Testimonials

What satisfied clients are saying…

“While participating in a recent leadership workshop, the topic of the rumor mill came up. I immediately found myself referencing one of Steven’s principles and reminded the group that, in the absence of “notice,” people will fill in the gaps with “ imagine,” and stressed the importance of transparency when dealing with others. In discussing how receptive people are to messaging, I cited another Gaffney principle- “Tone has 5 times the impact of words,” a point that is substantiated with statistics. Later in the day, as we continued to discuss how to have effective conversations with others, I stressed the importance of framing conversations in terms of “what’s in it for them.”

Since participating in Steven’s Notice vs. Imagine workshop, I find myself frequently utilizing what I learned, and also referencing it with others. It has made a significant impact on my ability to communicate more effectively.”

Nancy Richter, Chief Exploration Geologist, Barrick Gold Exploration, Inc.
“The presentation that Steven Gaffney gave on “Tackling the Tough Conversation” at our association’s annual meeting was a huge success. Our members are lawyers and most of our continuing education programming is on substantive legal topics. This presentation – focused on a “soft,” but essential, skill – was a very welcome change of pace. Attendees found the guidance on honest communication extremely valuable and immediately applicable to their work lives – and beyond. They loved Steven’s energy level and enthusiastic delivery. And they greatly enjoyed the brief exercises during which they got to practice the techniques Steven described. Thank you so much, Steven. Your engaging presentation was a great way to kick off our new year!”
Ilene G. Reid, Executive Director, ACC National Capital Region
“Steven was first hired by my organization to work on communication skills with my global exploration team. The team was interested in learning more about collaboration, delivering difficult messages, and influencing techniques. Steven’s first workshop with us was fantastic, relevant, engaging, personal, and the participation level was excellent! By the end of the day, practically the entire group was energized and confident that they had a new skill they could implement immediately. I was so surprised by how impactful it was for being just one day! As a result, the level of honest, open communication and trust we have in each other as a group has been elevated. We redid an employee engagement survey and it vastly improved- I attribute much of that to Steven’s work with us. It was definitely the best one-day workshop I have ever participated in. We subsequently hired him for several follow-up sessions as well.

The best part of working with Steven was how invested he was in my company’s success. To him, it was not just a business deal but a passion to help us. He invited any of the leaders to call him for advice and I took him up on the offer many times. I have really used him as a sounding board and find our conversations truly valuable. He even sent me some of his materials when I was faced with a challenge including “The Fish Isn’t Sick…the Water’s Dirty” audio course, and I have highlighted the workbook and referred back to it quite a few times.”

Rob Krcmarov, SVP of Global Exploration, Barrick Gold Corporation
“Steven came to me highly recommended from other areas in my organization when I first took over a failing business unit. I had great people on my leadership team, but they needed cohesion and alignment and were all pulling in different directions. From his very first session with us, Steven walked into a room of people glaring at him and won them over. The magic happened because he gave everyone a shared language to communicate with each other. We noticed immediate results- within 10 days, the hostility was removed from their relationships and some of the most difficult players were speaking to each other using Steven’s terms. After working with my senior leaders, I incorporated further sessions with Steven, moving down the layers of the 2400 people in my organization. Through his work with my top executives and then throughout the rest of the group, Steven laid the groundwork for us to take the business unit from $200 million to $800 million in just four years.

Steven’s work is so impactful because it’s such a solid core value system- not only do the basic fundamentals of honest communication really work, but it sticks because it is so elegant yet easy to implement. Building on his “Notice vs. Imagine” technique, I watched people start to realize that their preconceived notions were shaping what they thought people were actually saying to them.  It helped them to get down to just the facts, which built confidence, trust, and removed any threats within the team. People started proactively sharing the “why” and not just the “what” behind their decisions and reactions. This allowed them to respect each other more, and you no longer had to sell people from zero on a strategy or approach because they had a higher appreciation for each other. People understood the value of this extremely fast, and the work took hold in the organization.

Personally, Steven was also my executive coach and advisor during my time as the Business Unit General Manager. He was an excellent sounding board for me to bounce new ideas off of, and helped me clean out unintended messages that would come across when I was preparing presentations. His content was (and still is) always so fresh and original- there’s nothing else like it out there. He also helped me to smooth relations among executives, something beneficial to any leader in any organization.

