Shale Topical Conference Luncheon

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 11:45am-1:15pm CDT

"Shale Oil & Gas - Don't Let Communication Mistakes Cause an Accident"

Presented by TJ Larkin, Communications Expert, Larkin Communication

The average onshore oil & gas procedure is written at grade-level 14.  The average adult reads at grade-level 8.  Only 17% of adults can understand content written at grade-level 14.

Worse, only 2% of employees will change their behavior after reading any document, no matter how easy to understand.

In this presentation, Dr TJ Larkin does two things: he shows how to make our procedures easier to read; and then how to use these procedures to change frontline behavior.

1. Increasing Comprehension

TJ starts with a typical procedure (for example, well control, H2S, perforating, rig moves) and then step-by-step reduces the complexity from grade-level 14 to grade level 8 (50% of adults can read at grade-level 8).  TJ does not remove or change the content—he makes the existing content easier to read.

2. Increasing Behavior Change

Once the document is easier to read, then TJ shows how to use the procedures to change employees.  The secret to changing behavior is winning supervisors’ support.  It is 13 times more likely an employee will change his/her behavior after a face-to-face conversation with his/her supervisor compared with reading a document.

By making our documents easier to read, and then targeting supervisors, TJ shows how we can reach and change our frontline employees.


TJ Larkin

TJ helps large companies improve their safety communication.  Clients include: Boeing, BP, ExxonMobil, GM, Monsanto, Petrobras, Shell, and Vale.  TJ (with Sandar Larkin) wrote the McGraw-Hill bestseller: Communicating Change.  Their paper, “Reaching and Changing Frontline Employees,” in the Harvard Business Review sold more than 40,000 reprints.  TJ has a Ph.D. in communication from Michigan State University, and a B.Phil. in sociology from the University of Oxford....Read more