COMMON MISTAKES IN SAFETY STORIES
I know one person who loves to talk about safety. He starts all his meetings with a safety moment, he conducts separate sessions about safety with his subordinates, he always has comments about incident reviews and risk assessments. What could go wrong? …. He talks, and talks, and talks. I used to play a game during meetings with him. I was counting subclauses in his sentences. The record is 23! Twenty three “therefore”, “so”, “that is why” and “as a result”! No story would survive this and stay interesting. Therefore (so, also and that is why) - seven common mistakes in your safety storytelling and how to fix them: LONG SPEECHES - practice in advance and use a timer during the meeting; NOT RELEVANT STORIES - choose your examples carefully. I once was using offshore risks as examples for 10 minutes before realizing that nobody in the room had actually been offshore; OBSESSING OVER DETAILS - it was in 2009… no, in 2008… or maybe 2007… yes, definitely in 2009! (choose details that matter, practice and USE THE TIMER); TOO PERFECT - people love to hear about mistakes and difficulties… if there are none at all, you would seem boring (or lying); NOT DISCREET - many safety stories have personal information that people would not like to share about themselves. So remove all names and details to protect characters of your story. OFFENDING OTHERS - the worst one in my life was a story about an emergency situation told by one very “macho” person. “All women panicked and blocked the exit, - he was telling with a laugh, - and this was a lesson to us not to rely on women in emergency situations” (no comments) WRONG TIMING - avoid stories about fatalities if somebody in the room just lost their loved one; and don’t start a long story if your team is scheduled to begin work in 5 minutes. Make sure people are ready to listen and will benefit from your story. But the worst mistake of all is not telling any stories. So - practice and good luck!