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How questions can be our most powerful tool when having good safety conversations

At last week's Up Our Game workshop, we continued the discussion around having good safety conversations on farm.


Thanks to Alex Pattullo and Jenna Smith for sharing their lived experiences, as farmers and leading teams, navigating these hard-to-have conversations.


If you missed the 45 minute online session, you can catch up here:




What did we learn?

Lindy shared a particularly useful conversation tool in this workshop. It demonstrated how the questions we ask can be our most powerful tool in how we approach these conversations and the outcomes of them.


We focused on four things: questioning; listening; reflecting; and encouraging & supporting. And the 70, 20, 10 rule as a guide to asking questions:


Asking “What” questions 70% of the time to establish problem/solution. I.e. What do you think is working well? What do you think is the right thing to do?


Ask "How" questions approx. 20% of the time. I.e. How do you see this working? How should we do this?


Ask "Where, When, Who" questions approx. 10% of the time. These questions are about taking action/responsibility, for example: Where would you go for more information, support, resources? When will you do this? Who do you need help from?


And avoiding "WHY" questions, if possible, as ‘why’ can make people feel they have to explain/justify their behaviour making them feel defensive.


This is a useful tool explained in more detail here, with more examples to help remove barriers and find the right solutions.


Thank you to Lindy Nelson, our chair, for hosting and to Jenna and Alex for their time and willingness to share their thoughts on this topic.


Follow @farmwithoutharm or sign up to our newsletter for details of the next Up Our Game workshop on 30 November 2023.

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1 Comment


Henry Samson
Henry Samson
Oct 27, 2023

Excellent webinar! So many useful tips to better communicate safety.😃

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