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September 17, 2019

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The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’


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    Entries in communications (4)


    Would Warnie play on your team?

    When the team you're in reaches a target, hits the mark or achieves success, do you do this....

    ... run in to a huddle, cheer, applaud, lifting each other into the air, hug each other and give hugely rewarding pats on the back and high praise?

    Do you do this several times in a day? 

    Do you then watch a replay to see how awesome that success was?

    I’ve been watching the summer cricket matches with different eyes ... the eyes of a team or project leader; a leader who needs to get their teams to do great stuff! Everyday!

    Too often we’re seated at desks when someone announces a target is hit, or we’re in a meeting or conversation.

    Boring voice, stays seated  ... 'yawn. Yeah that’s great. Well done.' 

    Our responses are cold and stale. So DIS-engaging. So…. robotic and machine-like.

    Fire up ! Bring some game-style celebrations to the work you and your team are doing. You are hitting milestones and targets and you’re not making much of a deal about it.

    Start making a big deal about it!

    Get into a huddle, give huge applause, give great recognition and celebrate truly, loudly with cheers and ‘hoorays’ and smiles and laughter and back slaps and high fives – then watch the replay and relive it all over again! And again…

    Remind people what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how great they’re doing. Warmth, humanity, fun, games, collaboration, creative, communicative, rewarding…. we’re human after all.





    Make those comms cut through

    It's summer time on the southern part of the globe here in Melbourne, Australia. Living by Port Phillip Bay and Station Pier we see the shiny white cruise ships coming and going. People heading off on the cruise of a lifetime.

    I imagine there are blue and white striped deck chairs on the top deck, with passengers snoozing and dozing enjoying the sea breezes and blue skies.

    Look around your office or workplace and you'll see team members on their 'desk chairs' enjoying the air conditioning, the internet, and if lucky, a view out a window. Hopefully they're not snoozing and dozing but they certainly aren't sitting there, highly alert, waiting on your message or communication. Sorry, you're not the captain saying 'abandon ship' nor the activities officer announcing Happy Hour has started!

    When you launch a communication effort - for a project, a piece of work or a new service or idea - your audiences are ..... snoozing. They're 'latent' or dormant. And before they'll take in any of your communication, you'll need to wake them up so they're 'aware'. Once they're aware, you'll be able to guide them towards being 'active' and engaged.

    1. Latent.
    2. Aware.
    3. Active.

    It's a three step process and failing to take it into account is one of the 9 reasons why project communications don't cut through - my new project whitepaper on the just launched project engagepage of my website. 

    With a new calendar year and many new plans and projects getting underway, think ahead and make sure you've got some phases of communication that wake up dozing team members, stakeholders, sponsors and target audiences.

    That way they'll be all primed and ready to receive that stunning cocktail of communication you've been creating behind the bar! 


    You are a leader. Prove it. 

    There are a lot of announcements going on at this time of year in business – reshaping, reshifting, rearranging, budgets cut, departments changing and roles shifting.

    But there always will. No matter the time of year.

    There will always be things that leaders need to say. Not just write it in an email, hit send and hide. But say it, speak it, announce it and deliver it.

    Here is an announcement for leaders: Stop the Spin.

    Stop the waffle-laden, couched-in-uncertain words and riddled-with-vague-descriptions announcements. Stop it. They’re not listening and they don’t believe you.

    Stop the spin.

    Stop the ‘we’d better say it like this or else….’.

    Stop the ‘hush hush’ meetings where you’re supposedly ‘framing’ or ‘positioning’ information before you say it.

    Admit it. You are spinning.

    After my previous career in communications and public relations I know a good spin when I see it or hear it.

    Leadership communications –  announcing good news and bad - needs three key things:



    It comes first. You’re dealing with people. Not ‘resources’, numbers, EFTs or heads.



    You’re confusing people with your long-winded sentences, waffly phrases and ‘I can’t quite say it how I want to say it’ speeches, riddled with workplace catch phrases that send minds into orbit and off topic.  

    Get clear. What is the message? In normal speak. Say it like that.



    This is different to spin. It means something has style and good taste. It is concise. Take your normal speak message and give it some elegance.


    You are a leader. You are a communicator.

    Prove it.

    Every time you open your mouth. Speak like a leader.

    1. Show humanity first.
    2. Be clear with your message.
    3. Present it elegantly, concisely and with style.

    Delete waffle, long sentences, boring phrases and work-speak.

    Be original. Be unique.

    Everything about a leader speaks, especially when they speak.





    Engaging, Building Buy in?

    Engaging, building buy-in?
    Take 2.

    I had the wonderful experience of acting in a couple of scenes of a Paramount feature film recently. There were lines to learn, a costume and makeup to wear, actions to remember and a conversation to have with another actor. And the starter-gun pressure of having to perform when the director called 'Set..... Action!' After a few takes with a different tone in my voice, varying hand gestures, louder or quieter volume and emphasis, it was … ‘a wrap’!
    The day after the film shoot I worked with a group of leaders to help boost their engagement and buy-in skills with colleagues and project sponsors. We talked through how we don't often give ourselves the opportunity to try a second or third (or more…) take with our communication. 
    It is ok to have a few takes at our engagement and communication. If you’ve asked a question and you don’t get the response you’re after, ask another, try again.
    “Another way to ask that would be…” or “How about…..” or “Let me try that again…”
    It’s not live television. It’s not a game show. We’re working with other humans and sometimes we have to re-work and re-take things. It will be ok.
    Just pause, rewind, go again. With a second or third take, you’re demonstrating your commitment to the role and you’re genuinely working to engage and build buy-in. In your meetings, conversations and workshops this week, have a 'take two'... or more. 
    The feature film? It will be released in November so I'll give you more details closer to the time - if I make it beyond the cutting room floor!
    And thank you for the big thanks and feedback on last edition's highwire walker metaphor for meetings and conversations. Great to see it playing out for real this week for Nik Wallenda completing the Niagara Falls highwirecrossing. What an inspiring feat!