Peak Your Profits: Einstein’s cousin's keepers

Jeff Blackman

One of my great kicks in writing this column, is sharing with you insights from some of the best and brightest minds in the business-world. This week is no different. Yet that's only natural, when your bloodline includes Albert Einstein!

More:Peak Your Profits: Jeff, so what do you think?

Karen Cortell Reisman and I have been friends for decades. When we see each other, our visits are characterized by Karen's friendly smile, warm embrace and easy laughter. She's a speaker, author, president of Speak for Yourself and a cousin of Einstein. Plus, Karen knows communication strategies, that'll give you powerful competitive advantages. Immediately.

Albert Einstein

Jeff Blackman: What are guaranteed ways to become a more effective speaker/presenter?
Karen Cortell Reisman: Use the C-O-D method:

  • C-Content: saying something worth saying
  • O-Organization: speaking with a strategy
  • D-Delivery: presenting with style and without anxiety

JB: You have "fix-it-tips" to help one better "think-on-their-feet." Like …
KCR: Use the …

  • Pros/cons method: Everything has advantages/disadvantages. State them both. Then give a summary sentence.
  • Past/present/future context: Divide your subject into what happened in the past, where you are now, and where you hope to be in the future. Then give a summary sentence.
  • Point-of-view technique: Discuss your issue or opportunity from various points-of-view, i.e., the goals of your customers, sales team, marketing or financial departments, leaders, or even competitors. Then give a summary sentence.

JB: You exclaim, "Discard predictability!" Meaning ...
KCR: Predictability is boring. Discarding predictability is creative. Even with an outbound voicemail message:

  • Avoid, "Wait for the beep ... " unless you expect voicemail from another galaxy.
  • Alter, "We'll get back to you as soon as possible ... " to, "Please let me know a good time to return your call."
  • Request the caller leaves their email address, and you give them your website address.
  • Keep it short.

And with a presentation, never start with, "Good morning, my name is …   I'm going to talk about ... " Boring! Instead, begin with a compelling story, powerful quote, intriguing question, startling statistic, or fun audience activity.

JB: Before we speak, it's important to really listen. What are your tips?
KCR: Use these six strategies to be an active listener:

  1. Nod
  2. Smile
  3. Paraphrase
  4. Ask questions
  5. Use good eye contact
  6. Maintain a healthy emotional boundary

Then, apply the 65/35 rule.
Here’s advice from a CEO client, Judy, who’s extremely well-respected by her 300+ team members, regardless of gender, ethnicity or age. I asked her, "You're a very effective communicator, what's your secret?" She replied, "I listen 65 percent of the time, and only talk 35 percent." Information talks. Wisdom listens.

JB: How does one convey confidence and trust?
KCR: I love movies. So here are three films that show must-have-attributes for establishing trust and confidence.

  1. Lincoln: Show your knowledge and gravitas. In this movie and life, Abraham Lincoln epitomizes a sense-of-self and intelligence. So must you.
  2. Star Wars: May the force be with you. Your listeners/audience—need to know you care. Have passion for what you say and do.
  3. Your favorite James Bond film: Use 007 flair.

Bond always survives, gets the cool gadgets and the beautiful leading-lady. Plus, he has great posture, a warm smile, attentive eye contact, and looks terrific in his outfits. James Bond conveys confidence, by using nonverbal cues with finesse. When you communicate, do it with a Bond brilliance and grace. With knowledge and gravitas, passion and flair.

JB: We're often proud of family members, yet you're especially proud of and grateful to, your cousin Albert Einstein. Tell us about the relationship/history, the "letters" and the lessons.
KCR: Einstein and my grandmother were cousins, lifelong-friends and gossip-buddies. I've used some of his personal quotes in my presentation, “Letters From Einstein.” When my parents got married, my mother was admittedly nervous to meet dad's side of the family for the first time, which included cousin Albert.
Yet Einstein made mom comfortable during their visit in Princeton. He shuffled over to her and said, "Anne, I want you to relax and be yourself. I'm a normal human being just like everyone else."
The lesson: when you communicate, get results, grow your business, and accelerate your career—relax and be yourself!

For more keepers from Karen, head to:

Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.