Oral learners need to connect
Oral learners place a high emphasis on feeling comfortable with the individual they are learning from. Managers and regulators are predominately print learners and will tend to use a print style of communication when addressing oral learners. This is typically viewed as a pressured or authority-based approach and the results generally are poor.
I have conducted thousands of food safety/sanitation audits in foodservice/hospitality operations as a third party. When I walk in as an auditor, whether the staff is familiar with me or not, I’m viewed as an authority figure. Smiles and greetings are tense and little learning or real communication takes place during the course of the audit.
I have also spent an entire week at some of the same foodservice facilities as food safety support during a convention or conference. The same people who may have been tense and guarded during an audit are relaxed, open and willing to discuss procedures and possible changes. When it’s clear I’m there in a support role, learning and communication happen more easily.
The friendliest regulator is still a regulator. The friendliest boss is still a boss. Recognizing how a teacher is viewed by students will allow you to make adjustments so you can properly connect with students and support safe food handling procedures.
Steven Sklare is a sales executive for food safety services at SGS, based in Fairfield, NJ. He has been working in the food industry for more than 20 years performing supply chain risk management, food safety audits and training, food safety management plan design and pest control services. He can be reached at email@example.com.