When communicating about safety, do you often have to repeat yourself? If you are, you’re not communicating effectively to your employees, peers or managers.
As a safety trainer, communicating effectively is one of the most important skills you can have. What you say and HOW you say it really does matter.
Whether you are in meetings with many or one-on-one, here’s a little advice on improving your safety communications style.
Focus on one message at a time. Yes, you might have a list of safety items to address, but if you do, no one will know what is most important. When you communicate your safety message to a group or an individual, you want to be crystal clear.
Is there something that needs to be done differently? Is there a new safety procedure to implement? Is there a change in an existing safety procedure? What is the one, most important message you need to communicate?
There should be no doubt:
- Why you are talking to them
- What you want them to learn
- What you expect them to do
Focus on the people; for instance, make direct eye contact. Have you ever spoken with someone who never looks you in the eye? That tends to make many people uncomfortable and question if you are really listening to them. Direct eye contact tells the other person that you are focused on them – their questions, their examples, their experiences that add value to the safety discussion at hand.
Combine direct eye contact with active listening skills. Don’t listen simply to respond; listen to understand. Again, this puts the focus on what others are saying, helping them ultimately to “get” the message.
Focus on what others have to offer. Don’t be condescending, don’t dominate the conversation or belittle people for the questions they ask. While you may be the safety expert, they have skills and experiences you might not that can add value to the discussion. Remember, conversations contribute to effective communications.
Bottom line: make it all about them and what they need. Improve your safety communications style and you shouldn’t have to keep repeating yourself!
Training the Trainer is part of my expertise. I am the lead instructor at the OSHA Training Institute in Kansas City; I train those that will be doing the safety training in your organization.
Check out my other blog posts on train the trainer: