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1 Risk Communication – Principles, Tools, & Techniques Dr. Vincent T. Covello Center for Risk Communication Patricia A. Milligan Office of Nuclear Security.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Risk Communication – Principles, Tools, & Techniques Dr. Vincent T. Covello Center for Risk Communication Patricia A. Milligan Office of Nuclear Security."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Risk Communication – Principles, Tools, & Techniques Dr. Vincent T. Covello Center for Risk Communication Patricia A. Milligan Office of Nuclear Security & Incident Response April 1, 2010

2 “The problem with communication is the illusion it has occurred.” George Bernard Shaw

3 3 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Radiological Risk and Emergency Communications Draft NUREG/CR-XXXX

4 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Project Objective NRC, EP and Communications 10 CFR 50.47(b)(7) 10 CFR 50 Appendix E NUREG-0654/FEMA REP-1 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication

5 “…Dose rates of radiation equivalent to one mammogram per hour have been measured at a location approximately one mile southwest of the plant.” Press Release # 3, 2008 Bi-Annual Full Participation Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Preparedness Exercise “…Dose rates of radiation equivalent to one mammogram per hour have been measured at a location approximately one mile southwest of the plant.” Press Release # 3, 2008 Bi-Annual Full Participation Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Preparedness Exercise Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication

6 Project Objective To compile information on best practices and knowledge on risk communication before, during, and after a radiological emergency at a nuclear power plant. To provide this information to nuclear power plant licensees and local emergency responders. (Note: This project is not regulation or evaluation criteria.) Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication

7 Compilation of best practice in risk and crisis communication. Should not be seen at all as a new requirement. Use of these tools should help make your life easier. Compilation of best practice in risk and crisis communication. Should not be seen at all as a new requirement. Use of these tools should help make your life easier.

8 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Over 8000 Articles in Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals Over 2000 Books by Scientific Publishers Over 8000 Articles in Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals Over 2000 Books by Scientific Publishers Risk Communication Research and Practitioner Literature Risk Communication Research and Practitioner Literature

9 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Agenda Part I: Core Concepts Part 2: Templates Part 3: Case Studies and Discussion Part I: Core Concepts Part 2: Templates Part 3: Case Studies and Discussion

10 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Definition Risk: “a threat of loss, real or perceived, to that which we value.”

11 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Definition Risk: “a threat of loss, real or perceived, to that which we value.” Risk Communication: “the exchange of information about risks.”

12 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication 1-12 Risk Communication: Definition Is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion among individuals, groups, and institutions Involves multiple messages about the nature of risk Involves messages not strictly about risk, such as legal and institutional arrangements for risk management Source: “Improving Risk Communication,” National Academy of Sciences, 1989

13 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Mental Noise Threats (risks) produce stress Stress produces emotion (e.g., anxiety, concern, worry, fear, anger, outrage) Stress and emotion produce mental noise, which can radically change the way people process information Threats (risks) produce stress Stress produces emotion (e.g., anxiety, concern, worry, fear, anger, outrage) Stress and emotion produce mental noise, which can radically change the way people process information

14 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Goals enhance knowledge and understanding build trust and credibility encourage appropriate attitudes, behaviors and beliefs

15 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk Communication: Key Messages Risk Communication: Key Messages

16 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk Communication: Key Messages Risk Communication: Key Messages

17 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Over 8000 Articles in Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals 2000 Books Over 8000 Articles in Peer Reviewed Scientific Journals 2000 Books Risk Communication Literature

18 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Literature: Example Dr. R. Hyer and Dr. V. Covello “Effective Media Communication During Public Health Emergencies: A World Health Organization Handbook” World Health Organization, United Nations: Geneva, April 2007 (www.amazon.com or

19 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication “Communicating Radiation Risks”  Sample scenarios  Pre-approved messages  Lessons learned

20 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk CommunicationHERC v 3.1Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Literature: Example “Five Essential Elements of Immediate and Mid- Term Mass Trauma Intervention: Empirical Evidence,” Psychiatry, 70(4): 2007 Authors: Steven Hobfoll et. al. Conclusion of Research Provide people a sense of: Hope Self- and community efficacy Safety Calm Connectedness

21 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication: Resources J. Lehrer, “How We Decide M. Gladwell, “Blink” R. Fisher, “Getting to Yes” D. Morris, “Body Talk: A Dictionary of Human Gestures” E. Tufte, “Visual Explanations” J. Lehrer, “How We Decide M. Gladwell, “Blink” R. Fisher, “Getting to Yes” D. Morris, “Body Talk: A Dictionary of Human Gestures” E. Tufte, “Visual Explanations”

22 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication “The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” George A. Miller (Department of Psychology, Princeton University) The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp “The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” George A. Miller (Department of Psychology, Princeton University) The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp Risk Communication Literature: Example

23 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk Communication: Key Messages Risk Communication: Key Messages

24 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication: Core Concepts When people are stressed or concerned, they typically: …have difficulty, hearing, understanding, and remembering information …want to know that you care before they care what you know. …focus most on what they hear first and last. When people are stressed or concerned, they typically: …have difficulty, hearing, understanding, and remembering information …want to know that you care before they care what you know. …focus most on what they hear first and last.