Steven is in a class by himself in every way- not only as a communicator, but as a facilitator, presenter, and writer. For the last nine years, all of his materials I’ve received have been really, really useful. I’ve sent articles, books, and videos to friends and colleagues and it’s remarkable how much his messages resonate. Even his TV interviews are so applicable and powerful- I can tell that he knocks the host’s socks off! To this day, nine years after I first heard of his work and years since his executive coaching with me was completed, Steven’s help has continued to assist me in both my professional and personal life. I’m proud to call him my friend and look forward to the ingenious work he continues to put out- the world sure needs it!”

Larry Cox, COO, EMM Technology
“I first hired Steven 10 years ago as part of a program for my entire staff of about 1000 IT professionals. Today, a decade later as an HR director, I’ve continued to recommend his techniques when I coach people with interpersonal conflicts, communication challenges, and managers who have performance challenges. I’ve actually developed a sample script based on Steven’s material and have been giving it out ever since I learned it. Steven’s work gives people tools that allow them to have effective conversations when they might not be able to do so otherwise. Sometimes people don’t know how to deal with contentious relationships, and Steven’s “Notice vs. Imagine” strategy allows people to have successful tough conversations.

Compared to other speakers and trainers I have used in the past, Steven is not only much better overall, but his material is practical, easy to use, understandable and backed up with experiences and credibility. He is always open, honest, willing to talk about issues, and consider other ways of how to make his material work and stick in the organization. When we worked together, we always brainstormed and developed ideas and solutions as a team, which was very important to me as a client. So many other consultants are stuck and set in their ways, but Steven worked with me to come up with custom solutions to my organization’s needs and did not just apply a general cookie cutter method.

Personally, Steven’s idea of “the more that you get you may be wrong, the better your life will be” has really changed my outlook on life. Sitting in his seminars ten years ago, I used to think that I almost always had the right answers, but after listening to Steven, I realized that what he taught was totally spot-on. Realizing this completely changed who I am. Today, I’m much more humble, calm, and open-minded. I approach things differently and am able to work better with others because I check in with them about their ideas and opinions before sharing mine. I credit Steven’s materials for this life-changing turn in my professional and personal life.”

Jim Muehring, HR Practice Leader, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
“The Steven Gaffney Company has been extremely well-received in my organization. Steven has truly taken the time to understand our company and has tailored his knowledge and support to actually fit our specific needs and direction. We have been through several changes and re-organizations, and universally, his sessions have contributed positively to our growth. As a result of his sessions, I’ve clearly seen improved interactions between individual employees. He really has the ability to bring out insights and instill focus on whatever ongoing issues our teams are facing, as well as any new opportunities that will help the business to succeed. Steven has been our go-to speaker and trainer; we’ve continued to use him over anyone else because we like the results he produces.”
John Thomas, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer, Leidos
“Steven’s high energy and delivery style enables him to engage easily with his audience. He makes a positive and lasting impact!”
Katherine Kerchner, Vice President, Finance & Business Operations, Lockheed Martin
“The Steven Gaffney Company has made an incredible contribution historically to our company and through their continued efforts, have been key contributors in setting our values and belief systems going forward. Steven Gaffney, the founder himself, has an incredible capacity to listen, assess, and to help you understand and embrace the differences between reality and perception through his engagement style. His thoughtful demeanor allows him to become part of your leadership journey, and it enables him to leverage his unique insights and experience into enabling a team to achieve its highest potential performance. He is exceptional at building and developing trust that will help your people to operate as a unified and transparent organization.”
Stu Shea, President and Chief Operating Officer, Leidos
“We hired Steven to present at two of my association’s membership meetings, and they have been two of our best attended and received educational programs. The participants gave me nothing but rave reviews from the presentations, particularly commenting on how universal and helpful his principles were in both their businesses and personal lives. Steven is extremely thorough in his preparation for, and customization of the programs; something you do not get from other presenters. Because of how detailed and well thought-out our conversations leading up to the meetings were, I felt very confident, positive, and knew exactly what I was going to get.”
Baron Derr, Executive Vice President, SMACNA-Western Washington
“Steven’s communication coaching skills have been invaluable to us. The ways in which what one says can differ from what another hears are a constant source of amazement, as well, of course, of misunderstanding and inefficiency. Steven’s skills are as relevant to our personal lives as they are to our professional ones.”
Jeff MacLauchlan, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Lockheed Martin
“Steven’s session was one of the highest rated programs that we’ve ever run at our school. He has this way of connecting with his audience that makes his ideas and techniques much more accessible and his sense of humor makes him extremely relatable to his audience. In just 3 days after his session, I have already saved over 9 hours of time by using his techniques in resolving issues with my employees.… Steven has created a winning formula for success and we will continue to use what he has taught us on a daily basis.”
John Popoli, President, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management
“Just a note to let you know that [Steven Gaffney’s] communications seminar I took back in October 2001… is still the most practical, powerful, and immediately useful training course I have ever taken. I have used the techniques to reach employees, bosses, and my kids, and review it regularly to help me remember how to listen and communicate effectively.”
Scott Ingersoll, Boeing

