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Running Effective Safety Meetings Establishing an Objective and Sticking to It!

Every good and trained SUPERVISOR knows that there are good safety meetings and there are bad safety meetings. Bad safety meetings drone on forever, you never seem to get to the point, and you leave wondering why you were even present. Effective safety meetings ones leave you energized and feeling that you’ve really accomplished something.  And do you know the secret of taming the 4 P’s in life to a better safety meeting?????

So what makes a meeting effective? This really boils down to three things:

1.   They achieve the meeting’s objective.

2.   They take up a minimum amount of time.

3.   They leave participants feeling that a sensible process has been followed.

If you structure your meeting planning, preparation, execution, and follow up around these three basic criteria, the result will be an effective meeting.

HAVE THAT Meeting’s Objective always in mind

An effective meeting serves a useful purpose. This means that in it, you achieve a desired outcome. For a meeting to meet this outcome, or objective, you have to be clear about what it is.

Too often, people call a meeting to discuss something without really considering what a good outcome would be.

·        Do you want a decision?

·        Do you want to generate ideas?

·        Are you getting status reports?

·        Are you communicating something?

·        Are you making plans?

Use the SAFETY Time Wisely

Time is a precious resource, and no one wants their time wasted. With the amount of time we all spend in meetings, you owe it to yourself and your team to streamline the meeting as much as possible. What’s more, time wasted in a meeting is time wasted for everybody attending. For example, if a critical person is 15 minutes late in an eight person meeting, that person has cost the organization two hours of lost activity.

The agenda is what you will refer to in order to keep the meeting running on target and on time.

To prepare an agenda, consider the following factors:

·        Priorities – what absolutely must be covered?

·        Results – what do you need to accomplish at the meeting?

·        Participants – who needs to attend the meeting for it to be successful?

·        Sequence – in what order will you cover the topics?

·        Timing – how much time will spend on each topic?

·        Date and time – when will the meeting take place?

·        Place – where will the meeting take place?

Assigning a particular topic of discussion to various people is another great way to increase involvement and interest. On the agenda, indicate who will lead the discussion or presentation of each item.

An important aspect of running effective meetings is insisting that everyone respects the time allotted. Start the meeting on time, do not spend time recapping for latecomers, and, when you can, finish on time. Whatever can be done outside the meeting time should be

Satisfying Participants that a Sensible SAFETY Process Has Been Followed

Once you have an agenda prepared, you need to circulate it to the participants and get their feedback and input. Running a meeting is not a dictatorial role: You have to be participative right from the start.

Perhaps there is something important that a team member has to add. Maybe you have allotted too much, or too little, time for a particular item. There may even be some points you’ve included that have been settled already and can be taken off the list for discussion.

There are several things you should keep in mind:

·        If certain people are dominating the conversation, make a point of asking others for their ideas.

·        At the end of each agenda item, quickly summarize what was said, and ask people to confirm that that’s a fair summary. Then make notes regarding follow-up.

·        Note items that require further discussion.

·        Watch body language and make adjustments as necessary. Maybe you need a break, or you need to stop someone from speaking too much.

·        Ensure the meeting stays on topic.

·        List all tasks that are generated at the meeting. Make a note of who is assigned to do what, and by when.

·        At the close of the meeting, quickly summarize next steps and inform everyone that you will be sending out a meeting summary.

Finally, prepare the safety meeting summary. This will be forwarded to all participants and other stakeholders. It is a record of what was accomplished and who is responsible for what as the team moves forward. This is a very crucial part of effective meetings that often gets overlooked. You need a written record of what transpired, along with a list of actions that named individuals have agreed to perform.

In Safety and SAFETY MEETINGS Managing the 4Ps of Delegates is important to you and the team

Turning Passengers, Protesters and Prisoners into Participants

Each “P” represents the most common type of attendee: Participant, Passenger, Protester, and Prisoner. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Participant: this attendee, sometimes called a “Player,” is happy to be there. He or she wants to learn, and is enthusiastic and fully engaged with the process.

Passenger: this person is physically in the room, but that’s about it. He’s just along for the ride. He has no intention of disrupting the session, but neither will he engage with it or play an active role. He may treat the session as a diversion from the “day job,” or see it as irrelevant to his role.

Protester: she doesn’t want to be there, and will let everyone know about it! A Protester will often disagree with everything, and generally go out of her way to make the experience as unpleasant as possible for everyone. Chances are, she thinks the session is an irritating addition to a heavy workload or is keeping her away from work with an important deadline. Or, she may be troubled by something completely unrelated to work.

Prisoner: like the Passenger, he is resigned to being there but, like the Protester, he feels trapped and just wants to escape. Unlike the Protester, however, he is not confrontational. Instead, his behavior and body language  (folded arms, sullen demeanor) can speak volumes.

Turning Passengers, Protesters and Prisoners Into SAFETY Participants

Here are three ways that you can help attendees to move from any of the negative Ps to Participant:

1. Be positive. Explore how you can change negative thoughts to positive ones by encouraging collaboration and openness. Use open questions  to engage the Passenger, Protester or Prisoner, and explain the benefits and useful outcomes that he can expect from committing to the session and playing an active part.

2. Emphasize that you’re not trying to “fix” the other person. Your goal is to get your team member to engage with the session, not to resolve any other issues or behaviors. If external issues are impacting his behavior in the session, agree to meet with him afterward to address them. In the meantime, encourage him to put those concerns aside, and focus on the aims and purpose of the workshop.

3. Don’t take it personally. When faced with a disengaged team member, you might feel that you are the one he is unhappy with. But, as we’ve seen, it’s far more likely that there is another reason. So, don’t get defensive or confrontational . Show that you recognize there may be an issue behind his behavior, and that you’re prepared to discuss it calmly and respectfully.

It allows you to take a step back from a situation and ask yourself how you’re behaving, or how others might interpret your behavior. If you see yourself as anything other than a Participant, you can think about what you need to do to change your approach or outlook.

It can also be valuable for thinking about your career progression. For example, are you an active Participant, exploring or creating opportunities? Or are you a Passenger in your own development? Perhaps you feel that you have been placed in a role that doesn’t match your values, or that doesn’t make the most of your strengths and talents, and you feel like a Prisoner or Protester.

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