Communication skills are the most important learning need for today’s risk professionals, according to members in the 2019 Airmic survey. Indeed, as risk managers increasingly move from a back office function to the front line, the ability to give effective boardroom pitches and influence senior management is becoming a vital skill.
The good news is that Darren Briggs, an expert in leadership communication and keynote speaker at Airmic's ERM Forum next month, believes that anyone can become an effective communicator. "It is a learnt skill and behaviour," he says. "From the day we are born we start to learn how to communicate; the challenge is how to manage bad habits that build up over time and focus on the approaches that can make you more effective."
Mr Briggs is co-founder and managing director of Flametree, an independent communications consultancy, and has spent the last twenty years working with boards and corporate communication teams at some of the world's best-known brands, including British Airways, Microsoft, Nike, PepsiCo and Vodafone.
He will be sharing his experiences, including practical advice and new ideas, at the Airmic ERM Forum on 9 October. "My message will be that in today's society effective communication can be the difference between success and failure," he says.
"The biggest barrier to effective communication is when the communicator only thinks about what they want to say from their own perspective. Successful communication is when the communication has been delivered with the audience's needs in mind."
Facts and emotion
The ERM Forum will be focused on the importance of agility for risk professionals and businesses more generally. “More than any other factor, the key to successful agility is the ability to develop new mindsets,” comments Julia Graham, Airmic’s deputy CEO and technical director. “But alongside that, risk professionals must ensure they are continually improving their skillsets and capabilities. Our members have identified communication skills as the most important learning need, so Darren’s experience will be invaluable.”
Presenting risk information in an engaging, relevant and persuasive manner requires an entirely different skillset to building heat maps and giving technical presentations, and many professionals report a lack of experience or confidence.
What would Mr Briggs advise someone in this position? "We persuade with facts and influence people with emotion. Successful communication requires both," he explains. "One of the things we'll cover in my session is the basic rules of communication that go back 2000 years and why emotion is so important and how it is being used even more today than ever before."
And finally, he says he will be sharing his "one simple tip" that will make you "ten times more effective" at communicating. What that tip is, he won't disclose until 9 October. If you haven't already registered, sign up to the ERM Forum here. The full programme is below.
ERM Forum programme:
9.30am Welcome note, Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director, Airmic
10.00 - 10.45 Agile risk, James Arroyo, director of Ditchley Park
10.45 - 11.15 Networking Break
11.15 - 12.30 Workshops:
The agile profession
A1 Safety risk management - bridging the gap between technical risks and strategic business decisions
A2 Environmental risk - understanding the economic impact of natural catastrophes and the effect of climate change
A3 The value of risk management - communicating with the C-Suite and the Board
A4 Enterprise risk management - keys to sustainable programmes
A5 Crisis management - It’s your reputation at risk
A6 ERM and the learning journey
12.30 - 1.15pm Environmental challenges shaping our world
1.15 - 2.15pm Networking Lunch
2.15 - 3.30pm Workshops:
Developing your skills
B1 The role of the risk committee
B2 Speaking the cyber language
B3 Trust me I’m a robot - the future of AI and automation in the workplace
B4 Connected Risk
B5 Crisis management - speaking from experience
B6 Understanding supply chains
3.30 - 4.00pm Refreshment Break
4.00 - 4.45pm Keynote: Exceptional performance through exceptional leadership and communication, by Darren Briggs co-founder and Managing Director of Flametree Communication
4.45pm Closing remarks by John Ludlow, CEO, Airmic
5.00 - 6.00pm Networking Reception