Doug Lynch

What Type of Instructor are You?


This is Gary Klugiewicz.

I am the director of training for Verbal Defense & Influence that I recently had an phone conversation with Doug Lynch, one of our Vistelar Trainers.  He asked an an important question about the difference types of instructors that I wanted to share with you.

His question to people who provide instruction to others was What type of Instructor are you?

I asked him to provide his thoughts on this question that I posted below:

When I first started as an instructor, I proudly called myself a trainer. I was in front of people and telling stories, showing PowerPoints, getting a few laughs and told to come back again. I thought I could train. But, my students were failing to do what I needed them to do once they left the class. Was it me? Was it them? Was it both? Thus, started my journey.

I sought out mentors and coaches and was lucky enough to meet and learn from some of the best in the business; Gary Klugiewicz, Bob Lindsey, Peter Jaskulski, Dave and Betsy Smith, Jack Hoban, and about a dozen more. I am thankful for their patience and transfer of knowledge. It became apparent I was a Presenter, not a trainer. There was much more that needed to be accomplished in a classroom than just getting people to agree with what I was instructing.

Below is a small bit of that information to help  instructors better understand what they are doing, what they are capable of and what they need to be able to perform to master a style/level. It helps us to explain to non-instructors what to look for and what to expect from different styles/levels. In most cases, these are levels, not styles. Instructors progress through them from 1 to 4 over a career/lifetime. But, there are always exceptions.

  1. Presenter / Presentation: Passive, lays out information for students. Minimal, if any, checks for understanding, learning and performance are done. To become a Presenter, one becomes proficient at public speaking and holding the audiences interest.
  2. Teacher / Teach: Passive, guides students through information, confirms cognitive knowledge.
  3. Trainer / Train: Active, students learn how to perform tasks, ability to perform under stress confirmed.
  4. Coach / Coaching: Efficient, mastery of the levels below them. Able to TRAIN people to be competent at any of the first three levels.

His categories illustrate an increase in both competency and effectiveness that I find thought-provoking.   Do we want our instruction to merely provide information or do we want it to provide skills and changes in long-term behavior?  As with most things, the answer depends on who you are instructing, your purpose, and the length of time you have to do it.

Please post your comments below.

​Free Sample of Our Success

Respect, Vistelar

Hello, Doug Lynch, checking in from our Verbal Defense and Influence Instructor class in Las Vegas Nevada. I have been honored to spend most of this week with Protectors of the Public from around the country.

In my 20+ years in public service, I have come to firmly believe that the vast majority of officers believe in treating people with dignity by showing them respect. But, they have difficulties demonstrating those beliefs effectively to the public. However, with training in Verbal Defense and Influence strategies and techniques, they are able to learn how to do just that. Today, one of the student trainers, Josh Fraker decided to take his newly minted skills and assist a citizen he encountered while getting lunch. Instead of spoiling the story, let’s let Josh tell it in the video below.

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Hello, Doug Lynch here, Consultant and Trainer with Vistelar. One of the techniques we train students on in Verbal Defense and Influence is ‘Showtime” originally developed by Andrew Garrison and further developed by Gary Klugiewicz, it is a method of getting yourself in the right mindset and looking good professional before coming into contact with the a citizen.

A quick review of the technique:
1. Say SHOWTIME to yourself
2. Stack Up your Blocks a.k.a Take the Proper Posture
3. Breathe In, Pause, Breathe Out
4. Put on your Professional Face
5. Use the appropriate Positive Self Talk
6. Step into the Arena

Now, normally, this is a technique for centering yourself before coming into contact with a difficult person or entering a stressful situation. And, experience has shown me, that it is effective at helping to prepare you to meet conflict. But, there is another use for Showtime that we sometimes forget and it can get us in trouble when we do. Showtime is also effective when quickly de-escalating from a stressful situation to a calmer customer contact.

More than once early in my career, I left a high stress call such as a bank robbery and went directly to a low stress call such as an illegal parking complaint. I learned over time that if I didn’t overtly communicate concern at the low stress call for service, my appearance and attitude, carried over from the stressful call, would leave the citizen feeling as if I was aloof or uncaring. It was a potential complaint at worst and a missed opportunity to positively engage the public at best. Eventually, on my own (pre-VDI days), I found a way to adjust my demeanor but not before a few citizen complaints.

Currently, with the Showtime technique, we have a concise method for quickly “shifting gears” between customer contacts that can be shared and taught so we can all better avoid citizen complaints and damaging our professions reputation.

Give it a try and let us know how well it works.

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The Wrong Guys!

