How to Give an Effective Toolbox Talk

How to Give an Effective Toolbox Talk

25th March 2020

Many companies are adopting toolbox talks as an essential safety training tool. If delivered well, it can be a great tool that contributes to an improved health and safety culture in an organisation. It also reduces the number of near misses and can provide timely safety reminders to the workforce.

But delivering a toolbox talk can be quite challenging. There are important tips that one must observe to ensure they deliver an effective talk. Read on to learn some of these essential tips.

  1. Be Brief

Humans have limited attention spans. If you talk for long, they’ll probably start tuning you out regardless of how essential the topic of your safety meeting is. Therefore, you need to ensure your presentation is simple and as brief as possible. You can put additional information in a handout and only present the necessary points. You can also address the remaining points at a follow-up toolbox talk later on. This will keep the topic interesting and at the same time help aid with retention of content.

  1. Be Relevant

Your topic should be relevant to your industry and job site. It should matter to your workforce both on and off the job. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative in your presentation. They should feel the topic applies directly to them and their families and off-the-job hobbies. Otherwise, they’ll hardly keep their interest. You may first need to observe them in the field to identify which topic seems to require refreshing.

  1. Engage Your Audience

You need to demonstrate your points to keep your audience engaged. Keeping your workforce involved will more likely make them pay attention. Visuals have proven to encourage interaction. Use visuals to demonstrate what is right and what is wrong. Show them how to use a new tool or equipment. For instance, most employees don’t know the importance of step units in a building. You can prepare some visuals on the uses of these access systems and their safety guidelines and present to the workforce.

Lack of demonstration makes the talk look more like a lecture. You need to emphasize on telling stories and not just giving statistics. Storytelling is a powerful method of conveying information and helping your audience relate to the statistics given. Your tone should also be as interesting as the stories you’re giving. Your enthusiasm will translate into that of your employees. If you’re boring, your ur employees might tune you out.

  1. Involve the Personnel

Involving your personnel in the talk can also be a great idea. Find ways to involve your personnel. You can have the employees deliver the toolbox talks or have them present relevant stories to the topics. Ask them questions about safety as well. This will help you assess them on an individual basis and you’ll learn what they know and what they don’t know.

  1. Manage the Meeting

While it’s important to involve your employees, ensure to also manage the meeting. Too many stories from the personnel can turn a good educational session into a storytime. You need to be in charge of the meeting to ensure everything is done with moderation. Allow your audience to participate in some of the content, but jump back in as soon as it starts to veer off course. This also applies to when you’re having a guest speaker, you need to ensure they are competent enough and they stay on track during the presentation.