Risk managers sometimes fail to communicate properly because they use inappropriate language, says Risk Frisk

Risk managers and other professionals sometimes fail to get buy-in from their colleagues because they use inappropriate language or ineffective methods of communication, the AIRMIC conference heard today.

‘It’s not just about what you say, it’s how you say it,’ John Stevens of Risk Frisk Ltd told a workshop. ‘There can be a fundamental mismatch between what you think you’ve said and what the other person hears. The acid test is whether or not your message is received, understood and acted upon.’

To ensure that their messages are communicated effectively, risk managers need to use the correct language that fits in with the culture of the organisation. Typically, it will be business-focussed, commercially relevant, possible to integrate with organisational systems and motivate people to assist the process.

‘We sometimes hear risk managers and others complain that they’re stuck in silos within the organisation,’ said Stevens. ‘One way to escape from your silo is to use language that connects with your colleagues.’

He outlined some of the barriers to effective communication, including:

• Wrong language

“It’s not just about what you say, it’s how you say it.

John Stevens of Risk Frisk Ltd

• Communication style (e.g. saying ‘must do’ instead of ‘it would be very beneficial to do because...’)

• Wrong jargon

• Communication not designed to suit organisational culture

• Irrelevant or excessive detail

• Assumptions: don‘t assume the audience is interested or interested to the same degree

• Misunderstanding or lack of understanding of receiver‘s requirement