Gary Klugiewicz

Healthcare Case Study: Treating People Right

Last week I spent 3 days at the Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin getting my left hip replacement replaced.  My hip had started squeaking a week prior to my operation.  Yes, squeaking that could be easily be heard by people near me.  The doctor told me that my hip was highly worn, had started squeaking, and needed to be replaced.  My hip that was first replaced 8 year ago had worn out.  I wonder how that happened.  Go tell.  I have to say that my operation was completely successful and my stay at the hospital was most enjoyable.  I would like to present a “shout out” the hospital’s staff for a job well done.   I loved the daily staff board pictured below that told you who would be your staff on this shift.  This helped the patient and staff to bond together by personalizing their contact.  Staff also introduced themselves from the doctors to the housekeeping staff.  This introduction answered several important questions for the patient that includes who are you, who do you represent, why are you here, and a relevant question.   This introduction help to set up pleasant and productive interactions.

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I would like to thank all of the hospital staff from the clerical staff that checked me in, to the doctors, nurses, and med techs who treated me, to the food service and housekeeping staff who took care of me.   I would like to present all of them a TREAT PEOPLE RIGHT Card that is pictured below.

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They certainly know how to treat their patients with dignity and show them respect utilizing the Five Maxims that are also posted below.

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One of the components of the Five Maxims that they performed best was the second component that states the you should explain why you are asking someone to do something.   Setting Context helps the person understand why they need to go with the program.  This was done verbally in their interactions with me and in signage like the sign posted below: QUIET PLEASE – Healing Zone.  Instead of tell the person to BE QUIET because I say so, the sign explains the reason why.  QUIET PLEASE – This is a healing zone where your loved ones and other people loved ones are healing and need quiet atmosphere to do so.  This sign gives a visual aid to keep the noise down that can be used to emphasize and explain why.  This is a powerful tool of explanation and persuasion.

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Again thanks to John, Jessica, Kamila, Susie, Chris, Katie, Betty, Jennifer, Beth, Dave, Glenda. Stephanie, Joan, Jamie, Caleb, and any other staff members that I have missed for making my stay so positive, supportive, and successful.

You truly know how to treat people right.


Are you really trying to persuade a person to do something or are you just checking off the boxes.

Hello,  This is Gary Klugiewicz.

Dave Young and I just finished facilitating a four day Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor Class at the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office located near Minneapolis, MN.  It was a very interesting class with lots of interaction with the instructors in the class.   Daniel Zeller, a security patrol lieutenant for Mall of America, brought up an interesting observation that he had made about how officers sometimes use persuasion during officer / citizen contacts.   In VDI training, we spend a great deal of time on the Persuasion Sequence that is a five step process for persuading a person to do what an officer is asking them to do.   Dan has seen this process sometimes circumvented so that it becomes a checklist that allows an officer to take action rather than a vehicle for de-escalation of conflict.   This problem goes way beyond public safety applications and impacts all contact professionals who have to deal with difficult persons.

Read on to see what this VDI Instructor has to say about this issue:

“In regards to the Persuasion Sequence when we are in contact with a subject and want them to do something, some officers may view it as merely a checklist or steps they need to follow in order to make an arrest. Rather than using the technique to generate voluntary compliance, cooperation, and collaboration, they fly through the options and confirming non-compliance because their department policy states that is what they are required to do prior to making an arrest under these circumstances. Although this does not occur with regularity, it can be assumed that it does occasionally happen.

With the newer officers they should be reminded that time is on our side. They should take the time to attempt to persuade the subject and not be so quick to throw on the handcuffs. It would be in our best interest to address it with our line officers and remind them that the Persuasion Sequence is there to do just that, persuade the subject to comply, rather than be taken into custody. We need to be in the guardian mindset and treat these people with dignity and respect.”

Thank you Lt. Zeller for this insight into the challenges of persuasion.   Tom Cline wrote an interesting article entitled “Are You a Helper or Hunter” in American Street Beat that can be accessed at  Are you functioning and using the persuasion sequence as a helper, i.e. protector or as a hunter, i.e., an enforcer?  While public safety officers and other contact professionals have to enforce laws, policies, and rules,  they must always remember that their primary function is that of a protector.   Remember that the purpose of the Persuasion Sequence is to generate voluntary compliance, cooperation, and compliance – not to be a vehicle to quickly take action.   By efficiently and effectively asking, explaining why, presenting options, and giving the person a second chance, you will have the best chance of persuading the person and not have to resort to taking action.

Please post your comments below.


How to Non-escalate your next Loss Protection Customer Contact


This is Gary Klugiewicz.

Check out the post that we found on the wall at a Roundy’s Supermarkets Loss Protection Workshop that Vistelar conducted last week in Madison, WI.  The poster says it all in terms of retail store customer services – especially when the contact deals with possible shoplifting incidents where conflict can become intense.

