A Missed Opportunity (or two)

Kati Tillema here. If you are a sports fan, and specifically follow NBA basketball, you probably have heard of an incident that escalated among the New York Knicks owner, a former player, and event security. There are two sides (or more) to every story and it is impossible to ever know exactly what transpired. However, I was reading an article about the situation and one thing did stand out to me: the former player, Charles Oakley, was quoted as having responded to the security guards informing him that he had to leave with the question “why?”

If you have been through a Verbal Defense & Influence class, you know that there was probably a missed opportunity by the security guards who escorted Mr. Oakley out of the stands. They may have been able to prevent the situation from escalating by approaching him with a Universal Greeting and immediately making the reason for their contact transparent. One of the Five Maxims for treating people with dignity by showing respect is to explain why – set context.

Maybe Mr. Oakley already knew the answer to the question. But at least he would have heard it, which may have reduced his sense of disrespect and could have prevented him from escalating quickly. Everyone wants to know why they are being asked (or told) to do something, so if you anticipate the question and address it immediately during an initial interaction, you can greatly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome; or in this case, avoid getting your picture on ESPN for something other than your athletic abilities.

If you read the full reports, the “why” question is just one of the many missed opportunites by everyone involved to non-escalate and de-escalate what happened. Read the full article here.

Rockville Centre, NY PD 2016 VDI Instructor Class introduces new VDI Material

Hello there.

Gary Klugiewicz here.

Vistelar introduced a number of significant changes to our courseware at the recent Beyond Conflict Conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  At last week’s Rockville Centre, NY Police Department Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor Class, Dave Young and I first presented this material.  We introduced the new manuals, workbooks, and PowerPoints.   The material was very well received.

Watch the video below that explains how we now review incidents using the Point-of-Impact 6 C’s of Conflict Management.  This new incident review concept included Context, Contact, Conflict, Crisis, Combat, and Closure to describe how conflict can be prevented and/or managed.  This video also describes how the revised Communication under Pressure Card helps contact professional to manage these conflicts.   Please comment below on your thoughts on my explanation of these changes.

Let’s keep everyone safe.

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“These are strengths you can continue to improve upon.”

James Demeo, College Station, TX

Verbal Defense and Influence Instructor

Security Officer, Texas A&M

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You go in thinking you have a great handle on your level of training, but this re-energized you focus. I look forward to utilizing my training and becoming a better communicator.

Learn how to Hardwire Happiness

Hi There,

Gary Klugiewicz here with another Radio Health Journal audiotape that provides great suggestions for staying positive in what is oftentimes a very negative focused world.

This message shows us how to overcome our focus on negative events by learning how to hardwire happiness.

16-22 Segment 2: Hardwiring Happiness

In Verbal Defense & Influence we spend a great deal of time in our peace stories that stress positive outcomes.

We need to learn how to take the positive events in our life and focus on them.

Please let us know what you think about his lesson in the comment section below.


Quotes 9: Words of Coach Bob Lindsey

Good morning.

This is Gary Klugiewicz.

This week Coach Lindsey’s quote discussed the difference between looking and seeing.


What is the difference between taking a quick photo of the person and situation versus taking a video of the person and situation. The long term “seeing” of the person and situation allow you to examine the person’s words, tone, and other non-verbals, as well as, the context of situation in greater detail allowing you to “see” more fully what is actually going on. Merely taking a quick photo of the person and situation doesn’t allow you to do accomplish this level of understanding. As we like to say, proper response begins with remaining alert and to remain alert, you need to “pay attention.”

Watch Coach Lindsey’s video on this topic and comment below.

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Lesson from the movie, “Roadhouse”

Greetings from Gary Klugiewicz.

One of the greatest messages that I share with the people that I train all around the county is adapted from the movie, “Roadhouse.”   Patrick Swayze, the head bouncer is a rough & tumble county road house explains how to handle their “40 year old adolescents, felons, power drinkers, and trustees of modern chemistry.”   He makes the point that you have to be nice until its time to not be nice …  to his quote we have added … then you need to be nice again.

The infographic the accompanies this post make the graphic point that their is a time not to be nice.  This may include a police officer be required to use physical force to subdue a resisting or assault subject.  But this goes much further than this limited application of the concept.   Every time that persuasion fails you are required to take appropriate action.  Depending on your situation, this could include sanctioning the person in some way whether is a refusal service, disciplinary action, a school detention, or getting grounded, sanction may accompany poor behavior or decisions.   This is what we refer to as ‘the time not to be nice – exemplified by the fist.

