Why Hire a Professional Safety Speaker?
Groan! Another safety meeting! Do your team members roll their eyes, shift in their seats and generally “disconnect” when the topic of safety is mentioned? Perhaps they are thinking, “Here we go again. I’ve heard all this before. Yawn! I mean come on, OSHA updates, the latest policy changes, and injury data review. Even the best of managers, supervisors, safety staff, and workers have trouble looking forward to a day like that!
Perhaps you have thought in the past that hiring a professional speaker is just too costly. I mean, you have talented, educated people on your staff, right? Why not just use them? Start with a “pep talk” from the CEO and that will show how committed to safety top management is. Buy them some lunch or snacks and maybe give away some logo wear or insulated cups.
How has that worked for you in the past? Do you have a compliance-driven approach to safety and keep admonishing your team to “just follow the rules?” Do your accident statistics denote the efficacy (or lack thereof) of that approach?
Maybe it’s time to spice things up, do something different at your next event or meeting. The investment in hiring a professional speaker can help maximize the impact of the dollars you are already spending in staff time planning the event, the rental of a venue, employee time away from production, etc.
What else can make hiring an outside speaker a sound business decision for your team? Let’s explore the 5 reasons for hiring a professional safety speaker.
Tip #1: A new face in the crowd
Safety, HR, and management know from experience that we can say the same things over and over until we sound like a broken record, but the message never gets through. For instance, a father can admonish his son repeatedly about breaking a rule. However, if a respected coach says the exact same thing, change occurs!
After one of my recent speaking engagements, the CFO of the company wrote this to me:
“We have never seen our employees as engaged with a speaker as they were with you during your presentation. You opened their eyes to something they truly had never considered and for that we will be eternally grateful. You showed everyone in the room that while safety can be a ho-hum topic that it is something far more important that deserves all our attention. We can without a doubt say that you made a lasting impact on everyone in the room.”
Hiring a speaker who knows safety is one thing. But one who can motivate, inspire, and really connect with your team is what you should really be looking for! You want to light a fire and instill a passion for safety in the culture of your company. Getting an “outsider” to deliver your company message is more likely to yield positive results — And that’s exactly what you want!
Tip #2: Perceived value
Your team members will recognize that your investment in a professional safety speaker for this event means that management is taking this topic seriously. Clearly the speaker you hire must be an expert in the field, so the company leaders are not just doing lip service to the concept of workplace safety. Imagine how your work force will feel when they hear, “The boss is willing to fly in someone special just for US! We gotta listen up!”
In addition, your team members themselves will feel valued if management is willing to shell out a little extra to put on a truly first-class event. Go out of your way to emphasize that everyone’s participation is vital and appreciated!
Promote the speaker well in advance of the event. Put up flyers in prominent places throughout the jobsite and/or facility. Build excitement for the event. Mention where the speaker has appeared in the past. Maybe the speaker has a short introductory video you could show before shifts start. Be creative.
If you are hiring someone really dedicated to the protection of workers, find out if they will stick around for the entire event, not just speak and leave. Will he/she do a question-and-answer session with your team? Or be willing to mingle over pizza during lunch? Once the speaker is at your venue, how else can you use him/her?
Tip #3: Targeted message
The right safety speaker will do some homework to learn just what your audience needs. With input from you, your safety speaker will know where the knowledge gaps lie and what your goals are for your team. Such preparation will ensure that your audience does not tune out the speaker but will instead sit up and take notice.
Be certain that the speaker is fully informed as to who will be attending the meeting, their role and status within the company. If time allows, assign a few team members with varied jobs, backgrounds, and seniority to give the speaker a tour of your operations or at least meet virtually before the event.
Your audience will appreciate not being “preached” at or read verbatim regulations that may not even apply to them or their jobs. Using a professional means instead of broad generalizations about safety, your team will hear specific examples that will benefit them on the job, on a day-to-day basis.
Tip #4: Motivation and inspiration
Think of ways to make the event fun – yes, that is allowed! It is even encouraged! The human element is essential in discussions about safety. Just talking about numbers is dry and dull and lacking in impact. Choose a speaker known for these qualities, as well as their expertise. A great speaker can make you laugh, cry, say a-ha and inspire all in one presentation!
Close your eyes and envision the perfect ending to your event. Instead of racing for the exit, your team members are smiling, nodding, and talking to each other. They are pushing forward to have a personal word with the speaker. They are lively and exuberant! They are motivated and inspired by the message presented. Instead of feeling hassled and frustrated, they feel empowered and valued to be a part of your team.
Tip #5: Results!
You will want to establish a means of measuring the results of the impact your speaker has had on your team. Will there be fewer accidents in certain areas? Will there be more open communication about solving risk issues on the jobsite or on the factory floor? Will there be a more accepting attitude toward future safety meetings? Work with the safety speaker to discuss what you will want from them and maybe they can even provide some advice on a measurement tool.
Don’t let the excitement you have achieved dwindle once everyone is back to work.
Think about the next safety event you are planning, big or small, local or international, and ask yourself if a pro safety speaker can help by providing:
- A new face in the crowd
- Perceived value
- Targeted message
- Motivation & inspiration
What now? You may be wondering what to do next! Where do you find the RIGHT speaker for your event? How do you go about hiring one? What should you expect?
My next blog will delve into just those sorts of details. Would you like a free 15-minute consultation about how to find the right speaker for your team? Just head over to reginamcmichael.com and leave me note of request!