Overcoming the Reason People
Don’t Listen to Safety
Ever feel as if you're speaking with the mute
Here's how to get people to listen
Are a you a Leader in Safety
Leader as strength-giver:
• Successful leaders help
others believe in
themselves, higher purpose,
and vision. Discouraged
people can’t believe.
Pressuring weak or
defeated people to
perform makes them
resentful and resistant.
When you give Safety Talks is this
The Tee Shirt you See
They learn the lessons we have learnt, by sharing with them.
Your Message is not about Attitude
Its about Real Events we need to Review
Think about it, people think a lot of things!
You want me to talk about WHAT!
• Stand well. Stand to your full height, with feet a bit apart, and put your weight evenly on both feet.
Feel yourself grow taller and wider, so that you fill your space. Enjoy feeling how tall, broad and
flexible you can be without effort.
• Relax. Without slumping, feel every part of your body relax and melt, from the top of your head
down through your body to your feet, while your skeleton stands tall and flexible. This is confident
relaxation – the perfect way to produce your best from your voice.
• Breathe. A strong voice depends on air, so you need to breathe well. The first step is to get rid of
your old air. Blow all your air out and, without collapsing your body, just relax – as you relax, your
body fills with fresh air naturally. Practice relaxation and good breathing frequently.
• Lower your tone firmly at the end of a sentence. Lowering your tone may seem a minor
adjustment, but makes a surprisingly big difference to how you come across. As a general rule, a
falling tone at the end of a sentence is used for statements and commands, and sounds final – as if
you mean business. A rising tone indicates incompleteness or uncertainty, and is used in all types
of questions. End low and you sound as if you’re confident of your own opinions.
• Keep up your energy to the end. If your voice tails off at the end of a sentence, you sound as if you
lack confidence in what you’re saying. If you speak with clear emphasis and keep up the energy in
your voice to the end of your statement, people believe what you’re saying – simple as that.
I believe I BELIEVE
• Avoid weak additions to sentences. Try to avoid saying ‘okay’, ‘like’,
‘actually’, ‘kind of’, and of course ‘um’ and ‘er’. People put in the useless
little extra words because they think it buys them thinking time. But you
don’t need them. Take your time to think of the next thing you want to
say and be happy with silence. You then sound confident.
• Speak long phrases well. If you want to sound confident, you need to be
able to speak long phrases as well as short ones. Practise speaking long
phrases in a loud, energetic way. Doing so builds up your ability to breathe
well and you sound as if you really mean what you say.
• Believe in yourself. Self-belief isn’t so much about thinking you’re
fantastic as about giving yourself permission to be you. When you’re
uncertain about your speech, you tend to tightly control your delivery. But
giving yourself permission to be you means allowing yourself to falter on
occasion, say the wrong thing or show unexpected emotion. When you
give yourself permission to be human, mistakes are much less likely to
occur. You come across as someone who’s at ease.
People Need to Know and Show
Ways to Strengthen others:
• Agree with frustrations; don’t explain why. If they feel
frustrated they are frustrated. It’s frustrating when you’re
told why you’re frustrated.
• Defuse negative emotions by validation. Emotional people
don’t listen. Emotions cloud judgment, especially
discouragement, anger, or bitterness. Always deal with
emotion before providing solutions.
• Strengthen others by seeing their strengths.
• Acknowledge their contributions.
• Shut off lights at the end of the day. Say, “Go home.”
• Incorporate play at work.
Four Benefits of Strengthening
• Vulnerability enhances influence. You have greater
influence with those who trust you; they’re vulnerable.
• Affirmations open ears. Convince someone you’re on
their team and they’ll listen. Personal agendas create
self-protection and defensiveness.
• Encouragement lifts focus beyond self. Discouraged
people dwell on their own needs; someone has to.
Strong people think about the needs of others.
• Strength moves people from can’t to can. Defeated
people say, “I’m done or I can’t.” Strengthened people
say, “I’ll try.”
So what are you saying
Think of the message not the
Make it Interesting for both of you
It is not the same lecture over and over again
Listen. This may seem counter-intuitive, but by far
the most effective way to get people’s attention is
to give them yours. When you truly listen to
someone – when you offer them your undivided
focus, summarize their main points to make sure
you’re tracking, ask curiosity-based questions to
find out more – you’re demonstrating openness
and respect in a powerful way. Most people
automatically want to hear what someone who
seems interested in them might have to say.
Read the room, entertain
Read the Room. If you’re talking to someone or to
a group, and they’re not giving you their attention
(surreptitiously looking at their phones, doodling,
looking out the window, writing emails), they’re not
listening to you. As above, you talking more is
probably not going to help. Stop talking. Ask a
question; find out what they’re interested in
hearing. Even if you’re the most compelling speaker
in the world, people won’t listen to you if they’re
not interested in your topic.
Reading the Eyes for Personal Insights
The Eyes tell no Lies
I have a dream I have a vision
• Cut to the chase. I was facilitating a
meeting a few years ago for a senior
operating group, most of whom were
quite talkative, and at the same time
quite good listeners. There was one
guy, though – he would start talking,
and within a minute or two, people’s
attention would drift. I found I kept
interrupting him (respectfully), trying
to summarize for him, and he’d
simply go off in another direction. It
was really chewing up the group’s
time, and breaking their focus.
