Help! I Have to Give a Safety Meeting Talk

So today we are going to talk about safety meetings. Nothing strikes fear into a lineman’s heart as having to stand up and give a talk during a safety meeting, I have seen the biggest, baddest lineman melt when they are up on the stage. There you are in front of all of you smart ass buddies, they are just waiting on you to screw up so they can rag on you for the next year or so. I know, i have been there. One thing i have learned about talking in front of people, if you are prepared and have given it a little practice, it makes it a whole lot easier. Today I will talk about a simple 3 step process that will let you stand up at the safety meeting and give a confident safety talk. At the end of today’s podcast I will give you a link to a website that has hundreds of topics for safety meetings, I will also give you 10 topics that relate to what Lineman do, pick one of those if you like. Congratulations on being selected, to be honest some of the best safety meetings I have ever seen were done by the men from the crew. Just have fun with it.

Before the Meeting

The most important part of this process is to be prepared. Just like when you plan a job. You wouldn’t go out and work a job without any preparation would you? So your preparation begins with picking a good topic, pick something you know a little about. Look at my 10 topics at the end of these notes and pick one of those. You can also go to the link at the end to see hundreds of topics. Remember to be creative, different is better. The funniest safety meeting I ever saw was some of the guys on a crew got together and did an interview with the training dummy we use for pole top rescue; of course the dummy never said anything but it was hilarious. Everyone still remembers that safety meeting. Try to pick something that you can tell a story about, stories are the best way to connect with everyone; humans are attracted to stories especially if they have a connection to something that happens in the story. If you have worked any amount of time as a lineman I am sure you have a story to tell about what has happened to you. If you don’t have a story about the topic, ask around and see if someone you works with does. Again in my opinion a story is the best way to communicate. After you have your topic, go to Google put your topic in the search box, you will get hundreds of links to the topic you have chosen. Chose some good articles to refer to. Print the information out, use this information by picking out the best parts of each website you have visited. Don’t just copy the information, make it your own by using your stories to supplement the information. Another good website is youtube, here you will find videos that relate to your topic. Copy the links to the videos you like so you can use them in your meeting, if this seems too complicated just print out some pictures about your topic.

So you have picked a topic and have plenty of reference information, write an outline about what you want to say, an outline would look like this:

Using Proper Cover While Gloving (Topic)

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Are we using proper cover?
    1. Your story about proper or not proper cover
    2. Show Pictures or play video
    3. company rules and procedures on cover
    4. Your ideas on getting better cover
  3. Conclusion, what you learned from the topic

if you think you can’t follow an outline write down every word of what you are going to say. If you do this, do not just read your paper word for word. If you use an outline, you can just hit your topics and talk like you are having a conversation which is much better to listen to. Practice, read what you have to yourself several times before you actually do the meeting. This will keep you from stumbling over words while you are in front of the group.

During the Meeting

Relax and be yourself, don’t try to imitate anyone else, someone asked you to do the meeting, so just do your best. Speak clearly and at a natural pace, if you have a tendency to mumble like me it makes it hard for people to understand what you say. Pick someone at the back of the room to talk to so everyone can hear you. Use some kind of prop, if you can bring in some kind of prop, like a ladder, PPE or whatever you are talking about. Look for the hazard you are talking about in your workplace and show actual photos of the items or bring them in if you can.

Always ask to see if anyone has any questions, try to stay focused and don’t laugh when people ask smart ass questions, if you friends are like anything like mine they are going to try to be funny. It’s ok to laugh; it makes the meeting a lot more fun. Ask specifically does anyone has a personal story that relates to your topic, this usually gets someone to speak up. Get the people involved if you can. Ask if anyone sees any specific issues at your workplace that pertains to your project. If people have actual issues ask if anyone has any solutions to the problem. Before you close, remind everyone the procedures to report issues in your company. Again have solutions if you can.

After the Meeting

If you wrote down what you talked about post it on the bulletin board in the baseyard so people can reflect on what you talked about. I also want to tell you that you have to practice what you preach, nothing makes you lose your credibility faster that you doing something that violated just what you have been talking about. You have to set the example.

So to summarize, 3 steps before, during and after. Make sure you use stories, practice a little, relax and be yourself, have fun with it . I hope these tips have helped you. Hopefully this time your buddies will be telling you how great you did instead of ragging on you, but don’t count on it. Do a good job and I guarantee they will have a new found respect for you.

Here are the topics I picked out for you:

  1. Get safety manual, pick out a section and refer to a job you have worked where you have used the section
  2. What’s a rotator cuff, and why do they get torn?
  3. What to do in case of a specific emergency (fire, earthquake, electrical contact).
  4. What motivates you to work safely, hand out an anonymous sheet for people to write down why they work safe.
  5. How sleepy are you?
  6. Controlling stress.
  7. Horseplay and why it is bad.
  8. Driving distracted.
  9. Setting the Example for your co-workers.
  10. Being overconfident in the workplace.

Here is the link I told you about. Follow this link to hundreds of topics for safety meetings Toolbox Talks

You are going to do great! Let me know how it goes. Aloha, David