Using Public Presentations and discussions to communicate risk

Interactive information sessions allow the audience a chance to ask questions and to  associate a face with the message. Formal training is recommended when addressing public audiences, but most importantly the presenter needs to be sincere and responsive to the audience's questions and concerns.

With respect to risk communication, the effectiveness of lectures and public appearances can be improved by following the additional guidance:

  • Explain the rational behind the risk analysis and proposed management to your audience

  • Use visual aids when presenting technical information

    • take a break every 20 minutes;
    • use no more than 20 words on each slide;
    • present a maximum of seven central messages during the entire presentation.
  • Allow sufficient time for discussion and audience participation: If you address a small audience (fewer than 50 people) spend half of the time of your total presentation on questions and answers. If you are addressing a large audience it may be better to divide the group and  to organise small discussion groups of ten or less with a spokespersons for each group.

  • Be available for further requests or inquiries, and distribute a handout after the talk




Adapted from OECD Guidance Document on Risk Communication for Chemical Risk Management

Being sincere, honest, open-minded, caring for the concerns of the audience, and responsive to people’s questions and comments makes it more likely that the audience will be open to considering the communicator’s message
Source: Hatfield Consultants
Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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