High-Stakes Communication When Every Word Counts

High-Stakes Communication

Miscommunication in high stakes and high risk work environments could mean the difference between a routine task being completed or a workplace fatality being reported.  Whether you are a surgeon, a railroad conductor, or a heavy machinery operator, having critical information conveyed clearly is key in your safety and the safety of those around you. In fact, researchers have found that by improving communication between doctors and nurses the chances of an injury to a patient occurring on laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery is reduced by 30%.[1]

Having to convey information from Texas oil field injury lawyers during an emergency puts extreme pressure on both the speaker and the listener, as both parties have to calm their nerves to give and receive vital information.

In many cases, verbal communication will be exchanged to convey what steps must be taken to handle an emergency or to keep workers safe in hazardous situations. Emergency manuals and procedures are a great basis point for reference, but research has found that 64% of workers don’t understand written safety information.[2] Therefore, being an effective verbal communicator at all times in high risk environments is critical to spreading information quickly and in a form that others can easily understand.

The business consultants, here, at Speakeasy suggest implementing these key strategies to improve workplace communication to keep everyone safe.

  • Find the best communication route – Depending on the type of workers you have and the locations where they work, you may need to be creative in how you communicate with them. For field workers, for example, their access to the Internet and computers may be limited, so sending a text message or calling them directly may be the best route to ensure important messages are received. When more detailed information must be conveyed, sending an email is ideal, followed up with a phone call or face-to-face meeting to clarify any questions and make sure all parties are on the same page.
  • Speak clearly and convey information completely – In times of an emergency, adrenaline and stress levels may be high. If you can, take a deep breath and take a moment, when possible, to collect your thoughts. Information that is shared too quickly and without clarity for the audience is not effective and the message will ultimately be lost. Interpersonal communication coaches suggest jotting down a few notes before sharing critical information to ensure you are complete with the message and as clear as you need to be for all parties to have the information they need to act. This way you can be sure you are giving the right information, without missing essential details.
  • Follow-up for understanding – Often in a high pressure situation, what is said and what is actually heard may be two different things. You may have assumed certain knowledge and may not have conveyed it, or the audience may not have been listening attentively enough. Either way, always end a conversation by either outlining the next steps or asking the audience to paraphrase what they have heard. These extra minutes to clarify information may seem like time wasted in an emergency situation, but this time can actually prevent miscommunication that could lead to injury or lives lost.

Don’t let ineffective communication stand in the way of your career advancement or from keeping you and your co-workers safe. The communication consultants at Speakeasy are industry professionals committed to your communication success. Register today for one of our proven communication sessions, click here to see what programs may work best for your goals and needs.

[1] http://ww2.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2014/11/25/miscommunication-a-major-cause-of-medical-error-study-shows/

[2] http://www.safetyaction.com.au/assets/Uploads/Safety-Action-News-October-4.pdf