25 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication: Core Concepts - continued When people are stressed or concerned: …the gap between reason and emotion (risk perceptions) often becomes wider. …they typically focus much more on negative information than positive information. …they typically process information at four grades below their education level. …they typically seek out additional third party sources of credible information. When people are stressed or concerned: …the gap between reason and emotion (risk perceptions) often becomes wider. …they typically focus much more on negative information than positive information. …they typically process information at four grades below their education level. …they typically seek out additional third party sources of credible information.

26 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk Communication: Key Messages Risk Communication: Key Messages

27 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Seven Step Risk Communication Strategy 1.Identify a risk communication issue or scenario 2.Identify the primary stakeholders/target audience 3.Identify potential questions or concerns 4.Develop key messages using message mapping 5.Develop supporting information for key messages 6.Test and practice messages 7.Deliver messages through appropriate communication channels 1.Identify a risk communication issue or scenario 2.Identify the primary stakeholders/target audience 3.Identify potential questions or concerns 4.Develop key messages using message mapping 5.Develop supporting information for key messages 6.Test and practice messages 7.Deliver messages through appropriate communication channels

28 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication: Core Principles “Most of the concerns and questions of upset or concerned people can be predicted and prepared for in advance.” Risk Communication: Core Principles “Most of the concerns and questions of upset or concerned people can be predicted and prepared for in advance.”

29 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk CommunicationCopyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Risk Communication “It takes me an average of two weeks to prepare an impromptu speech.” Mark Twain “It takes me an average of two weeks to prepare an impromptu speech.” Mark Twain

30 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Stakeholder Predictability “50 Most Frequently Asked Questions by Terminally Ill Patients”

31 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Stakeholder Predictability “77 Most Frequently Asked Questions by Journalists in a Disaster” (handout)

32 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Stakeholder Predictability “65 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Pandemic Influenza” (www.pandemicflu.gov)www.pandemicflu.gov “ 205 Most Frequently Asked Questions Following a Water Security or Water Contamination Event” (USEPA, Effective Risk Communication during Water Security Emergencies” EPA/600/R-07/027)

33 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Radiological Emergencies: Project Finding Over 450 questions anticipated from the media and the public 14 categories of questions (for example, questions about evacuation, sheltering in place, health and safety, KI, and economic impacts) Radiological Emergencies: Project Finding Over 450 questions anticipated from the media and the public 14 categories of questions (for example, questions about evacuation, sheltering in place, health and safety, KI, and economic impacts)

34 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk Communication: Key Messages Risk Communication: Key Messages

35 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication “The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” George A. Miller (Department of Psychology, Princeton University) The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp “The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” George A. Miller (Department of Psychology, Princeton University) The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp Risk Communication Literature: Example

36 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Message Map Stakeholder Question or Concern : Key Message 9 words on average Key Message 9 words on average Key Message 9 words on average Support- ing Info. 1.1 Support- ing Info. 1.3 Support- ing Info Support- ing Info. 2.1 Support- ing Info. 2.2 Support- ing Info. 2.3 Support- ing Info. 3.1 Support- ing Info. 3.2 : Support- ing Info. 3.3

37 37 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication HERC v 3.1Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Overarching Message Map West Nile Virus Map Key Message “Remove Standing Water” Key Message “Wear Protective Clothing” Key Message “Use Insect Repellent” Unattended swimming pools Long Sleeves Cup of Water Flower Pots/Bird Baths Long Pants Dusk and Dawn DEET 23% Medical Research

38 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Agenda Part I: Core Concepts Part 2: Templates Part 3: Special Topics Part I: Core Concepts Part 2: Templates Part 3: Special Topics

39 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Templates (see handout) CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK

40 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication/Message Mapping Templates CCO

41 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Caring/Empathy Principle “When people are stressed and upset, they want to know that you care before they care what you know.” Caring/Empathy Principle “When people are stressed and upset, they want to know that you care before they care what you know.”

