3 Master communication lessons from Barbara Walters

3 Master communication lessons from Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters won 12 Emmys

The trailblazer of interviewing, who won 12 Emmy awards over a 5-decade career, teaches us 3 master lessons on how to leverage any conversation to your advantage.

Fairness

“Barbara Walters’s superpower was fairness”, writes Matt Zoller Seitz (critic & writer for Vulture and New York). He continues, “Her subjects trusted her to give them as fair a shake as she could, even if she disapproved of what they did, said, or stood for.”

She exemplified an open mind and the ability to listen to the nuance of any situation.

Relaxed ambiance

“Barbara Walters, in my estimation, really has the quality of reaching through to the person,” Mike Wallace said. “She will put the person sufficiently at ease and it’s a remarkable gift.”

Looking at her interviews from every U.S. president and first lady from the Nixons to the Obamas to a wide range of celebrities and sports figures she creates rapport through her content and delivery.

They said yes to her when they wouldn’t say yes to anyone else because they liked the atmosphere Walters created onscreen.

Trust

Trust requires these three components working together: trust in yourself, trust in the process, and do your homework.

Walters nails this triad. And THEN she goes after the tough questions!

Excerpt from a Walters’ interview, “You’re a New York Times best-selling author, you’re an accomplished and celebrated concert pianist, and a three-time Academy Award–winning actor. Why the porn?’”

Bonus Strategy:

Ok – she also plays into the subject’s ego. She usually gave three compliments, and then went in for the kill.

Barbara Walters, who died recently at the age of 93, left a legacy about how to set the stage for a meaningful dialogue.

#communication   #speakforyourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #BarbaraWalters

Top 5 Best 2022 Communication Habits

Top 5 Best 2022 Communication Habits

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!  🥂 🎉

#communication #SpeakForYourself #KarenCortellReisman #Top5CommunicationHabits

photo credit: Robin Sachs Photography

The trick to sounding conversational at the lectern

The trick to sounding conversational at the lectern

Did you learn in grade school that when you give a presentation you must “act” a certain way?

Going full Shakespeare

Here’s what we see with our Speak For Yourself® clients: When you stand up to deliver your message you transform! The real you goes missing and you go full Shakespeare. Or, conversely, you become muted.

Where did “you” go?

The best mental exercise to sound like yourself at the lectern & reduce performance anxiety

Three steps:

  1. Think about a friend that you meet with to just hang out and talk.
  2. What’s the location? Where are you when you have these chats?
  3. What are you drinking? (Doesn’t have to be alcoholic.)

Some recent client responses:

  • Person: His brother. Watering hole: A campsite at their 700 acre family ranch. Drink: Blanton’s Bourbon
  • His mother. Back porch by the pool. Iced tea with lime and mint.
  • Her husband. Their Crested Butte house on the deck – drinking chilled dry Grey Goose martini.

When you are giving a speech imagine you’re talking to your buddy, in your favorite hang-out location, sipping on your drink of choice.

THAT’S the voice and tone you want to project at your board meeting, panel, or quarterly townhall.

Fill in these blanks and add to our blog comments. Picture that set up at your next event. You will sound conversational and like you.

Person: _____________   Watering hole: _______________  Drink:  _______________

 So, tonight when I’m being interviewed as a “Local Legend” of National Speakers Association – N. TX Chapter I’m going to imagine I’m with my husband,  sitting on the porch of our Star Ranch, sipping Glenlivet neat.

PS: check out our new website!  www.speakforyourself.com

#Communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #SoundCoversational

What… no socks?

What… no socks?

Details matter.

Picture you’re on a set for a commercial shoot. It’s a “video village” collection of director’s chairs and monitors. 36 professionals from makeup, hair and wardrobe to teleprompter & script editors to ad agency folks to the photography team to the director hover over their respective domains of production.

Such was the background for my week of coaching the talent on set for this large tech company.

The action starts. The talent begins to share his message. And… then… everything comes to a dead halt.

The ankle reveal.

The two producers, zooming in from Seoul, say, “We don’t like the talent’s ankles.”

They go on to comment, “The focus needs to be on his face and his content, and we are distracted by the half-inch of revealed ankles between his loafers and the European cut pants.”

What’s this have to do with you?

You’re probably not doing video shoots with 36-people production crews, BUT you are communicating as a leader all the time… AND DETAILS MATTER.

Little details that create big outcomes.

  • Your gestures – are you fiddling with your cuticles, wringing your hands, or pushing your hair repetitively behind your ears?
  • Your stance – are you swaying, standing more on one leg and then the other, pacing, doing a meaningless fox trot movement, or slouching?
  • Your eye contact – are you just looking at the power people in the room, staring out over the tops of audiences’ heads, or doing the eye dart maneuver?
  • Your setting/background in-person or virtually  – are you fighting for your audience’s flea-sized brain cells due to distractions behind you?

The rest of the commercial.

Our video production stops for 55 minutes! Big discussions are held between the wardrobe people, the ad agency people, the on-set director, and the producers in Seoul.

My talent puts on a pair of socks.

Production continues.

Guess what? It was the right move. Your gaze never goes down to the guy’s feet (even though you never realize that his ankles cause a distraction).

Don’t get me started on how much time it took to select the pillows on the background couch.

Details matter.

#communication  #KarenCortellReisman  #SpeakForYourself  #DetailsMatter

Small Talk Desert

Small Talk Desert

Are we in a conversational crisis?

Even before the pandemic the emphasis has been on digital communication. During the pandemic you may have experienced minimal conversation especially in person.

Now you might be feeling the pain of resuming small talk back in the office.

Recently…

Jim and I meet in-person with our financial advisor group after two years of periodic virtual meetings. I find myself saying, just seconds after sitting down, “Ok, what’s our plan? Do we need to review, reframe, revisit…?”

Tommy replies with a smile, “First… how are you? What’s going on with your work and family?”

Oh… that’s right … I forget the chatting part of our visit.

What is the value of small talk?

According to Fast Company, “From the polite chitchat among coworkers that eases the start of a stressful meeting to building powerful bridges at networking events, small talk has always been an important ‘social lubricator’ that builds trust and relationships across cultures—even more so for early-career professionals after graduation.”

Is small talk a waste of time?

You might say “yes”. Covid created a time warp. Namely – 30 minutes is the new hour. You’re busy, stressed and want results… now. You only have so much Attention Economy.

And yet.

Small talk is not a waste of time.

Think about an interaction you’ve had with a barista. Smiling, making eye contact and exchanging a few sentences while ordering your Venti Chai has been found to boost happiness and feelings of belonging.

A quick chat with someone you barely know can uplift your mood or avert feelings of loneliness.

A few brief interactions help gauge the mood of a room and the tone of a discussion.

Professionally, small talk presents opportunities to get to know and hear your clients. You may learn something new about the customer that you can then use in later conversation, or one interaction may turn into someone signing a deal with your company.

Most of all … according to psychologist Susan Pinker, social interaction (including small talk) is the #1 secret to living a longer life.

So, how are you? What’s going on with your family and friends these days?

 

#communication    #SpeakForYourself     #KarenCortellReisman   #SmallTalkDesert

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