Cops Police Public Safety Gun

The Wrong Guys!
Doug Lynch here with Verbal Defense and Influence.

I would like to share a story from my time as a Deputy at Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and how an incident that could have turned out much worse actually turned into a positive public interaction. I was patrolling with a fellow deputy when the radio call went out of an armed robbery that had just occurred at a fast food restaurant a couple blocks from where we were. The description from the victims, relayed by the 911 call takers, was that they were robbed by four black males armed with handguns who had fled in a blue Pontiac Grand Am and they drove off in our direction. My partner and I stopped and watched for the vehicle. Sure enough, a blue Grand Am with 4 people who appeared dark skinned went by. As the car passed, the occupants stared at the police car and then it looked like they started stuffing things under the seats of the car. We immediately pulled the vehicle over and initiated a high risk traffic stop.

For the non-cops, that’s where we point weapons at the vehicle and its occupants; order the people out of the car, handcuffing and searching them and lastly searching the vehicle. So, we slowly and deliberately removed the occupants of the vehicle. Searching them and placing them in the back of arriving squad cars. As we started to interview the subjects from the vehicle, it became painfully apparent that this was not the vehicle and these were not the suspects in the robbery. But, we had already removed them from their car at gunpoint, handcuffed them, searched them and put them in the back of police cars.

What do you think happened next? If you think complaint to the Department and garnered some negative social media coverage, you would be wrong. And the reason why? I used a concept that had been taught to me by Gary Klugiewicz to leave people better than they were. If roles had been reversed and it had been me taken out of the car at gunpoint, I would be angry, embarrassed and maybe even a little scared. We unhandcuffed these gentleman and explained to them about the robbery that had occurred, the description that was given, that they matched it and how we had seen them acting suspiciously in the car which led to us pulling them over. We apologized for putting them through the situation and offered our business cards the name of our supervisor and got them back safely on the road. They actually thanked us for doing the job and keeping people safe.

You might be wondering what they had been stuffing under the seats. We asked them about that because we found nothing in the car. Turns out they were putting on their seat belts because they saw us and didn’t want to get pulled over. A very minor infraction in Wisconsin, at the time. We let them slide on that figuring they had been through enough that night already.


Mouth Memory

Hello, Doug Lynch with Vistelar here.

You may be familiar with the term “muscle memory”, a bit of a misnomer, it is a term used to describe repeating physical movements until they become second nature and one is able to perform them without having to think thru the movement. It is the same as learning to drive a car. At first you have to think through what to do. You see a red light and you think about pressing on the brake pedal. After some time, driving becomes second nature. After a while you even develop the ability to concentrate on a different task while successfully driving in traffic. For instance, carrying on a conversation with passengers. Mouth memory works the same way. Communications techniques are rehearsed until they become second nature and are performed well under stress without conscious effort. And, when practiced enough, allow you to concentrate on other tasks while speaking.

This skillset is crucial in conflict management at the point of impact for several reasons. First, the more you have to concentrate on what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, the less you are able to concentrate on moving to an appropriate resolution. Second, in the heat of the moment, you may say something regrettable. A simple YouTube search will yield many example where appropriate police action suddenly appears questionable due to some unprofessional language.

During my career as a cop, I was involved in a shooting during a domestic violence situation. From the very beginning of this incredibly stressful event, without thinking consciously about it, I found myself speaking commands I had learned many years before in the Sheriff’s Academy and rehearsed many times since in training in an effort to bring about peaceful resolution. Words alone did fail but the actions taken were appropriate. Especially critical, after the suspect was stopped from hurting others, I found myself making statements to the suspect such as “The fight’s over, keep breathing, medical help is on the way.” I had just been in a fight for my life and to protect the lives of others and am not sure what I would have said had I said what felt natural but it would not have been professional.


Jack Hoban

More importantly, an interesting thing happened after speaking those words while applying first aid and awaiting medical assistance. I found myself genuinely trying to help the suspect, who moments before had been trying to kill myself and others, survive his wounds. What you say influences who you become. Jack Hoban teaches that the vast majority of people have a life protecting instinct, it just needs to be developed and trained. I have come to believe that all these years of practicing “mouth memory” had helped me to become the protector I am today. If you haven’t been training on the correct things to say when using force, you need to start now.


Hello, Doug Lynch with Vistelar here. "I will try" it was a phrase I had muttered many times when unsure of myself and mostly these tries ended with failure. Lately, thanks to the coaching of a Bob Lindsey, any time I find myself saying "I'll try", I immediately follow it with the words "and succeed". Have been using this approach for about a month now and can report it is wildly successful. Try it, you'll like it.