Paul's speech gave true insight into the impact of an accident rather than just a dramatized video about just what happened at the time of it.
IOSH Food and Drink Conference
I had the pleasure to attend and speak at the IOSH Food and Drink Conference last month, being a baker in a previous life, before this change in direction into Health and Safety, it was interesting to hear the issues and solutions from a different sector of industry (normally construction and manufacturing).
Actually, when you listen to the speakers presenting and start talking to the other delegates the issues the sector has to deal with are no more different from other industry sectors.
The only thing different are the way solutions that are put in place to get the buy in and enhancement to a better health and safety culture.
At the end of last week, I received my official feedback from the conference, as it is always good to see where you can improve and the general comments generated about the speech. Well, I could not be more pleased with the results on the presentation, with the delivery score coming out as 92% excellent and 96% with the content being excellent.
Comments that followed were:
· Paul Mahoney was inspirational
· Paul was excellent
· Paul Mahoney's presentation and attitude was very good, we will be asking him to attend and present to our site (Allied Bakeries London)
· Paul Mahoney was inspirational to be able to stand up a recount what happened takes guts, you could hear and see the emotion, we would bring him to our sites to speak to our teams (Allied Bakeries)
· Paul Mahoney's presentation was very inspirational
Therefore, what is my secret to delivering a presentation? That would be telling and successful people do not give away their secrets do they? As far as I am concerned, there is not no magical secrets, just some basic rules to follow.
· Get yourself a mentor/coach that you can bounce ideas off, because they can see and feel if it is going to work with your audience.
· Use pictures as much as possible, as most people are visual and relate to pictures more than words. What is that saying a picture paints a thousand words?
· Use the odd video to break up the speech, as people have an attention span of 8 seconds to 8 minutes (according to new research). If need be get them involved in an exercise, to break the speech up..
· Make it sad, make it fun, but make sure people join you on a journey through the speech (remember the speech is a story start, middle and end)..
· Be passionate about what your subject is going to be concerning.
Do not hide behind the lectern, come and face your audience. They want to see you not an upper body behind a box.
Paul Mahoney wrote this blog as a response to when he attended the IOSH North West Tri Branch conference in Widnes at the beginning of June.
Before you start reading this blog, NO, it is not an early Christmas cracker joke. It relates to slides in my presentations inspiring other to work in a healthier and safer manner.
So, starting with the fish, what does that relate to concerning H&S? It relates to peoples working environments. There is a West African proverb that states, ‘Fish are the last to recognise water’ It is true the fish is the last to recognise that it is swimming in water. It is not until you hook the fish out onto the riverbank that it realises that it lived in water.
Now take people at work, they are the last to recognise the working environment they work in every day. This because over time things that once were considered dangerous or unhealthy merge into the background and disappear from sight.
This loss of environmental awareness now leads on to the loss of fear. In his book VALUE-BASED SAFETY PROCESS – Improving Your Safety Culture With Behaviour-Based Safety. Terry McSween states ‘Complacency refers to the loss of the fear of injury that typically motivates employees to work safely.’
Now say that exact quote to a person who has worked on the shop floor for 25 years without injury or a near miss. What would be the normal response? It would be probably be a roll of the eyes and the internal voice saying not this again.
What about if I now rephrase that quote into this question ‘When did you lose the butterflies at work?’ So, what would the response be now? First, you would get a look that says sorry, but are you MAD*? Moreover, yes, they are right, but it is said to *Make A Difference to a healthier, safer culture. Especially, if it gets the person thinking differently about the job they do.
We all more or less remember our first day at work, especially if it involved being trained around machinery. You had a tight ball in your chest, you was not sure where to stand to operate the machinery or the button/s to press to operate it. Now, fast forward to now, the question has to be when did lose that tight ball in your chest? I am going to guess you cannot remember.
When we were kids and we had that tight ball in our chests, our parents would say more often or not that we had butterflies. Over time we grow up and we just call it ‘being nervous’. That nervous feeling actually keeps us alive; it keeps us on our toes, as we are stay aware of our surroundings. As time ticks by that nervous, feeling disappears, just like letting butterflies out of a jar.
The final animal is starfish. Anybody who has listened to my presentation would of heard me use a story concerning starfish washed up onto a beach. If you haven’t heard the story. I use an adapted story like the one below.
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,” I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along
You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied
“Made a difference to that one”
Health and Safety should not be hard to put into place; it helps actually makes good organisations great because it is where people want to work.
Sometimes as the people who make that difference to people’s lives at work, as we put in place the health and safety regulations, we need to take a step back and think out the box, to get that little bit more buy in from the people we are affecting in their work environments. We have to be a little crazy sometimes.
Talking of crazy, how many people thought that Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons were insane showing a video to an audience and asking them to count the passes?
Now, how many Health and Safety professionals show the video to see if their delegates spot the…
If it means looking at Health and Safety through the eyes of a child to get that, buy in or take us back to our childhoods, then so let it be. Every little step helps improve a safer working culture. It is normally the little things in life, which has the biggest impacts on that life.
So, what makes my job rewarding? Well it's when you get emails from attendees just like the ones below.
I attended your course at Romiley Board Mill yesterday.
I would just like to say a huge Thank you to you all for the delivery of such a powerful insight into safety at work.
Your stories were so moving and really have touched myself and the other attendees.
The course itself was the very best 'health and safety' session I have ever sat, it certainly gave us all wake up call to how important it is to look out for ourselves and others and to always think of the bigger picture.
It was a pleasure to meet you all and I wish you all the very best in the future.
> speaking to you at IOSH meeting in Hull Yesterday , I found was emotional with regards to your accident. and all you said I could relate to in my current workplace. I would just like to Thank you again for you story and the chat, you have inspired me to communicate and interact with all my work colleagues( Managers& shop floor staff) in closing gaps and production can be carried out safe and good morale in the workforce will meet production targets more safely and within time. Kind Regards
> Steve Larvin Bsc Hons
It means a lot to me that someone sitting there has taken the time to write and express their feelings to you. In that it has inspired them to work safer and it will have a knock on affect to their love ones and work colleagues.
It's great to know that short time that I spoke to Anne and Steve will have a lasting presences on them in a good way.