Some potential communication landmines as you celebrate this holiday season: You have a political divide as deep as the turkey breast is dry. You notice that someone else is wearing a family heirloom you thought you were getting. Your cousin asks you, again, why you aren’t married.

Here’s your Speak For Yourself® Holiday Communication Playbook!

  1. Know the score. You need to 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 what the tough subjects might be (vaccine policies come to mind), who will be at the virtual or live event(s), and 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.
  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 cousin for commenting once again on your marital status, can you find something nice to say? You like her watch. You think he 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 egg nog. Enough said.
  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 owning your own strengths. That positive self-awareness is the perfect antidote for snarky crazy stuff.

Happy Holidays. I’m thankful for you.

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 can only imbibe minimal amounts of egg nog.

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