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"Speak for Yourself" - Karen's Short & Pithy Quarterly Newsletter

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By Karen Cortell Reisman

About C - O - D. This is the unabridged version of the article I wrote for the August Presentations magazine on how to talk with confidence.

You give 1000's of speeches every day. You sell your image, your professionalism, your service and product every time you open your mouth.

To talk with confidence you need C - O - D. Usually, those letters stand for "Cash on Delivery." That is exactly what happens when you communicate clearly because you WILL sell yourself. However, "C" stands for Content -- substantive information; "O" means Organization -- speaking by design; and, "D" is for Delivery -- pizzazz without angst.

CONTENT- Say Something Worth Saying

In the over 4000 speeches I've evaluated as president of Speak For Yourself®, the best are those that contain the K, A, and C Factors.

"K" stands for Knowledge. You speak more comfortably, with greater vocal variety, and with heightened enthusiasm when you talk about what you know. In other words, stick to your area of expertise.

"A" means Attitude. Your audience doesn't care how much you know till they know how much you care. You don't have to be an extroverted cheerleader to convey your passion. You need to be YOU. However, in your own style, the audience must grasp that you are pleased to be there.

When your 'Knowledge' and 'Attitude' show up, you will begin to create the C Factor.

"C" means Credibility. Everyone has a BS light bulb in his or her head. (You already know what BS means!) Your BS light bulb turns ON, and you stop listening when you sense speakers do not know and/or do not care about what they are saying.

What are you doing and saying, early on when you communicate with others, to create a high credibility factor?

ORGANIZATION - Say It in a Way That Your Listener Will Grasp the Information. Ears have lousy memories. Imagine I am holding a sieve and a sponge. Which one best depicts your brain? Are you a sponge?

Do you soak up 100% of the information you receive every day, all day long? Probably not.

Yes...we are all sieve-heads. You should visualize that everyone you talk to (in person, over the phone, via email, fax, voicemail, an audience, in a meeting...) is wearing an imaginary sieve. We may hear 100% of what you're saying, but we'll only retain 25% even if you're dynamic and cogent. Seventy-five percent goes right through those sieve holes.

Less is More

Therefore, you need to be organized. This means using an outline approach to organize your information, thinking "Less is More" as you put your thoughts together. Use three main points that you can support with stories, humor, and examples. Your audiences value clear, concise, organized, and anecdotal information.

DELIVERY- Say it With Pizzazz and Without Angst

A Degree of Nerves

Sometimes it can be nerve wracking to quote a high fee, give that speech, face an angry customer, or provide constructive criticism to a valued member of your team. In all of these situations, it's ok to have a degree of nervousness. In fact, nervousness begets adrenaline, which begets energy, which begets enthusiasm, and without it, you would be "blah." The trick is to channel your nerves in a positive direction.

To have a degree of nervousness you need practice, preparation, and a positive mental attitude. At the very least, think about your message, your agenda, and your hidden agenda before you begin.


Kristen Ulmer, a contributing editor to Skiing magazine, wrote an article titled, "Stuck? Try these Ten Strategies For Skiing With More Power And Energy Than You Ever Thought Possible." Ulmer suggests that we visualize our greatness and raise our freak-out ceiling.

Her final tip is the Law of Frogs. "If you have to eat a frog, you better not look at it for too long. It's no different with an intimidating ski run. The longer you stand up there and worry about how you are going to get down it, the harder it will be to swallow your fear." She goes on to say, "I know it's easier said than done. Try this. Relax. Take a few deep breaths. Concentrate on something familiar -- the snow conditions, a similar run you have skied, how the first turn will feel. Take charge of your destiny. Map out a strategy for skiing the run. Find your line. Trust your ability. Don't look at the frog too long."

You will speak for yourself with power and presence by having C-O-D. Say something worth saying by maximizing your content. Say it in a way that your audience can remember the information by strategizing your organization. Say it with enthusiasm by energizing your delivery.

Don't look at the frog for too long. Just leap like a strong, confident frog.

Your Speak for Yourself® Challenge:

  • Practice the Law of Frogs.
  • Think 'less is more' when speaking.
  • Use stories and examples to get your message across.

Contact Karen's Office:

(972) 490-8676



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©Karen Cortell Reisman