“I highly recommend Steven’s “Notice vs. Imagine” session both personally and professionally. I was really surprised with the course because many people think that simple concepts aren’t powerful. I found that “Notice vs. Imagine,” however, was elegant in its simplicity but contained extremely powerful principles. The session was received very well by both our executive and senior leadership teams. I have never seen these groups take such detailed notes!In addition, most of the things that are in my field are highly technical and don’t really have a lot to do with “life” in general. I was very pleased with this session because it was as equally applicable to my personal life as it was in the workplace. I shared the concepts not only professionally, but also with my family because the insights were so profound.

Dr. Bruce Burton, Deputy to the President, L-3 STRATIS
“As a leader of over 2,200 employees in 50 locations worldwide, the results of The Steven Gaffney Company and their training has been some of the best work we’ve ever hired anyone to do! It has helped our team come together and work more effectively as a whole. Our employees are much more integrated than they were in the past, and are now able to overcome a lot of internal issues on their own. As a result of Steven’s work, they are more open to the inevitable change and have learned to accept it, which in turn, has allowed them to move forward and confront difficult external issues. The strategies that Steven teaches are very powerful and have been extremely effective in changing our communication style, enabling us to have our best quarter ever!”
Chuck Zang, Business Unit General Manager, SAIC
“Steven is one of the best external speakers we’ve ever hired! The conference planning team felt that Steven treated Mustang as more than just another paycheck. He truly cares about helping our organization grow, which is not always the case with other speakers. The Steven Gaffney Company conducted extensive pre-work, including industry research and interviews with our staff. That pre-work allowed Steven to use specific examples within his seminar that were applicable to our unique challenges and needs. Many speakers are easily forgettable, but Steven’s strategies were memorable and implemented almost immediately. Steven’s message is something the engineering and construction industry needs more of!”
Chad Supan, Manager of Market Research, Mustang Engineering
“I’ve attended countless seminars and training sessions in my 20 years in the corporate world and Steven’s “The Fish Isn’t Sick…The Water’s Dirty” seminar was by far, the most valuable seminar I’ve ever attended! Not only were we able to immediately walk away from the session applying what we have learned, but we continue to live by his techniques every day. After Steven’s session, productivity in our department has increased tremendously. My employees save countless hours by talking to each other instead of talking about each other. The results have been truly amazing!”
Sheril Ray, BP
“We are very happy with the results of Steven’s seminar. He presented information in a way that made it easy for us to implement the strategies, techniques and tips to improve communication in our division. Applying techniques from the “Notice v. Imagine” seminar has helped us to demonstrate our respect and appreciation for each other much more. I’ve noticed that when issues surface, they are being resolved more quickly with less back-and-forth. The follow-up after the seminar was tremendously valuable in reinforcing the things we learned. Steven’s seminar gave us the tools and strategies to overcome communication barriers, making room for productive conversations that generate solutions.”
Stephanie Ruiz, Congressional Budget Office
“Having been a colleague of Steven’s for many years, I have witnessed his dynamic approach to consulting and the valuable learning experience he provides. Steven is client-focused and conducts extensive pre-work to uncover clients’ true needs. From the specific examples he gives to the strategies he recommends, Steven customizes his work for each client to ensure they achieve their desired results. The way in which Steven presents the information makes it easy for his audience to learn. The vocabulary he uses is picked up rather quickly by participants and gives them a common language and framework to use when implementing his tactics.”
Dr. Jennifer L. Wild, CEO, Alternate Perspectives Incorporated
“Usually when you think of communication, you think of the typical communication and listening skills, but what Steven presented to us was something so much better and so much more than that. Within two hours, he was able to show us where the most essential barriers of communication are and how to take them down quickly so it can immediately impact our business growth and bottom line. With Steven’s energetic and engaging approach, this session was one of the most, well-attended sessions we’ve ever had. The results and feedback from the participants well-exceeded our expectations!”
Joan Steltman, VP Enterprise Advancement, Lake Forest Graduate School
“The seminar that I attended in May (2009) was wonderful!! I just wanted to let you know that I have applied many of your techniques and they truly work. After your seminar I was able to address a workplace issue and it has greatly improved a working relationship! I also changed my approach to a lot of things in my personal life since the meeting. Growth is awesome! Thank you for being so wise in your young age!!”
