Communication: the Key to Unlocking Safety

Communication is more complex than just talking to one another, especially when it comes to staying safe.

Communication in any setting is imperative to a successful work environment. Whatever position one may hold, it is extremely important for the safety and development of a workplace, company, etc.

This was the focus of John McBride’s “Communication: the Key to Unlocking Safety” session at the American Society of Safety Professional’s Safety 2021 Professional Development Conference and Exposition on Tuesday, September 14.

McBride, who is the Director and National Recruiter of Consentium Search LLC says “challenge is how we learn to communicate.” People speak to be heard and listen to respond. Whereas, we should be speaking to be understood and listening to understand. Communication skills include sending, receiving, non-verbal and thinking. Non-verbal, meaning “don’t over-read others’ body language but be conscious of yours.” Thinking prevents reaction and, most importantly, keeps your goal in mind. McBride also says to be aware that “perception is reality.”

“Every one of the four (communication skills),” McBride said, “are overlapping… it’s always combined… even if you’re not thinking, you are choosing to think.”

Communication skills are most important when opinions vary. When emotions are heightened, the stakes are high. The same message may, unintentionally, have a different delivery. For example, a statement could sound different the way a person reads it in his/her head versus what it would sound like if told the same message in person. This extends to others in different countries and how it is important to know you cannot expect others to automatically know and speak the same language as you do.

McBride wraps up his session by saying, “you will never have 100 percent of the people listening at 100 percent capacity 100 percent of the time.”

To learn about Communication: the Key to Unlocking Safety, be sure to catch the session through ASSP’s virtual conference portal. Sessions will be available for 60 days following the conclusion of the conference.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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