“Are you ready for your next customer?”

Vistelar is working with Roundy’s Supermarkets to develop a loss protection conflict management program that addresses the entire spectrum of human conflict.   The focus of this training program is to train loss protection staff in ways to non-escalate potential conflicts, de-escalate conflict situations, manage persons in crisis, and training staff in how to manage distance, positioning, and hand placement to keep everyone safe.

This program is being create in conjunction with Tony Sherman and Pablo Velasquez from the Genesis Group who have decades of loss protection expertise.  Vistelar is working with Roundy’s Supermarkets will develop a loss protection workshop that will be easily translated to all types retail stores.  Emphasis will be focused on threat assessment, how to make initial contacts, in store escorts, conflict management strategies while waiting for law enforcement to arrive, and turnover procedures.  Watch for future postings as this program is developed.

Success story


This is Gary Klugiewicz with a great Peace Story video sent to us by Clifford Abel, a Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor who works in the security department of Broward College in Florida.  His story demonstrates the power of the Universal Greeting in initiating a positive contact that allows for the building of rapport that leads to the gathering of information that can prevent and/or reduce conflict.   Clifford approached a student involved in a verbal conflict with another student at the Broward College campus.  These contacts can either take place in a defensive or supportive atmosphere, i.e., the person being approached can either think about this approach as either being a positive or negative contact.  As is often is the case when a person in authority approaches a person unknown to them, the person reacts to the person in authority in a defense way and conflict can begin.   Clifford’s application of the Universal Greeting, Redirection,  Beyond Active Listening, and the Persuasion Tactics allowed for the change from a defensive atmosphere to a supportive one.  Watch the Video and see Clifford work his magic.

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Feel free to comment below.

Rudeness can be perceived as racist


This is Gary Klugiewicz.

I saw this electronic post a couple weeks ago and I have been thinking about it regularly.  I wanted to respond to it but didn’t know exactly how to do so.   The comment made by the chief in the original article linked below was that the comments were rude, not racist.   While he got the types of comments right being “rude” and “racist”, the “not” was not exactly right.

In our Verbal Defense & Influence training, we focus attention on the importance of the term “empathy” and our attempt to look at a situation through the other person’s eyes.  We refer to this as “Active Intelligence Gathering” and explain that, if you don’t know where the person is coming from  i.e., their perceptions, how can you know how to get them to assist you in taking them where you want them to go.

The trouble with being rude is that it is by itself unprofessional and counterproductive.   When your unprofessional behavior is viewed by someone who already believes that you may be a racist. then your rude behavior rapidly becomes what can be perceived as racist.  We spend a great deal of time in our training practicing the Universal Greeting, a professional introduction of “non-escalation” so we never start the slippery slide downhill from rudeness toward what can be perceived as racist behavior.   While we can’t change someone’s preconceived notions of us, we can do a lot to not escalate the negative atmosphere that often exists in a conflict situation.  Keeping the conversation professionally polite even when faced with an angry person will allow you to use “Active Intelligence Gathering” to find out what is causing the conflict. This will allow you the best chance of generating voluntary compliance, lead to cooperation, and even end up in collaboration.

Remember that you are not responsible for the bad decisions made by the person that you are interacting may make but you are responsible for the process.   You want to look good on camera, i.e. professional, where ever the situations ends up.

I look forward to your comments.  Please post them below.

The Power of the SHOWTIME Mindset

Hello,  This is Gary Klugiewicz.  Dave Young and I are teaching a class next week at Access Services, a paratransit services company, located in El Monte, CA.   We will be training both law enforcement and transit professionals.  Watch for additional updates from the class.

I wanted to share this e-mail that I received that addressed the power of the SHOWTIME Mindset in preparing for and prevailing in stressful situations.  The fact that we are training transit professional next week provides a real tie in to this incident.   Cheryl Schattschneider, a Milwaukee area correctional officer, was assigned to drive her facility’s prisoner transportation bus and had to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).  Posted below is the e-mail that she sent me telling me about her experience and the power of the SHOWTIME Mindset in successfully completing her task.



I just wanted to take a moment to thank you. Without even knowing it, you (and VDI, really) helped me to pass my CDL road test. Allow me to explain with a bit of a background story added.

Since I am a K9 handler and weapon certified officer at the House of Correction, I was required to obtain my commercial driver’s license (CDL). I literally procrastinated as long as possible on doing this, as I am a self-proclaimed horrible driver and had absolutely NO desire to drive a bus. Unfortunately the day came that my administration held me accountable and I was pushed to achieve this goal that was set for me.  I was given four days of driving training and experience with Milwaukee County Transit (MCT) on a city bus, and scheduled to take my road test (including a long and technical pre-trip inspection portion) on a cold and snowy December morning. Keep in mind now, I am not at all mechanically inclined and I was afraid to drive a huge bus in even nice weather. Needless to say, I arrived for my test more than just a little bit nervous.

