bill.robb@safetyimprovers.com +44 (0)7738 571945
Reaching ZERO and staying there as long as possible. Safety Images

A Motivating Keynote Speaker, Energetic Facilitator and Convivial Master of Ceremonies.

Dr Bill is a leading expert in behavioural safety and leadership and has over twenty-five years speaking experience with all kinds of audiences in the United Kingdom and internationally. With his engaging style and extensive insights, he’ll add value to your next event. See the testimonials at the bottom of this page.

Dr Bill’s talks are always:

  • Directly relevant to what your organisation does and the issues your people are facing now – he does his homework!
  • Pitched at a level to suit the type of audience – people can relate to the language and examples.
  • Interactive – Bill doesn’t use slides (or very few) and gives people something to think about and discuss, even when there are 200 or more in the audience.
  • Practical and useful – people can take away something they can use to improve what they do at work.
  • Light-hearted with humour – where appropriate.

Format:

  • From 45 to 90 minutes * Groups of 15 – 500 * Cabaret, classroom or theatre set-up * In conference halls, factories, ships and offshore installations * Formal or informal * Keynote, member of panel or supporting speaker.
  • Talks to small groups of senior managers and directors
  • Motivational talks to large groups (50 – 200) of technicians and engineers as part of a larger event
  • Keynote safety speaker at start-up events for large projects
  • Master of Ceremonies at planning events with 50 – 100 people from multiple companies and with several speakers
  • Facilitation of start-up and problem-solving events.
  • Conference-type presentations on the latest developments in behavioural safety

Topics

  • Safety Leadership – 18 traits of a brilliant leader and how they apply to improving safety
  • The 10 pillars of a brilliant safety performance
  • The six behavioural traps – that’s why we still have accidents
  • What’s wrong with our safety observation system – and how to fix it
  • Effective inductions – cut out the
  • The fear factor in safety – something we don’t want to face – and should.
  • How safely are you thinking – ten questions to test it.
  • How well are you protecting you kids from harm
  • Human nature – how it screws up our safety efforts
  • A magic tool to improve your safety performance – but you may not believe it
  • Time and safety – the tension and how to overcome it
  • Your request – a specific topic causing concern in your organisation


Please telephone or email to discuss 44 (0) 773 857 1945

Bill.robb@safetyimprovers.com

Jump to Testimonials – see what satisfied clients say about Dr Bill’s contribution to their events

How I Came to earn my Living as a Speaker On Safety.

You’ll want to know the kind of “animal” you’ll be inviting to speak so I thought, so I’d give you some background. It’s a bit of a story but you’ll get a feel for what has influenced my approach to speaking.

The next door neighbour.

I didn’t know it then, but when I was fifteen, a next door neighbour put me on the path to public speaking. He was a scoutmaster and enjoyed helping young people become more responsible citizens. Over a couple of evenings, he gave us lessons in making a speech – especially overcoming the fear. I loved it!

Throughout my school years, I contributed to debates and gave lots of talks at assembly and parents’ evenings – being a prefect and Head Boy demanded it. I didn’t think I was any good – it was just a thing I did.

Three unexpected chance events.

Looking back, three unexpected chance events pulled me towards being a presenter of behavioural safety issues.

The first career-changing event happened when I was twenty-three. While lecturing economics at the University of Cape Town, I was asked to help students who were struggling to pass their examinations. What I found out had a dramatic effect on me. I discovered that most students were failing NOT because they were stupid but because they THOUGHT they were stupid.

This was a revelation to me at the time! However, it is a well-known psychological principle that what you expect is what you get, or expressed differently, as you think so you become! I changed from being an economist to become an educator, taking a diploma and masters degree, specialising in educational psychology – studying how people learn and how teaching can influence that. Before going on, let’s go back a bit.

I was born in Dumbarton (near Glasgow) Scotland in 1952 and went with my parents to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1957. After schooling, I undertook my military service in the Royal Rhodesian Air force as an cadet pilot. However, after bending the wings on a few Provost T52’s, I was assigned other duties!

After completing military service, I graduated from the University of Rhodesia with an Agricultural Economics degree, first joining the Ministry of Agriculture and then the Cattle Producers’ Association of the Rhodesia Farmers’ Union. At the ripe old age of twenty-one I was supposed to give advice to experienced farmers!! All these roles involved giving presentations of some kind or other.

I was then fortunate to gain the lecturing post at the University of Cape Town I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. After a few diversions into educational journalism, my wife and I return to the UK – back to my roots in Glasgow, in 1985.

The second career-changing event.

I was thrilled to win a very rewarding job at Glasgow University as a lecturer in Adult Education. Most of my role involved teaching teachers who retuned to university to do a diploma in Adult Education. However, another part of my role as an “education expert” was to advise colleagues from other departments on how to design and teach courses for industrial and commercial organisations. For a number of reasons, I ended up having to teach a number of the courses myself. I didn’t want to do this – remember I was giving lectures in philosophy of education and teaching methods.

So, I had to spend a number of years teaching engineers and managers about presentation skills, time management, effective meetings, effective appraisals and report writing. Guess what? I thoroughly enjoyed that practical results-oriented teaching more than my academic teaching. I loved the interaction, the challenging questions and the feedback from people who directly benefited form the courses. Fate then gave me another shove.

Off to Aberdeen.

A combination of greed and intellectual interest drove me to take up a well-paid post in Aberdeen, Scotland as Chief Executive of an educational charity called the Gordon Cook Foundation. It’s job was to promote something called values education – a fascinating field with a range of psychological implications. Things didn’t work out as planned!

