take her to a manicure place, or make a donation in his honor. And, do tell her that she doesn’t have to write you a thank you note.
  6. Do NOT use social media as a place to share your concern unless invited. This can be a major breach of privacy.
  7. Do NOT talk about your own experiences (or the medical outcome from your brother-in-law’s mother’s aunt…) with this type of illness. You are there to hear your friend’s story, she is NOT there to hear yours.
  8. Do listen, if he wants to talk. That’s right. Just listen. Biggest gift of all.

These tips worked for me, and I hope you will use them as guidelines for you.

My annual mammogram saved my life.

Who wants to be a poster child?

Not me.

But it sure beats the alternative.

PS: Please do your annual mammogram/PSA/whatever test(s)!

PS: Write in comments below of other ways you’ve been helpful to others in a health crisis.

How to communicate like a CEO

How to communicate like a CEO

What makes you a great leader and communicator, whether you are “the” CEO or a solopreneur?

Adam Bryant writes a column, “Corner Office”, for the NYT every Sunday for a decade answering this question. In his 525 interviews with CEOs he asks the unobvious.

His queries are NOT about their companies, but about how they’d hire someone, what their parents were like, what shaped them, and life advice they give or wish they had received.

After a decade of these concise and insightful interviews, Bryant summarizes the lessons learned from these leaders in the corner office.

3 recurring themes for those people who get the top job

  • Applied curiosity. “They tend to question everything. They want to know how things work, and wonder how they can be made to work better. They’re curious about people and their back stories. … Rather than wondering if they are on the right path, they are wringing lessons from all their experiences.”
  • Discomfort is their comfort zone. “CEO’s seem to love a challenge.”
  • Management of their own careers on their way to the top. “They focus on doing their current job well and that earns them promotions. That may seem obvious, but many people can seem more concerned about the job they want than the job they’re doing.”

The most important communication quality for effective leadership

Bryant shares, “I would put trustworthiness at the top. … We can sense at a kind of lizard-brain level whether we trust someone.”

Readers of this blog – you know that “trust” is the bottom line theme of our Speak For Yourself® philosophy. Without trust you have no relationships. Without relationships you have no business. How do you convey trust? It’s all in how you communicate.

Your voice. Your business.

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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