Risk Communication for Dams: On-Demand

Communication is important in all aspects of dam safety within an organization, with the public, and with the specific owners or stakeholders of a project. Risk communication and stakeholder participation should ensure that (1) responsible and impacted stakeholders will be partners and be afforded the opportunity to participate in decisions that impact them, and (2) communications regarding potential inundation hazard, consequences, and shared solutions will be open, transparent, and understandable. A focus on communicating the benefits and risks associated with dams to stakeholders and the public can help increase awareness of potential dam safety issues and help all parties gain a greater understanding of how dams impact their community. This creates an understanding of risk and dam safety issues important for those with varying degrees of connections to the dam; these diverse groups have a variety of backgrounds, experience, and sophistication.

Key Takeaways:

  •     Gain new techniques for communicating with the local community leaders, the general public, internally within dam owning and regulating organizations, and especially emergency management agencies and the larger emergency management community.
  •     Understand how community audiences think and how to build messages that resonate.
  •     Understand the importance of building relationships to encourage teamwork, create trust, and enhance communication in order to better prepare for an emergency.
  •     Learn the power of storytelling and analogies to help audiences remember your message.

Kellie Mullen

Senior Vice President/Communications Coach & Trainer

Kellie Mullen uses her experience from television and radio newsrooms to coach Fortune 500 executives and government agencies on how to deliver a succinct message and remain calm and professional in high-stress situations.  An engaging and entertaining moderator and trainer, Kellie equips participants with practical tools and techniques on how to improve their communications.

Kellie leads training programs with several government agencies, including FEMA and multiple institutions across the National Institutes of Health – NCI, NEI, NHLBI and NINDS.

Prior to joining Ogilvy Public Relations, Kellie was a broadcast news reporter for NBC News affiliates, a CBS News radio news reporter, and part of IBM’s strategic communications team.  Kellie has also been a keynote speaker, roundtables facilitator and led workshops and trainings at a wide range of client events, including the CFA Institute’s Global Leadership Meeting, Deloitte’s National Public Relations Conference, Women in Technology Conference, The National Cancer Institute’s Summer Curriculum program, NRECA’s CEO Close-Up Conference, The American Chemistry Council’s CEO Summit, Bausch & Lomb’s Leadership Conference, and NIKE’s Asia Pacific PR Summit.

Welcome and Session Objectives (5 minutes)

The Power of First Impressions (10 minutes)

Understanding our Audiences (15 minutes)

  • What’s in it for me?
  • Elephants in the room
  • Community priorities, including establishing:
    o  Who is impacted by dams?
    o  Who has the responsibility to take action?
    o  Why should dam risk information be communicated?

Engineering Speak vs. Community Speak (5 minutes)     

•  Moving from technical to relatable
    o Sharing Information Across the 5 Mission Areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery

•  Jargon police

Cognitive Bias and Decision Making (20 minutes)

  • Facts versus stories
  • Connecting the right and left brain to drive decision

Messages that Stick (20 minutes)

  • Curse of knowledge
  • Making the complex simple
    o  Example: how to effectively communicate using EAP and Inundation Mapping
  • Making data relevant
  • Analogy exercise

Handling Challenging Q&A (15 minutes)

  • Bridging and baiting techniques
  • Managing tough questions discussion

Webinar Q&A (20 minutes)

Key Take-Aways (10 minutes)


On- Demand Webinar
Open to view video.
Open to view video.
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5 Questions
5 Questions Post Survey
Completion Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  6/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  6/10 points to pass
Completion Certificate
2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available