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Your health and safety trainees are watching you

A health and safety facilitator is a walking visual aid. Every move you make, every step you take, your trainees are watching you.

I have written on the importance of body language in health and safety training before, and this article continues that theme.

Once you know this, you can take control of the message you send by aligning your gestures, movements, and facial expressions with your words. Sounds easy?

As with everything in live, there is a downside to this as well. If you become part of the scenery, a visual bore, that’s curtains for your message.

A SHEQ trainer's body language becomes part of the message.
A SHEQ trainer’s body language becomes part of the message.

Think back to your student days. Remember sitting in those lecture halls where the professor sat behind a desk, stood by the overhead projector or spoke from behind a lectern?

Remember how your vision would blur, the professor would melt into the background and your mind would suddenly wander to your weekend plans or an upcoming test?

You were experiencing the kind of near hypnotic state that occurs when there is insufficient visual stimulation to keep the brain focused. People in the entertainment industry have long being aware of this phenomenon.

Think of the images of color and lights that accompany most musical entertainers. Think of the changing of sets and the movements of dancers and actors. All ensure that audiences remain visually stimulated.

As a facilitator you can use the same concept to recapture participant interest.

When you become aware of them drifting, ask yourself:

  • What are they looking at?
  • What do they see when they look at me? Maybe you are stuck next to the overhead and haven’t moved except to fill your glass of water. Or maybe you are sitting behind a table.

If so you are probably visually boring.

Even movement and action can be boring. If you’ve been pacing non-stop in front of the room, your movement has become repetitive and probably boring.

Stop and think visually:

  • If you’ve been sitting down, stand up.
  • If you’ve been at the overhead for half an hour turn it off and move briskly to a different position in the room.
  • If you’ve been pacing, stop. Stand still for a few seconds then move strongly and purposefully over to a flipchart, to the corner of a desk or to the window – anything that can offer you an anchor. Then stay there for the next few minutes. If you stay rooted there to long, you will again become visually boring.

Remember – who you are, speaks more loudly than what you say.

Building visual interest is not the sole responsibility of your overhead projector or flipchart. You should be the main visuals focus point. Master your body language.

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