Telling, The Safety Way

Woman with helmet and loudspeaker on whiteI read with amusement the word ‘conversation’ being used in safety. Most often it doesn’t mean conversation, dialogue, mutual listening or helping, it means ‘telling’. Such is the safety code (

If you enter into any engagement with an ‘other’ with an agenda (eg. I must save people, I am a hero, I’m the safety guru, I know safety, I’m good at safety, hazards must be controlled, the site is only safe when I’m about), what follows will NOT be a conversation.

You can call it what you like but its NOT conversation.

Most people I have met in safety have no education or learning in conversation.

I read with amusement organisations telling people to have conversations without any need for skill development or methods in how to engage and converse with others.

There is certainly nothing in any safety curriculum that helps with this.

Apparently, a diploma in safety makes one an expert in conversation. Apparently, conversation is an exchange in noise between two people. Apparently, controlling hazards is the pathway to conversation.

If you want to know if you are a skilled conversationalist see how these resonant with you:

  1. Conversation doesn’t start with Technique (Ellul).
  2. Conversation is NOT efficient.
  3. Conversation comes without agenda.
  4. Conversation suspends all judgment.
  5. Conversation is a gift and art.
  6. Conversation comes from an orientation and disposition that precedes opening your mouth or walking on site.
  7. Conversation knows how to be present without needing to control anything, especially the other.
  8. Conversation is not governed by what one wants to say.
  9. Conversation is centred on relinquishing control.
  10. Conversation is risky.
  11. Conversation hears assumptions.
  12. Conversation is generative.
  13. Conversation understands the nature of dialogue, mutuality and listening.
  14. Conversation is timeless.
  15. Conversation hears, listens and responds to emotions.
  16. Conversations doesn’t enter into game-playing (TA).
  17. Conversation is NOT about talking.
  18. Conversation is about ‘being with’
  19. Conversation is about presence.
  20. Conversation is skilled.
  21. Conversation is NOT consultation, gossip, exchange, conferencing.
  22. Conversation is NOT a communication style.
  23. Conversation is a dance.
  24. Conversation is discovered in common-ality.
  25. Conversation knows that linguistics and para-linguistics matter.

These are just some of the basics of conversation.

If they don’t ring true then you’re probably just telling.

If you want to become a conversationalist and helper in risk then DON’T read any of these:








None of this stuff is about conversation.

Similarly, even though the word ‘culture’ is used, it has nothing to do with culture. Once again, just more safety code for telling, controlling and behaviourism (

If you want to become skilled in conversation then maybe the SPoR iCue method is what you want. iCue ( ) is positive, constructive, practical and develops skills in helping you become a conversationalist.

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