After some long and hard self-evaluation, I realised that what I really enjoyed doing was “teaching” managers, so on 8th November 2003 I set up my own management training company, Profit Improvers Ltd. Over the years I gave hundreds of presentations and talks and workshops to managers and employees – mostly in the oil and gas sector. Again, I didn’t realise it at the time, but all this effort and experience helped “polish the rough speaking diamond” even more.

The third career-changing event.

One day in 1995 a client invited me to help solve a major problem. Despite everything they had in place to help people work safely (the best equipment, tons of procedures, excellent PPE, good people, lots of training) they were still having serious accidents.

I was asked to find out why this was happening and what could be done to improve the safety record. I admitted that I wasn’t a safety expert but the client’s response was, “We have our own safety people – we want you to use your psychological background to devise a solution!”

I didn’t know what to expect, but again, just as had happened with the Economics students many years before, what I found was a revelation. No matter what incident I examined, one or more of the same six behavioural issues were involved in people getting hurt or making serious mistakes. I devised a workshop to get people to face up to these behavioural traps and lo-and-behold, it worked. The safety record got better and stayed that way for about nine months. An added bonus was that the participants enjoyed the experience. Soon word of mouth took effect and since 1995 I must have given over 250 workshops and my associates another 100.

I didn’t believe it at first – just six deep underlying causes. However, over the years, after analysing hundreds of accidents and incidents, there is no doubt. That solid foundation of six basic human behaviours I was able to advise clients on improving many aspects of their safety culture. You’ll see them on the “systems” part of this website.

Being practical – theory that helps people.

Interacting with hundreds of groups of 15 – 20 people, helped me learn. Their questions, objections and experiences helped me develop my own understanding and ideas. After several years of tackling the same safety problems, I found that there are only a few “real problems”. One of them you’ll recognise immediately – poor communication!

After years of reflecting on what works and what doesn’t, and striving to find practical things that can help people improve safety almost immediately, I’ve been able to distil principles. It’s these practical, straightforward principles I share in my talks.

It would be a privilege to talk to your people.

Testimonials

Dr Bill has delivered his 90-minute behavioural safety session at our one-day seismic start-up meetings for the past five years. He has tremendous enthusiasm and builds great rapport with the audience. This is no easy task, bearing in mind the groups can number up to sixty and many people not having a full grasp of English. He puts the message across in a simple but powerful way without slides and gets people participating and thinking. Vessel crews always report being very pleased with the safety insights and the refreshing way they are delivered.

Per Gunnar Aas, Operations Manager Seismic Acquisition, BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd BP

Dr Bill Robb facilitated our two-day start-up meeting for an Arctic marine 3D seismic program in Canada. Bill did a marvellous job. The agenda was packed with important information and the audience comprised senior managers from at least twenty companies and some government officials. Bill skilfully kept the event moving – keeping to time – without making the speakers feel rushed. Having an experienced, firm-but-friendly facilitator like Bill, certainly added to the success of our event.

Sophie Hildebrand, Beaufort Sea Exploration Manager, BP

We have used the services of Dr Bill as a speaker and facilitator since 1995. His relaxed and entertaining style breaks down barriers and gets the audience on side quickly. His long experience and wisdom gains the trust of our managers and our client managers. We look forward to the next talk from Bill.

John Welsh, Regional Director, UK Offshore, Cape Offshore

It was a pleasure to welcome Dr Bill Robb to our recent Seminar for Global HSE Managers. Dr. Robb contributed considerable value and maintained strong interest of the audience. Not only did he relate his extensive experience in behavioural safety to our industry, he entertained with anecdotes and kept high input interest with applicable questions. The forty participants gained many new insights into behavioural safety and were pleased that the educational sessions were presented in a calm and very understandable manner, with no sense of being “lectured at”.

Chris Dixon, Bourbon Offshore, HSE Director

Dear Bill,

I would like to say thank you to you on behalf of myself and the 200 personnel for your inspiring words. It was a very action packed day and our personnel really enjoyed the interactive approach you took. Your vast knowledge of the subject was apparent and the feedback from the workforce was very good. We really appreciate all the effort you put into it.

John Marlow, Terminal Manager, ConocoPhillips, Theddlethorpe Gas Terminal

Over the years, Dr Bill has given several 45-minute motivational safety talks to groups of 50 – 60 managing directors and other senior managers in our contractor companies. The fast-paced and plain-speaking approach has kept the attention of this demanding audience. Every time the feedback has been excellent.

Dave Fenlon, HSE Manager, ConocoPhillips North Sea

Bill,

Many thanks for the excellent half-day presentation on safely leadership you gave to our senior management team. Your talk complimented other initiatives we have on-going here at Ensco. Your considerable knowledge about behavioural safety and the way you conveyed it was much appreciated.

David Hensel, General Manager – Europe and Africa, Ensco

I have worked with Dr Bill on a number of occasions whilst carrying out our Annual Safety Leadership Courses. Bill draws the audience in with humour, candour, and seriousness. There are no short measures with Bill – his initial approach is to study the delegates early on to gauge the atmosphere prior to his presentation. I have worked with some very professional presenters in facilitating safety seminars in Singapore, Lafayette, Holland and Denmark. Dr Bill is up there with the best of them.

John Clark, HSE Manager Europe, Noble Drilling

Dear Bill,

Thank you for the motivating talk on safety leadership you gave during our annual strategy meeting. Your part of the event fitted in well with the Teamwork theme for the day. This audience of Ships’ Officers, Superintendents and shore-based senior managers is a tough bunch to impress and from the feedback received, that they clear gained some valuable insights.

Mark Derry, Managing Director, SBS Marine