Mary Ann Wilson, SAIC
“This book is a road map for communicating effectively on all levels. It’s a message we should all strive to incorporate into our daily lives.”
Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International
“The Fish Isn’t Sick…The Water’s Dirty was the best course I have ever attended.”
David Porubovic, Marriott International
“I was initiated into the treasure trove of communication tools, so passionately presented by Steven Gaffney, through “The Fish isn’t Sick…the Water’s Dirty.” At the time, I was the Executive Officer of an organization operating in an environment where the Command Climate was abysmally low. The workforce was fraught with ambiguity and distrust. We embarked on a Command-wide effort to provide the organization with Steven’s tools for honest and effective communication. The dramatic, near immediate, positive results were evident in the surge in Command Climate survey results and more importantly, customer satisfaction and workforce performance.”
Marion Eggenberger, CAPT (ret), SC, USN
“Every once in awhile a book comes’ your way and you just can’t stop reading till your done! That has happened twice in the past couple months. The first was “Honesty Works” which was so inspiring that we scheduled Steven to share his message and training to 150 of our affiliates at a conference. At that conference I received a copy of “Just Be Honest” the second book I couldn’t put down! We have received so much positive feedback from our affiliates, I think our organization just experienced a transforming moment, I know I did!”
Rick. L. Root, Assistant to the General President
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO-CLC
“Authentic, honest, genuine, an amazing Trainer. Steven Gaffney dispels the often trained and often used “gimmicks’ and ‘manipulative communication techniques’ in the workplace and presents some very unique and effective communication tools that get people talking, sharing, listening and clarifying; which translates into a greater level of understanding and openness. His communication tools are so effective, yet uncomplicated. They help employees get the unsaid said without leaving battle wounds. A must for all organizations and at all levels.”
Vicki G. Brooks, Deputy Director, Ut Prosium
“Thank you for your fantastic presentation on communication. It was way beyond what we expected. The Notice vs. Imagine system we learned has, and will continue to, make a positive difference within our organization for years to come. Your energy, enthusiasm, and the credibility you bring to the material was an absolute homerun. The International Organization was so impressed with the presentation and results that we are now planning to have you deliver this training throughout the rest of the regions in the U.S. and Canada. Thanks again, I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.”
Doug Christopher, Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer, District Council 16
“Steven was incredibly dynamic, incorporating humor, irony, and experienced insight into his “Honest Communication” presentation. He effectively tied a universally applicable communications model to our attendees’ specific healthcare industry, making the message all the more poignant by integrating personal examples with interactive exercises. Fabulously presented, informative, and effective.”
Kate Shaughnessy, Member Relations Manager, Oncology Nursing Society
“Steven’s exercise on recognizing errorous assumptions was powerful for me. Since hearing him speak and give this example, I often ask myself (at work and in my personal life) “could I be wrong about this?” It has opened me up to many new an improved relationships. It has helped me see the people work with and live with in a new way; with less judgement and criticism. The very night that I heard Steven speak, I had a conversation with someone I loved very much. It was a difficult conversation, but I repeated “could I be wrong about this?” in my mind several times and it changed the tone of the conversation, ultimately saving the relationship.”
Suzette Smith, EWI Chapter Member
“Steven’s presentation was quite informative, and I benefited from attending the session. I make a concerted effort to utilize Steven’s recommendations during my daily interactions. Thank you and your team for the program.”
Jocelyn Hunter, Manager of Community Development, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
“Steven’s training helped our directors break down stove pipes, and wok as a strategic, systemic team, which transformed the entire organization.”
Carol Davison, Talent Manager, Department of Commerce
“I have attended many seminars over the last 10 years and Steven’s approach as well as the way he presents his material is the best I have ever seen. His real to life examples are engaging and extremely thought prooking, and our entire team couldn’t wait to apply his open and honest communication techniques. We’re a better organization and team because of Steven’s seminar. He really produces results!”
Doug Daniels, VP, SAIC
“I used Steven Gaffney’s communication strategies to win a $20 million contract that we had previously lost…”
Allison Rosen, Deputy Group Manager
