How To Get Full Attention From Your Audience

"Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages. However, communication is effective only when the message is understood and when it stimulates action or encourages the receiver to think in new ways." (Courtland L. Bovée, John V. Thill, and Barbara E. Schatzman, Business Communication Essentials. Pearson, 2004)

As we are buried in endless communication from every channel, we need to bypass information overload and help our audience capture and lock into their memory?

In the beginning, its simple…

Being the first employee for a startup, I designed and implemented the operational processes used with the systems to support the voice SaaS business. At Geckotech, I led the teams responsible for implementation, customer service, and the data center infrastructure. Since we were all located within one office, communicating change was simple - and it occurred frequently. A combination of email communication, weekly training sessions, and management of defined metrics was a great recipe for success.

Once business grow into more than one location, the recipe needs to adapt. In fact, using an application called RescueTime  to understand productivity by application use, I noticed that my email usage went from 5 hours a week to 15 hours a week when managing teams across different locations!

When you grow, it becomes a challenge...

When M5 Networks acquired Geckotech, I transitioned to oversee business process and the service delivery teams which span across several locations. As a growing business implementing new technology and systems, it was a careful challenge to communicate change effectively and continue to maintain top NPS scores. Technology and systems will only have the expected impact when the people and change process are managed properly.

Emails, meetings, Powerpoint decks posted on chatter, and knowledge base articles didn’t seem to be enough to effectively communicate the information required to both the impacted teams and the rest of the company. After all, everyone else is using the same communication channels. Rewind back to the comment about information overload... As a company, we adopted quarterly change sprints so make change consistent. Even with a corporate movement, there is room for creativity.

It’s time to disrupt the norm…

I can almost guarantee your message will be the only one in the restroom. Just like we need to take some time away from our smartphone and technology at times, we also need a ‘bio’ break!

I found the ‘sacred’ place a great way to capture everyone’s attention and generate some funny emails from those who were shocked by the placement. Here are some tips that I learned along the way through positive and constructive feedback which I used to iterate into the weekly posts.

Now, it is your turn!

Here are some tips on how to make your “Flush” most effective:

The Content 

Keep it simple with key messages and bullets

Repeat message from other communication channels

Provide online knowledge base source to access details

Use as a source to compliment individuals

Execution is Key

Choose an ambassador at each site to post in all stalls (and remind them to be careful when entering the opposite sex restroom...) 

Post it at the right place on the stall door AND standing height for men

Consistently provide new material and announce via email or meeting

Email a PDF version to remote workers separately (While worth a shot, I doubt they will post it at home) 

What do you think? Give it a try. I would love to hear the feedback and results.

Yours Truly,


Curious about Information Overload? Check out this article from Forbes.


5 Tips to Shine... #5 Be A Flip Flopper: Keep Change Constant

Be a Flip Flopper: Mix up your daily routine to keep your brain active

One of my peers at work told me that I have the ability to light up any room. The light comes from the inside and shines through confidence, being genuine and caring, and staying positive with a smile.

We all have heard the phrase - beauty is skin deep, it’s who you are on the inside that truly matters. Here are some tips to save valuable time and money, while you let your inner beauty shine.

Take this for what it is worth… When I say ‘be a flip flopper’, I mean don’t get stuck in the same daily routine.

When we are stuck on ‘auto-pilot’ we are doing things subconsciously. Keep your brain active by practicing methods for sparking creativity.  Know when to kick the bad habits - which can include the daily routines and ‘auto pilot’ monotony that unwittingly stifle creativity - and learn how to pick up new ones that will enhance your well-being and productivity.  If you’re in a negative rut, make the conscious choice to ‘flip flop’ to a positive one.

Here is a story of a friend and vendor who is a partner in crime for an authentic and positive lifestyle - and an inspiration for this tip.

He and I share a love for operations and process so we immediately connected the first time we met. Our minds were always spinning on how we could leverage and optimize our processes. During a visit a few years ago, he was so kind to pick me up at the Cincinnati airport. When I got in the car, I noticed he had a beard, which was not his ‘normal’ look…  

He began to explain that he often changes his daily routine in order to mix up the subconscious.  He first learned this technique that I labeled 'Flip Flopping' during his training as a young Marine, and successfully continues to use them some twenty years later. 

 As he explained it: 

I had this great instructor during my primary occupational training; he was a 25-year Master Gunnery Sergeant (aka ‘Top’), who happened to have a degree in Psychology. I was trained at Landing Force Training Command Pacific (LFTC-PAC), Coronado, CA as a Logistician.

Effective logistics requires stringent adherence to proven SOPs for moving troops and cargo expeditiously, and while utilizing various modes of transportation (air, land and sea) under adverse or frequently changing conditions.

That said, our instructor, ‘Top’, would often admonish: ‘once you are assigned to your duty stations, do NOT become stuck in the rut of “this is the way we always do it”. Instead, remain always flexible to adapting creative approaches when the usual SOP cannot be applied. Be able to change and adapt, or die.’

Top said that in order to stay flexible, we had to both recognize and then make the conscious choice to mix things up when life becomes routine.

What he said next to our class was very intriguing: ‘I want you to try an experiment. The next time you shave and/or brush your teeth, put on your socks and boots, your trousers, etc—I want you to simply use the opposite hand or start on the opposite side.

If you normally put on your right sock first, then start with your left. If you shave from your right side to left, then start on your left side. If you brush your teeth from the left side to right, then switch hands and start on the opposite side. Just pick one habit per day, change it, and then let me know how your day goes from there…’

Well, we followed Top’s direction and the results were interesting. Over the next few days of classes he went around the room to ask about our reactions, and a lot of us reported common experiences: awkwardness, being off-balance, baffled by how much thought went in to (or not) something so basic and, in general, how something as seemingly simple as changing which side of our face we shaved first, somehow affected our perspective on the day ahead. Overall, we agreed that it did have an effect. Top explained this, partly, as the result of invoking and exercising brain hemispheres and states of brainwave (alpha, beta, theta, etc).
— My dear friend

He concluded this history by commenting that he was grateful for the lesson and continues to apply these and other techniques for avoiding the doldrums.   

While developing this article I sent him this link and he replied at once with enthusiasm:  “That’s it- this article explains some of the principles that Top was trying to convey to us so many years ago..!” I appreciate that he helped retell the story from many years ago.

You may think that a few Operations geeks that were so into process would not be fans of change; however, it’s the opposite. We all need to embrace change and creativity to improve how we love, live, and work. When change is constant, it becomes the norm. When we change together, it makes the biggest impact.

 “Your actions determine which direction your life moves in. Therefore, to change the direction in your life, you must change your actions.”

Yours Truly