Re-imagine your Communication

Spring 2014


Greetings Colleagues and Community,

Pentimento is a term used used to describe an alternation in a painting usually discovered when there are traces of a previous work underneath the surface.  It demonstrates that the artist changed his or her mind about the painting's composition during the process.

As Spring reveals mother nature's change of composition - we too can be reminded of our individual ability to change the conversation, course correct for forge a new and different path than we may have originally intended.

For me, the knowledge that we can re-imagine or recreate makes life interesting and keeps us hungry for new insights through continuous leaning and exploration.  Every conversation and communication we encounter offers fresh possibilities for insights and increased awareness.

Channeling pentimento, I encourage you to keep your heart and mind open for what's new and what's next.  Who knows what might be revealed, just below the surface?

Mari Pat Varga  Visit our new website! 

Yes, it was time to re-imagine our website so I invite you to visit and look around.  You'll find:
  • Newsletter sign-up where you will receive 54 tips for communication success
  • Free template to conduct your own personal communication assessment 
  • Video library and article archive of communication best practices
  • Opportunity to register for a complimentary 20 minute communication consultation

Everything we do and say is a conversation

In the course of each day we find ourselves in multitudes of conversations - often without saying a word.  Consider the following moments you might encounter during your day.  What message are you conveying?
  • En route to your office desk, do you acknowledge and greet your co-workers?
  • Do you put away your phone when embarking on an important conversation? 
  • If someone waves you into a lane of traffic, do you wave a "thank you" back?
  • At a meeting do you make eye contact with the presenter?
  • Do you take time to personally thank a co-worker for their help?
  • Do you demonstrate cool and compassion when things don't go our way?
  • Do you let people go in front of you in line?

It is all about what we value and where we place out attention. We often evaluate our communication on what we do and say but it can be equally valuable to notice the opportunities we bypass. You can actually make someone's day with an intentional hello. I recall the recommendation that when staying at the home of another to "leave it better than you found it."  Regarding our everyday communication, it can be empowering to think that through the smallest of gestures, smiles and thoughtful words, we can leave the world a little better than we found it. 


How does your organization's communication measure up?

Do you ever wonder why key messages or core initiatives don't seem to reach all employees?  Recently I worked with a global organization that had launched an internal branding campaign two months earlier.  The campaign spared no expense and leveraged their intranet with beautiful campaign graphics, internal memos from leadership, and t-shirts, to name just a few promotional activities.  As I worked with members of the internal marketing and communications team, one of the guest speakers invited to the meeting (a senior human resource professional) came to share more about the important internal campaign.  As I look around the room I could tell that some looked as if this was the first time they were hearing about it - and in fact, half of the group of company communicators were unaware of the campaign.

How could this be?  The art of cascading key messages throughout an organization is often underestimated.  It is both challenging and critically important.

If you'd like to assess how well your organization or team cascades communication, we invite you to participate in our new

The Corporate Cascade Challenge

This experiential simulation was launched years ago by Dr. Edwin C. Nevis at MIT's Sloan School of Management.  The simulation has been facilitated around the world -- and a group of engineers from Volvo in Sweden currently holding the world record for completing it!  The simulation can be done in less than three hours and works best with a minimum of 14 participants but can accommodate as many as 200 or more.  It is a simple process (I cannot reveal much here as the less that is known, the more powerful the exercise) with incredibly eye-opening results that address how and where communication breaks down (and breaks through) in organizations and on teams - and most importantly how to do it differently in order to be effective.

Recent participants shared:

"This opened my eyes to where communication gets bottle-necked in our company."  "Assume nothing."  "Every question deserves an answer."  "Communication is key and when in doubt, over communicating is better than not communicating at all."  "Make sure everyone is on board and in sync with the mission."

Learn More: or call us at 773 989-7348 to see how this powerful simulation could work in your organization.

Book a Corporate Cascade Challenge in 2014 by May 1st to receive a 25% discount on the experience.

Thank you notes 
What's old is new again

Recently while waiting for a flight connection in Miami's airport, I sat in a restaurant with a collection of note cards I was working on.  An older gentleman sitting an a table near me leaned closer and said, "Its so nice to see someone actually writing with a pen in hand.  It is rare these days."  His comment surprised me at first but I had to acknowledge the truth in it.

Growing up, my mother had a huge selection of note cards in all designs, colors and sizes.  After receiving a gift or visiting someone's home, out came the boxes of cards, and my mother's firm but loving reminder that it was good manners to say thank you in writing.

The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon's has a segment every Friday night called "Thank you notes." In a recent article in the New York Times called "The Found Art of Thank You Cards" the author Guy Trebay shares how Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon "is both ribbing and breathing life into a custom many felt was headed the way of the dodo. "Thank you, cotton candy," Mr. Fallon scribbles on a correspondence card, "for making my grandmother's hair look delicious." Thank you, "bowling, for giving me an excuse to drink with somebody else's shoes on."  Trebay goes on to say, "Mr. Fallon's routine is a hoot, of course, a joke that points up the truth that the boring stuff your parents made you do never actually goes out of fashion and that also inadvertently supports recent scientific findings linking gratitude to increased optimism, stress reduction and a better night's sleep. Few who sit down to write a bread-and-butter note are likely to be aware that by doing so they are not only on trend but also on their way to becoming happier and more sociable people."

The next time you want to thank someone for their kindness or helpful gesture - say no to a text, email or instagram.  Take a trip to a stationary store and buy a few colorful boxes of beautifully designed cards and be sure that you get a pen that feels good in your hand.  Choose three people who you want to thank and mail them a card.  It will feel good to say, Thank you.... and it will be a delight to receive.


Thank you for your inspiration and partnership!
Let's have a conversation today about how we can help you communicate strategically.

Mari Pat Varga 

Office: 773.989.7348
Cell: 312.841.0650 


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