Toolbox Meeting Effectiveness: Making It Stick

Toolbox Meeting Effectiveness: Making It Stick Through Toolbox Meeting Effectiveness Training | Call to Action!If I’m leading a safety meeting, a toolbox meeting, or a safety training, and I cite some facts and figures about a hazard, statistically you’ll remember only about 5% of what I told you after that meeting has ended.  But if I show you a picture of the hazard while I’m talking about it, you’ll remember about 35% of that meeting.  Now, if I tell you about it, show you a picture of it, let you see how it works and even let you handle it to show you why it’s a hazard, you’ll remember upwards of 80% of that meeting long after I’m done talking about it. 

Tip 5 – Use Props and Visual Aids – But Use Them Right!

So far we’ve covered four tips in this series on making safety meetings stick: (1) “lead it, don’t read it,” (2) “ask, don’t tell,” and (3) conduct roving safety meetings,  and make “safety meeting leader” a floating role.  Here we want to address how to use visual aids to improve your toolbox meeting effectiveness. [password=”ste-04″]

It’s a fact that using visual aids and props can enhance both the understanding and the retention of your audience, as well as provide a more engaging experience for them during that meeting.  And the more senses you can incorporate in the learning experience the higher that engagement will be.  Let’s look at some ways to use visual aids to enhance our toolbox meetings and make them more engaging (just some of the principles covered in our toolbox meeting effectiveness training). 50 things you must know about safety leadership

Avoid Death by PowerPoint

First, if you’re using a slide deck for your safety meeting, keep in mind that a picture paints a thousand words.  Pictures and images are better than lines of text.

If you must use text then use key words only, and avoid paragraphs of text at all costs.  With slides, less is more.  The proper role of a slide is to offer support for your talking points.  It’s there to support you, not compete with you.  And it’s certainly not there so you can slavishly read them line by line and paragraph by paragraph.

If you’re using bullet points, you’ll want to follow the 6×6 rule.  No more than 6 words per bullet point and no more than 6 bullet points per slide.  Going fewer than that is always better than trying to cram more than that on one slide.

As a general rule, most slide presentations are way too long and contain way too many slides for the time allotted.  Always think in terms of paring it down, shortening it, and eliminating slides that aren’t absolutely necessary, as well as any text that is not a key word of phrase.  Then use those few key words as points to launch a larger discussion.

Use Variety for Greater Toolbox Meeting Effectiveness

fctc-online-bannerUsing a variety of visual aids is better than using just one.  And the more portable and accessible those visual aids are the better.  So if you have a prop that you can use to illustrate a point, use it–and hand it to them!  Remember, whether it’s seeing, hearing, tasting, touching or even smelling, the more senses you involve in the learning process, the more they’ll understand and the longer they’ll retain that information.

Be sure to view the video below for more information on this. We’ll continue looking at ways to make your safety message “stick” in our next issue. But that’s all for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Until next time.


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About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.