“Steve’s program and style held a room of senior managers attentive and interested for 4.5 hours – straight. The lessons and techniques learned in that one session have turned around a number of client relationships that are critical to our success as a team and as a company. His post-program availability has been highly valued – especially as “emergency room” conditions have required refresher advice on tactics for specific situations.”
Christopher P. Augustin, Managing Director, A Global Financial Institution
“Throughout my career as an event planner I have had the privilege of working with some of the finest speakers available in the world. Never has a guest speaker connected with an audience the way that Steven Gaffney connected with our group. His work is topical and essential to any relationship. I can hardly think of a more important lesson topic for corporate management then honest communication; and I can certainly not think of a more qualified person to deliver the message then Steven Gaffney.”
Jan Avant, Membership Director, Anthony Robbins Platinum Partnership
“One of the best seminars I have attended over the past 15 years!”
Randall Wright, Division Manager
“Steven was the best speaker at our conference! We had a couple of great speakers but no one moved me like he did. I was able to put into practice the strategies he taught us immediately.”
Patty Ryan, PhD, RN, AOCN, Abraxis Oncology
“Steven is an excellent presenter and coach. The ‘Open & Honest Communication System’ course is hands on and created a ‘can do’ environment, and offers practical tools to become an effective communicator at work and also at home.”
Ian Springett, V. P. and CFO, BP America Inc.
“Steven’s presentation was timely, informative and serves as a valuable basis for effective communications within our Organization. Participant feedback has been very positive.”
Tim Harris, V.P., Human Resources, Raytheon
“Steven is a very dynamic speaker. He kept our VPs and Directors engaged and provided them with valuable take-aways.”
Christian Mari, General Manager, The Mayflower Hotel
“I attended Steve’s course “The Fish Isn’t Sick… The Water’s Dirty” back in January. Since that time, I have referred to not only what I learned in the course, but the reference manual (which I still keep on top of my desk four years later) in my day-to-day communications. Steve’s guidance on everyday communication has helped me get to my point quickly and deal with communication issues much more effectively. I am always recommending to my friends and colleagues to read his books and attend his seminars.”
Christopher Cobb, V.P., SAIC
“Your seminar at the Menttium forum on ‘Just be Honest’ was very impactful. Instead of getting engrossed in your presentation I decided at the onset to watch the reaction around the room in order to assess your success in delivering your message. What I saw will stay with me for life. You clearly struck a cord with all the participants in your message that honest communication is a guiding principal in life both personal and in business.”
Diane Lambert, Director of Training and Development, Entertainment Publications, Inc.
“The most effective, empowering communications class I’ve ever taken… This class enables you to speak in a very non-threatening way while at the same time allowing you to feel as if you are totally in control.”
Robin Williams, Senior Support Analyst
“Steven was fantastic! He was so prepared and really put himself in the shoes of the group and all the pressures that we experience. We wanted more time with him! The group uses the communication strategies on a daily basis and is more prepared for difficult situations and conversations.”
Renee Davis, Manager
“Fantastic! This will probably change my life and relationships forever! Keep on doing exactly what you are doing!”
Randy Wong, Photographer
“Before the course, I was expecting impractical, touchy-feely information. After the course, I was extremely pleased because we learned very practical methodologies that are useful both at work and at home. I have noticed palpable results from the course participants. They now prepare for difficult conversations and are able to breach sensitive issues with teammates… The staff will be more effective at work and their home lives will be enriched as well.”
Patrick David, Acting Director
“I found this program to be very encouraging and eminently practical. Our whole life is about relationships. This course will be greatly helpful in solidifying our relationships with everyone around us. It’s more than a work thing… it’s a life thing.”
Craig Amundson, APM-SDE
“Steven is a miracle worker! The communication tactics and skills that Steven taught our group have created a common language and has addressed issues that I never thought in a million years could have been resolved. The seminar has significantly improved our team spirit, productivity and customer service.”
Cyndi Urbano, Division Manager, Corporate Creative Services
“One of the best classes I have attended. I will be able to have more honest and meaningful talks with the people in the office. I will be able to use these techniques to clear up some of the issues that have been outstanding.”
Matt Bogart, Security Specialist
“This program is excellent and needs to be presented to group organizations to build better understanding and communication.”
Ines Sander, Office Management Assistant
“Great system that is worth taking the time to implement!”
Janice Ausby, Associate Director