"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others".

--Anthony Robbins, American Author


Although hard to define precisely, effective communication is acknowledged as an art in its own right. This is widely recognised and reflected in health and safety appointments for practitioners where: 'excellent communication skills', ' ability to communicate with managers', 'excellent oral and written communication skills', 'an outstanding communicator' and 'strong interpersonal communication skills', are but a sample of advertised requirements.

For health and safety trainers effective communication needs to be finely tuned and developed to meet wide ranging audiences at different levels and abilities. This presentation is a collection of effective techniques that reflects the experience of facing a multitude of audiences who, when asked why they have attended a course, respond in unison with 'I was told to', and sadly also often possess the misconception that health and safety is an imposition and training is an ordeal to sit through!

The challenge faced by the trainers is to ensure that delegates, when asked at the end of the course whether they would attend future courses or recommend the particular course to their colleagues, answer 'yes'. Without effectively engaging and interesting them in the topic through varied communication techniques, this is unlikely to be achieved.

In order to provide a balanced overview of communication techniques, the presentation undertakes a 'journey' that incorporates written, oral, visual, graphic, audible and practical examples. This paper reflects the themes and principles used, but should not be considered in isolation or as a replacement for attendance at the session it supports, as, although the written format can provide background knowledge and understanding, the real benefit comes through attendance, participation and the 'hands on' experience provided.

The author's talk will seek to highlight communication issues encountered in training, with practical examples of techniques and methods that, with some thought and creativity, are readily available at little or no cost to trainers. It is intentionally generic, focussing on the methods used, rather than a particular topic or issue. Communicating health and safety is approached from 'outside the box' to provoke reaction and generate and stimulate interest, from which specific issues and discussions could then be progressed at a later stage within full training sessions.

The whole concept is a 'low-cost, no frills' approach to communication and training that, with innovation and imagination, can be: used to develop or design specific training; used in conjunction with existing training packages; or even simply used to provide short, sharp topic updates.

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