Thursday, September 20, 2012

Peter Sandman on: Your Safety Problem

Effective risk communication is one of those skills I feel every humanitarian safety and security practitioner should have. Talking about risk (and getting people to listen) as well as being able to defuse situations where others become outraged are mainstays of our profession. Unfortunately, these skills are often not taught in NGO professional development classes and good books on the subject are few and far between.

However there is an excellent source you can turn to if you want to get hip to good risk communication. His name is Peter Sandman. He's been in the business for decades and has advised Fortune 500 companies and government agencies on many high-profile, crisis situations. Sandman is now retired, but freely shares observations, opinions, and proven approaches on his Web site. He's thoughtful, articulate, and very good at what he does; in my opinion, one of the best in the field. I've effectively applied his tactics and strategies on a number of occasions; and spread the word about him to many client organizations I've worked with over the years.

There's quite a bit of information on Sandman's Web site, but to give you a taste, I recommend you read one of his recently posted articles titled Seven Sources of Your Safety Problem:Where Does Risk Communication Fit? Although written for an industrial hygiene journal, much of what he has to say is very applicable to humanitarian organizations trying to instill safety practices from within.

Check out other articles and comments on the site, too. I think you'll find some invaluable nuggets you can apply to your day-to-day work.

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