As I arrived early to my appointment, I spent about 30 minutes nervously waiting to meet my examiner and head to the dreaded bus for my test. Then, due to technical difficulties with her computer, I got to be nervous for an extra 30 minutes or so before we were ready to begin. When it was finally time, the examiner looked at me and asked, “Ready?” I nervously replied, “I think so.” The next thing she said to me was, “Okay, SHOWTIME!”

It was amazing how that one simple word had so much power in that moment. I felt myself smile for the first time all morning, and instantly had a sense of calmness and focus. “Showtime”…. I am NOT a mechanically challenged bad driver that should move to a place where it never snows. “Showtime”…. I AM a highly skilled bus driver that knows exactly what I’m talking about when pointing out all of the different parts of the suspension, engine, and brake systems. “Showtime”…. I got this!

So, long story long – I passed. I actually performed better than I thought I would. Not perfect, but pretty darn good. I’m sure the training I received throughout the week played a large role in that. But I also am positive that “Showtime” was what helped me to pull it all together in that moment and succeed.  So, THANK YOU and the VDI team for providing such great training to Milwaukee County Transit that they are clearly utilizing to help train others.

Cheryl A. Schattschneider


Cheryl,  Thank you for sharing your experience with us and reminding us that the SHOWTIME Mindset apply to all stressful situations.

Please provide your comments below to this post.

We would love to hear from you.  You can post your written or video post directly to me at using the vistelar password.  I will review your posts and contact you with any questions.  Or, you an contact me directly at  I look forward to your submissions.

Can Traumatic Brain Injuries lead to Homelessness?

Holiday Greetings to all of our readers.

As we celebrate the holidays with our families, let’s take a moment to think about those people who are less fortunate than us.   Take homeless persons as an example of people less fortunate than many of us.   Radio Health Journal recently did a program on the topic of Brain Based Injuries and Homelessness.  They discussed the possible factors that can lead to homelessness.   One of these factors was brain injuries.   We know that brain injuries can be a factor leading to Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) in our veterans.   We know that many veterans are homeless.   This audiotape discussion of the relationship between brain injuries and homelessness when coupled with plight of many of our veterans raise the possibility of an an interesting relationship between veterans and homelessness.   Listen to the audiotape and give us your comments.

Please do what you can do to support our homeless and our veterans in this time of holiday giving and remembrance.

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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Vistelar conducts a VDI Instructor Class at the Dearborn, MI PD


This is Gary Klugiewicz.

I just finished facilitating a Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor Class at the Dearborn, MI Police Department.  We had a great class with lots of high level collaboration going on as the participants shared their experiences and stories.  We were able to add the new material that will be rolled out at the Vistelar Beyond Conflict Conference that will be held this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Please watch Bill Thompson from the St. Joseph’s County, IN Police Department performing the Five Maxims Elevator Speech Video that explains the Vistelar Core Concept of Treating People with Dignity by Showing Them Respect.   This is done utilizing the Five Maxims which explains how to show people respect.   Bill Thompson did a great job.   Please comment below.

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You never know who you are talking to so you should always try to make a good first impression


This is Gary Klugiewicz from Vistelar.

I would like to share an e-mail that Charles Bell sent to us. Charles is a private security contact professional who attended one of our recent VDI Instructor Classes. He wanted to share one of his positive real life experiences with us. See the e-mail that he sent me posted below. What is interesting about his experience is not so much that he made a good impression on someone he didn’t know was an important person but that he reminded that person of an important lesson. This lesson was that no matter who you are that the Universal Greeting with 1. an appropriate greeting, 2. a professional introduction including your name and affiliation, 3. an explanation of why you are there, and 4. an appropriate question that opens the door to a pleasant, professional, meaningful contact.

Thank you Charles for sharing this important lesson with us.

Good afternoon Gary,

This is Charles from the Shelby County class. Just wanted to pass along an experience I had at work earlier today. I was assisting customers and people parking in a busy part of the building and outside in the parking area. One gentleman parked, exited his car, and walked towards me. I immediately went into the Universal Greeting, using the Five Maxims (Four Appeals). He then informed me he was the property manager in charge of this particular site and gave me his business card. He seemed impressed with how I treated him, even though I had no idea who he was at the time. He even mumbled “I should’ve told you ‘who’ I was”, as we were walking, talking, and he was passing on valuable information about the site.

He was a very nice gentleman and I’m thinking it left a good image for my company, as he noticed my command presence and professionalism. And, as a major decision maker and influencer in our company’s relationship, he was assured that this is how I was treating everyone. (dignity and respect), just as I had been doing all week. I have been using these tactics in some form or another since the early 90’s in law enforcement, but this class really helped me solidify the techniques by reinforcing the concepts through practicing, and having that powerful pre-planned response.

Thanks sir for all you do!


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