Friday, July 13, 2012

Effective Toolbox Talks

Communicating an Effective Toolbox Talk

To ensure effective toolbox talks, you want to ensure that all workers participate and are engaged in the toolbox talk.  The following guidelines should be helpful

Know and Understand the Material being Delivered

-        Review the toolbox talk before the meeting. Anticipate what questions may be asked and pre-think your answers.

-        This will also help reduce any awkward feelings while reading the information for the first time in front of workers.

-        It is always a good idea to use relative examples that relate to the work environment. This will ensure workers relate what you are saying to the work they are doing.

Ensure all Employees are Present and Accounted for

-        Pay attention to possible side conversations. Be prepared to interrupt in order to set the tone and keep everyone on task.

-        Employees receive no benefit if they show up in the middle of a toolbox talk.  Use your authority to ensure that employees are responsible for attending the toolbox talk on time.


-        A great technique to engage your listeners is to ask questions and especially ask workers directly to give you examples of what you are talking about. NEVER tell an employee who was brave enough to answer a question that they were wrong. Its much better to tell them they are partly on track and give a complete answer.

-        It is also very effective to use personal examples of things you have seen or read about.

Stay Calm

-        If you get asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, tell everyone that you will get an answer and get back to them on your next crewtalk.

Continuous Improvement – Identify Bad Habits You May Have

-        Do you sway back and forth nervously?

-        Do you stare at only one person?

-        Do you avoid direct eye contact with everyone?

-        Do you speak too quietly for everyone to hear you properly?

-        Or are you too aggressive in your approach?

-   Relate information directly towards field activities
-   Ensure your message is clear and understood
-   Provide questions and answers
-   Encourage group interaction but keep them on track
-   Take your time. Do not rush a toolbox talk.
-   Always identify who their immediate supervisors are and explain that all issues should go through their supervisors first and foremost before being taken to others.


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