Speak not with a forked tongue:
In most cases, people just
won’t open up to those
they don’t trust. When
people have a sense a
leader is worthy of their
trust they will invest time
and take risks in ways they
never would if their leader
had a reputation built
upon poor character or
lack of integrity.
Me, you and the Task
Get personal: Stop issuing corporate
communications and begin having
organizational conversations – think dialog not
monologue. Here’s the thing – the more
personal and engaging the conversation is the
more effective it will be. There is great truth in
the following axiom: “people don’t care how
much you know until they know how much you
care.” Classic business theory tells leaders to
stay at arms length.
Drill down don’t waste time
Get specific: Specificity is better than Ambiguity
11 times out of 10: Learn to communicate with
clarity. Simple and concise is always better than
complicated and confusing. Time has never
been a more precious commodity than it is today.
It is critical leaders learn how to cut to the chase
and hit the high points – it’s also important to
expect the same from others.
It is not a safety talk it’s a way of life
Focus on the leave-behinds not
the take-aways: The best
communicators are not only
skilled at learning and gathering
information while communicating,
they are also adept at
transferring ideas, aligning
expectations, inspiring action,
and spreading their vision.
You are not always right
Have an open mind: I’ve often said that the rigidity
of a closed mind is the single greatest limiting
factor of new opportunities. A leader takes their
game to a whole new level the minute they
willingly seek out those who hold dissenting
opinions and opposing positions with the goal not
of convincing them to change their minds, but with
the goal of understanding what’s on their mind. I’m
always amazed at how many people are truly
fearful of opposing views, when what they should
be is genuinely curious and interested.
Ok I understand NOW!
Replace ego with empathy: I
have long advised leaders not
to let their ego write checks
that their talent can’t cash.
When candor is
communicated with empathy
& caring and not the prideful
arrogance of an over inflated
ego good things begin to
See a bigger page not just one sheet
Read between the lines: Take a moment and
reflect back on any great leader that comes to
mind… you’ll find they are very adept at reading
between the lines. They have the uncanny
ability to understand what is not said, witnessed,
or heard. Being a leader should not be viewed as
a license to increase the volume of rhetoric.
Your Safety Message is about
Real Life, Real People, Real Events, Real Injuries,
Shut up and listen first
Keep your mouth shut--for a couple of moments.
• Don't say anything substantive until you have an
audience connection. Note that their first
impression is visual, not verbal. You, the speaker,
whether you are in front of a large group or a
single employee, prospective investor, or
prospect, have to be in complete command. You
can gain that command by the way you carry
yourself, before you even open your mouth.
Two times the Value
Grab their attention to make it memorable.
• People remember the very first substantive that you say.
Once you have their attention, jump right in to the most
important thing you have to say. This powerful beginning
will stick with your audience, creating the impact you're
Use verbal cues.
• Use attention-provoking signals when you move from one
part of the speech to the next. For instance, you might
verbally number your key points or use other verbal signals
like "Let's move on" or "My next topic is..." Always give the
audience verbal cues to look up at you.
Make them want the message
Not Just tell them the message
Trick of the Trade in Safety
• Loosen up. Ease out your body – listening to someone who’s tense
and buttoned-up is hard. Shake your arms and legs, run on the spot,
wriggle your shoulders and spine, and see how different you feel –
and sound – when you’re more relaxed.
• Speak clearly. Make sure that people can hear and understand you
by articulating your words clearly. Imitate newsreaders – they
always pronounce consonants and vowels really clearly so that you
understand every word.
• Project. Speak loudly enough to be heard – not just by yourself in
your head, but by other people. Take a good breath before you
speak and visualize the sound streaming out from you in an arc.
• Speak lower. After you take a breath, settle into your body and
sense the sound coming from your chest. Relax to do this and don’t
push down physically. When your voice resonates against the
breastbone it sounds strong and convinced, and people trust it.
Getting People to Listen to You
• Emphasize. People who speak with impact emphasize strongly, much more than
you might be aware of. Emphasizing the words that matter most helps other
people make sense of what you say. As an example, if you say, ‘the cat sat on the
mat’, make ‘cat’ and ‘mat’ stronger than ‘on’ or ‘the’.
• Slow down. Take your time. Getting your words out as fast as you can might feel
more comfortable, but it’s entirely self-defeating if people can’t catch what you say.
Take a nice deep breath, enjoy emphasizing certain words, and give yourself
enough space to be heard.
• Be quiet. Pause to take breath. Allow silence sometimes. A voice that rattles on
without a break is very hard to keep listening to. Silence allows your listeners to
catch up, and process what you’re saying.
• Get out of your own way. Self-consciousness creates a rift between you and your
listeners, and gets in the way of real communication. Concentrate on what you
want to say and on the people you’re speaking to.
• Enjoy yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you enjoy speaking and
communicating, others listen and enjoy it too.
Summary there is a reason for this
word in Safety
Does everyone understand? Good!
Recap what matters
• Take all of the substantive points from your
talk and group them all together at the very
end of the presentation. Remember your
provoking signal and say something like, "In
summary," then recap everything from your
presentation that matters the most.
Gee Maybe Safety was Right!
Maybe I’ll re-look at the M.S.D.S.