Safety 2023 Keynote: Sharing Stories to Make Meaningful Relationships
Award-winning musician and songwriter Jimmy Yeary shows attendees of ASSP’s safety conference and expo in San Antonio how storytelling can create relationships that lead to change.
- By David Kopf
- Jun 05, 2023
Safety 2023 kicked off its General Session with a keynote from Grammy-winning musician and songwriter Jimmy Yeary that emphasized to attendees the importance of making meaningful connections through sharing stories about themselves.
Speaking in the Stars at Night Ballroom in San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Yeary shared storytelling techniques he learned over his 30-year career in country music. Over that time, he has performed as the lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning country group Shenandoah and has written multiple hit songs for country music artists such as Lee Brice, Heidi Newfield, Troy Olsen and Rascal Flatts.
In introducing the keynote session, 2022-2023 ASSP President Christine Sullivan, CSP, ARM, said that Yeary is “a captivating storyteller using what he’s learned during his career music” to “explain the importance of creating and sustaining and help us see our relationships, enable us to harness happiness and be successful.”
“They’ll also show us how developing emotional awareness, ensuring our experiences can help us build and sustain teams that produce outstanding results,” she added.
Yeary said that the simple formula behind his approach is that the ability to tell an authentic, relatable story results in the ability to make connections.
“I love to talk about stories and how to effectively tell a story, but I’m not talking about long, drawn-out stories,” he said. “I’m talking about stories that oftentimes within seconds can connect you with others for the purpose of networking, selling a product, selling an idea or selling yourself.”
Throughout his presentation, Yeary performed songs he had written to underscore how stories foster relatable feelings and that, in turn, create emotional connections.
“If I feel something, then you feel it,” he explained. “And if I feel it and you feel it, we connect and we form a friendship.
“… And friends help friends,” he continued. “Friends trust friends. Friends are comfortable around each other. Friends will listen to you give them safety advice that they’ve heard a thousand times and not roll their eyes because they know you just want them to get home safe to their families.”
David Kopf is the publisher and executive editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine.