Understanding Effective Communication for Positive Safety Cultures

Understanding Effective Communication for Positive Safety Cultures

Learn the importance of communication for safety cultures, and how it is a diverse and fundamental aspect of society, according to Media and Communications Scholar John Fiske.

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1. 1 Effective Communications Learning Lite

2. 2 What is Communication? • Communication is a way of making ourselves understood; without it we would not be able to operate in society • “Communication is one of those activities that everyone recognises, but few can define satisfactorily. Communication is talking to one another, it is television, it is spreading information, it is our hairstyle, it is literary criticism: the list is endless” - from a paper written by John Fiske, Media and Communications Scholar – 1993 • Positive safety cultures are characterised by communications founded on mutual trust, by shared perceptions of the importance of safety and by confidence in the efficacy of preventive measures’ (HSC, 1993).

3. 3 The Spoken Communication Cycle Heard Understood Agreed to Acted on Implemented Start Spoken How do we do it?

4. 4 Language style Language style • If English is not a first language for someone metaphor phrases that make a word picture like “it’s raining cats and dogs” or “It’s comparing apples with oranges” do not make much sense Think about the phrases you use… • What are you trying to achieve? • Do you need to be more specific? • Does painting a word picture add value to what you are saying? • What’s the context? Are you speaking generally or about a specific task? Then alter your language accordingly.

5. 5 Challenges Communication Behaviours Broadly speaking; • Extroverts are very people orientated, thriving on communicating and working with others. They speak in more general terms and need interaction. Extroverts tend to become frustrated with a lot of detail and want “bigger picture” answers. They are fantastic at motivating teams. • Introverts thrive in an independent environment they are fantastic at solving problems and working plans. They tend to be superb leaders. Introverts communicate in specific terms and need to communicate the detail. “Bigger picture” communications tend to frustrate Introverts. Think about which you most identify with above and about the people you work with… Are they detail or bigger picture orientated? Do you get the results you expect from your communication with them? Then adjust your style accordingly Try to speak in more specific or general terms Encourage others to be more specific or general in their communication style See what changes

6. 6 Less is more • When communicating, we need to be aware that the other person can only listen to, process and understand so much information without hitting information overload. • It takes time for a person to hear and assimilate what is being said (or written). • That's one of the reasons why " less is more " often comes into play

7. 7 Chunking How do you do it? • Message chunking involves breaking up the information you have to convey into smaller, well organized and related pieces or chunks • The key element here is that the more you talk without allowing people to assimilate what you are saying, the less likely they will be to understand, and the more likely they will get lost completely • Then, what you do is talk/write about the chunk • Check for understanding with the other person • Allow the person to reflect, and • THEN move to the next chunk, making sure the person is clear about the relationship between one chunk and the next Some examples • Think about how you tell someone your mobile number… • If you are offering someone feedback on something, rather than dump the whole barrel onto the person, you chunk it. You offer one element, then discuss, then move onto the next

8. 8 Start with the end in mind How do you do it? • Work out what it is you need to say • Work our what you need to see or hear that will let you know that the other person “gets it”. • This works for presentations, one to one conversations, at home and at work. • Check understanding as you chunk! • Match their language style • Communicate positively • Listen for responses (verbal or physical) • Give detail and also link to the bigger picture • If you think it will be a challenging conversation make sure to Acknowledge or recognise the context and give some positive feedback too! An example • Suppose you need to help someone understand the importance of safely completing a critical project task on-time “this is a good piece of work…completing this is really important….it’s a project critical task and getting this done on-time… will make it easier on the project planners and will help deliver the project on time…”

9. 9 What did we learn? • Starting with the end in mind helps make communication more effective, this work for any conversation whether it be to gather ideas, feedback, give a message, deliver a Presentation • Consider what the purpose of your communication is • Match language style and level of detail for their style (as far as is practicable) • Chunk the information into bit sized pieces • Check for understanding - how do you know that they get it? • Allow time for the other person to reflect • Be clear – if you aren’t getting the expected response, change the approach