The most important part of the quote is the first part – “You have to be nice”, followed by the last part of the quote -“and then you have to be nice again.”    Although the middle part of the quote – “until its time not to be nice” is going to happen, we need to focus on how the incident began and how it ended – the “nice” parts of any conflict situation.  The way these three parts of an incident are remembered are sometimes referred to an the Law of Primacy, the Muddled Middle, and the Law of Recency.   The beginning and end of any incident will be best remembered.  This is why in our training, we focus on beginning whenever possible with a Universal Greeting that sets up the best chance of non-escalation in the encounter and conclude with an Appropriate Close that will bring closure to the incident that hopefully provides resolution to the conflict and sets up a better atmosphere for future contact.

” Remember that you need to be nice until its time not to be nice and then you need to be nice again.”

Quote 5 – Words of Coach Bob Lindsey


This is Coach Lindsey bringing you a question to consider.

What give you the best advantage and is also the pathway to empowerment especially in verbal communication?

Is it hearing or is it listening?

Let’s pursue this topic together and find the answer.

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Please post your comments below.

Quote 4 – Words from Coach Lindsey

Good Day,

This is Gary Klugiewicz.

Over the years, I have heard scores of quotes from Coach Lindsey that has enriched mine and other lives.

Here is my favorite quote which is the one you hear me say most often that The sounds of silence can never be misquoted.  It reminds me that if you say nothing, your words may be understood or misinterpreted by never be misquoted.    My favorite question when I apply this quote correctly is What did I say?   The person then replies that you said nothing.  There is a time to talk and a time to remain silent.  The secret is to know the difference.

Coach Lindsey in the video link below explain another application of this quote.  He says that using silence effectively can be a very empowering tactic.   The use of silence allows you to show respect for the person who is speaking.    To learn more watch the video.

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Please comment below on your thoughts of  both application of this most important concept.

Tactical Differences: How little the different disciplines really differ

Tactical Differences

Hi there.

Gary Klugiewicz here.

As the training director for Verbal Defense & Influence, I am often ask how to you modify your training for the wide range of disciplines that you train.
Remember that we formally training 14 different disciplines. Check out our website at I always give the same reply.

“Although Rules of Engagement may differ, tactics remain constant at the same level of escalation based on application and environment.”

What I mean is that although the way that we respond to conflict situations vary from discipline to discipline with some contact professional trained to disengage when physical contact is imminent while other are trained to move in to control the physical encounter, your personnel still needs to be trained in how to initiate contact, respond to verbal conflict & crisis, keep themselves safe in physical conflict, and know how to bring closure to the conflict after it occurs. What differs are the conflict resolution application that they apply and the environments where the conflict takes place.

The rest is pretty much the same. Your personnel still needs to be trained in how to make the initial contact, how to redirect verbal resistance or abuse, persuade a difficult person to go with your program, talk down a person in crisis, manage physical resistance or assault, stabilize a volatile situation, and, most important, re-establish a non-hostile relationship with the person in conflict so next time you don’t have to rekindle the conflict and start into Round Two of a bitter verbal or physical battle.

The truth of the matter is that 90% of our training programs cover the same material. The 10% that is difference covers difference conflict prevention and resolution scripts, examples from the specific discipline being trained, and discipline-specific peace stories, along with a thorough indoctrination into the rules of engagement for the discipline being trained.

The bottom line is that this teaching strategy will hold true as long as we are training human beings. Once we start training our personnel to interact with ALIENS we will have to change our tactics. Until then, the Communication under Pressure Card with our VDI Tactics apply to most every situation.

Check out the origins of Vistelar verbal & tactical training program:

Bystander Intervention: What stops them? / What gets them to intervene?

Hi There.

Gary Klugiewicz Here.

You know me.  I love listening to the Radio Health Journal.  They recently posted a podcast entitled “The Bystander Effect” that is one of the best explanation that I have heard on why people do or do not intervene when they see another person in trouble.  Check out this podcast and you will gain an in-depth understanding of what allows good people to stand by and do nothing or conversely mobilize them step in to help another person.  This audiotape in a must for every Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor.

To wet your interest, let me give you the bullet points that explain why people don’t and do get involved.  You will have to listen to the podcast to find out what the bullet points mean.  I hope you take the time for this very important lesson.  Here are the Experts’ Research Findings.

Why bystanders don’t intervene:
1. Diffusion of Responsibility
2. Pluralistic Ignorance
3. Audience Innocence
4. Audience Inhibition
5. Personal Safety Concerns

Why bystanders intervene:
1. Competence
2. Unambiguous Situations
3. Penguin Effect
4. Anonymity
5. Power of the Camera

Radio Health Journal Podcast: The Bystander Effect

Please leave your comments below.