Everyone loves a good story. Whether it’s a Marvel movie, the Game of Thrones novels or a friend’s account of a crazy weekend – we all love to listen, to get drawn in, to enjoy the twists and turns.
On the other hand, listening to safety protocol can feel as dull as a watching a blank screen.
Safety and Health magazine suggest that, if you want people to be safe, you should tell them a story
The Bottom Line
Safety and Health magazine approach the subject under 4 headings:
- Stories Equal Sustenance
- They provide for a culture of openness
- Stories create empathy
- They make the abstract real
- Have a Point
- Know your audience
- End on a positive
- The story is not the end goal
- Find Balance & Practice
- Make sure you focus just as much on the positives
- Public speaking is hard, so don’t forget to practice
- Who’d Like to Share
- Listen to others so you can use their stories too
- We learn more by sharing what we learned
- Allow others to share in smaller groups
Read on for Senior Instructor Larry Kime’s thoughts on sharing stories after almost 2 decades of travelling the world to train operators, riggers and lift directors.
Ultimately, facts are boring. Stories, however, can be rich with meaning. They are personable and hugely useful in relaying a message. They deliver the ‘why’, the application, as opposed to the simple ‘what’ of safety.
There are certain characteristics of every good story that must be in place for it to be effective:
- short & concise
- make a point
- relevant to the topic
- contain or invoke an emotion
As simple as it is to say, actually telling a story is a difficult skill to learn and do well.
Critically, the story must have an emotional impact on the listeners. It is human nature to remember things of joy and pain. We remember what we feel, not necessarily what we hear.
In a similar vein, engaging your audience by inviting them to participate is a great way of promoting safety through storytelling. Such an approach is useful for three reasons:
- it demonstrates that your audience “gets it”
- peers are more believable than instructor
- it makes your audience feel valued