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What Makes For Effective Communication?

What makes for effective communication in safety? Here are a few tips:

1. Messages in safety must be consistent and ethical, there is no value in seeking to promote a safety message that contradicts itself. The end never justifies the means.

2. Designers of safety communications should be aware of the psychology of goals and the trajectory of messages. Judging effectiveness by populism ‘in the moment’ is blind and simplistic.

3. People who want to promote safety messages need to be aware of the ‘pitching’, ‘framing’ and ‘priming’ of language. The idea that words don’t matter contradicts the evidence, just ask anyone in advertising and marketing.

4. Safety people need to be longsighted when it comes to messages in safety and not grab the first bit of ‘noise’ that comes along.

5. Insulting and negative messages are ‘loss framed’ and are neither attractive nor motivational. Safety messages need to be ‘gain framed’.

6. Safety people need to study the nature of motivation and include such knowledge in the way they engage others.

7. George Robotham’s favourite saying was ‘When initiating change, Remember, People support what they create’. Safety people should consult and pilot messages and see if they work longitudinally before they start experimenting with yo-yos and fads.

8. A study of the psychology of goals would be useful for all safety people. The idea that goals are singular and simple drives naïve goals setting such as zero harm.

9. Risk and safety must above all make sense of risk. Projecting perfectionist messages on fallible people and organisations simply doesn’t make logical sense.

10. Consult and read OSHA’s publications on Safety at A great place to start for any safety person.

You can also contact Compliance and Safety First at 909-481-7222 and ask for Glenn or email at:

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Tel: 909-481-7222
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