Safety talks are an important part of delivering the information and instruction needed to stay safe at work. And, they don't have to be boring. Here are 9 ways to help make safety toolbox talks interesting.
Ok, so this doesn't make the talk itself more interesting, but it does help make sure your team are interested in the talk, rather than something else.
First thing in the morning, we should be more alert. Ok, maybe not when we first wake up, but certainly by the time we have had breakfast and made it to work.
Get to your workforce before their minds are on other things, like lunch, dinner, end of work, deadlines etc, and you stand a chance of sparking some interest.
Keeping attention, and holding interest on your talk is easier if it's short.
Even the most interesting talk in the world is going to get boring if it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on…
The whole point of a toolbox talk is to give a quick refresher on a health and safety topic. It’s not a full-blown health and safety course, and it shouldn't take half the day.
We say this time and time again. Don't try to deliver a safety talk that has nothing to do with the work your team is undertaking. They will switch off before you even start.
For people to really engage with the talk, it needs to be relevant and the topic needs to affect them in some way.
For larger teams, doing different tasks, you may need to segment the delivery into smaller teams to keep things relevant and interesting for everyone.
What is the point of picking a great topic, if the talk itself sends your team to sleep?
Remember, the talk should be short, but you still need to fit in all the most important information. Getting this information into your talk, in a condensed way, using lists, bullet points, quiz, pictures, anything to make it short and snappy, will help hold interest.
What does your team need to know to work safely? Make sure you cover all the key points.
Why is this health and safety toolbox talk important?
Maybe there have been a large amount of near misses associated with the subject? Maybe there are a lot of fatalities associated with this topic in your industry?
Answer this one question at the start of your talk. If your audience can understand why you are giving the talk, and how important it is, they are more likely to be interested at the offset.
A good structure, and a prepared delivery, is going to go so much better than an unprepared talk with potentially vague information.
If you're giving the talk in person, just reading information word for word off a sheet is never going to sound interesting, or give the impression that the talk has been planned. Use slides, handouts, visuals, video, anything to help you deliver the information in an interesting way.
However you choose to deliver your talk, a confident, high energy delivery will help to hold interest on the discussion.
This is especially important if you are presenting the talk yourself. If you feel nervous or unprepared, practice first, and make any changes if your feel your interest dropping.
There are different ways to deliver your talk. After all, we are in an age of technological advancement.
Meeting rooms might remind some of your team of school classrooms, and perhaps not everyone enjoyed school lessons. The environment itself can send interest low, so give some thought to what format will best deliver the information.
Don’t restrict your talks to meeting rooms. There is a time and place for this of course, but regular safety talks can be delivered via a variety of channels, elearning, online talks, apps, video, the only limit is your imagination.
Asking questions and checking responses is a great way of checking your audience has understood the talk.
Questions also help engage your team with the talk, a bit of interaction can help make the talk much more interesting for both the delivery (gaining feedback) and the audience (getting involved). It can help reinforce what has been learned, and be rewarding for the team, giving them an interest and an incentive to take the next talk.