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Communicating Safety: Presenting Safety Concepts

You might have an opportunity to present safety concepts at a safety meeting, job briefing, or tailgate talk.  Presenting is the act of trying to influence others’ thinking to provoke action or behavioral change.  As a professional speaker, I am constantly working on concepts that will influence others — it is my business.  If you are a lead, supervisor, manager, executive, or a worker who is on the safety committee you should understand and practice presenting safety concepts that improve your workplace safety.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep saying it.

 – Robert Frost

Your presentation should simply be a conversation.  “Fancy speaking” is not required and is less effective in the workplace.  Keep it real and fact-based, and always have one or more suggestions for improvement.  Keep in mind that your goal is to help every go home every day without injury. Using the following tips can help you become a better influencer:

  • Get your audience’s attention.  A statement such as, “Overlooking this unsafe condition is going to cause some serious injury.”  If the statement is true they will give you their attention.
  • Tell them why your concept is correct with facts. Telling your audience what you think, rather than pointing out the facts will lose most of them right off.  When you present obvious facts they will begin to nod their heads in agreement, then you can move forward with the presentation.
  • Gain a verbal agreement about the facts with as many people as possible in the audience.  Ask, “Does this make sense?” or some other phrase that you are comfortable saying.
  • Review your points and suggest options.  When you review your points keep it simple and to the point.  Then move forward with, “What I suggest is…” Then ask again, “Does this make sense?”  If you gain agreement, set the steps to implement your concept.
  • Deal with questions effectively and honestly.  Some questions take a while to answer.  You may have to tell the audience that you will schedule a time to answer the question.  Sometimes, you cannot answer the question – it’s beyond ‘your pay grade’ so to speak.  Be honest.  Let the audience know you will get the answer and get back to them.  (Then, follow through!)  And, frankly, some questions are downright ridiculous or inappropriate – maybe off the topic or with a hidden agenda.

You’ll need to manage those questions by stating that you’ll need to address the question ‘off-line.’  Don’t fear questions – they often indicate your audience is engaged and wants to know more.

Keep in mind that you are an influencer for safety and that your concepts make save a person from injury or death.  A well presented concept that will improve your workplace safety culture is of high value.  Spend time researching facts and present them with passion.  Passion for your topic will show your audience that you really do care and will cause them to listen and consider what you have to say.  Lastly, make sure your safety concept is one worth pursuing.  You have been given the opportunity to use your audience’s time; make it worth the effort and you will be creating a safer workplace.

Thanks, and Be Safe!

Carl Potter, CSP


Invitation to a training opportunity…

On December 1st, 2015 I will be conducting my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop in Dallas Texas near the DFW airport.  I hope you will consider attending to learn and network with other safety minded individuals.  You can learn more about this opportunity at:

You may also want to consider making my online version of the Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop available to your workforce.  Information about the online version is available at


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