42 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication The CCO Template Compassion Conviction Optimism Compassion Conviction Optimism

43 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Assessed in first 9-30 seconds Assessed in first 9-30 seconds Listening/ Caring/ Empathy/Compassion 50% Competence/ Expertise 15-20% Honesty/ Openness 15-20% All Other Factors 15-20% Trust Factors in High Stress Situations

44 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency

45 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Contact: CenterforRiskCommunication.org Mental Noise (Attention Span) Mental noise can reduce the ability to process communication up to 80% 20%

46 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Templates Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency

47 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Mental Noise: The Rule of 3 Everything in Threes –Three Key Messages –Repeat Messages Three Times (e.g., Triple T Model) –Key Messages Supported by Three Supporting Messages or Three Credible Sources Everything in Threes –Three Key Messages –Repeat Messages Three Times (e.g., Triple T Model) –Key Messages Supported by Three Supporting Messages or Three Credible Sources

48 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency

49 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication The 27/9/3 Template 27 words 9 seconds 3 messages 27 words 9 seconds 3 messages

50 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency

51 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Primacy/Recency

52 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Primacy/Recency “When people are stressed and upset, they typically focus most on that which is said first (primacy) and last (recency).” Primacy/Recency “When people are stressed and upset, they typically focus most on that which is said first (primacy) and last (recency).”

53 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Primacy/Recency Template Low Stress Situations: Brain processes information based on linear order (e.g., 1, 2, 3) High Stress Situations: Brain processes information based on primacy/recency (e.g., 1, 3, 2) Low Stress Situations: Brain processes information based on linear order (e.g., 1, 2, 3) High Stress Situations: Brain processes information based on primacy/recency (e.g., 1, 3, 2)

54 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK

55 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK

56 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication AGL-4 Template ======= AGL (Average Grade Level) Minus 4 (Four Grade Levels) Template “When people are stressed and upset, they typically process information at four grade levels below their average grade level.” AGL-4 Template ======= AGL (Average Grade Level) Minus 4 (Four Grade Levels) Template “When people are stressed and upset, they typically process information at four grade levels below their average grade level.”

57 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication AGL-4 Shift Low Stress Situations: Brain processes information at AGL (average grade level) High Stress Situations: Brain processes information at AGL-4 (average grade level minus 4 grade levels) Low Stress Situations: Brain processes information at AGL (average grade level) High Stress Situations: Brain processes information at AGL-4 (average grade level minus 4 grade levels)

58 58 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Notification of Unusual Event “Under this category, events are in process or have occurred which indicate potential degradation in the level of safety of the plant. No release of radioactive material requiring offsite response or monitoring is expected unless further degradation occurs.” Source: NRC Web Site

59 59 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Message Maps Used to respond to high concern questions Contain clear, concise, layered information Contain vetted or screened messages for anticipated questions

60 60 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Message Mapping Goals Enhance knowledge and understanding Build trust and credibility Encourage appropriate attitudes, behaviors and beliefs

61 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK

62 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication 1N=3P Template ==== 1N (Negative) Equals 3 P (Positives) Template “When people are stressed and upset, they typically focus more on the negative than on the positive.” (Negative Dominance Principle) 1N=3P Template ==== 1N (Negative) Equals 3 P (Positives) Template “When people are stressed and upset, they typically focus more on the negative than on the positive.” (Negative Dominance Principle)

63 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication 1N=3P (Negative Dominance) Avoid absolutes (e.g., never, always) Avoid Repeating Untrue Negatives/False Allegations Balance bad news with positive, constructive messages Avoid absolutes (e.g., never, always) Avoid Repeating Untrue Negatives/False Allegations Balance bad news with positive, constructive messages

64 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Negatives ==== No, Not, Never, Nothing, None Negatives ==== No, Not, Never, Nothing, None

65 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication General K. Kiley, MedCom Commander, Walter Reed, Congressional Testimony Q.: “Do you hold yourself accountable for the squalid conditions provided for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed” A.: “I’m trying not to say I’m not accountable.” Q.: “How could you not have known? A.: “I don’t do barracks inspections at Walter Reed.” Q. “Why did you do so little?” A.“Walter Reed is not my only command.” Source: March 6, 2007, Washington Post Q.: “Do you hold yourself accountable for the squalid conditions provided for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed” A.: “I’m trying not to say I’m not accountable.” Q.: “How could you not have known? A.: “I don’t do barracks inspections at Walter Reed.” Q. “Why did you do so little?” A.“Walter Reed is not my only command.” Source: March 6, 2007, Washington Post

66 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk Communication Templates CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK CCO Rule of 3 27/9/3 Primacy/Recency AGL-4 1N=3P IDK

67 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication I.D.K. (I Don’t Know) Template I.D.K. (I Don’t Know) Template Repeat the question (optional) Say you don’t know/can’t answer/wish you could answer Give the reason you don’t know or can’t answer the question Indicate follow up Bridge to what you can say about the issue Repeat the question (optional) Say you don’t know/can’t answer/wish you could answer Give the reason you don’t know or can’t answer the question Indicate follow up Bridge to what you can say about the issue

68 68 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication “If I had all day to cut a large tree, I would spend most of the day sharpening my axe.” - Abraham Lincoln “If I had all day to cut a large tree, I would spend most of the day sharpening my axe.” - Abraham Lincoln

69 Copyright, Dr. V Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk communication is a science- based discipline High concern situations change the rules of communication The key to risk communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice Risk Communication: Key Messages Risk Communication: Key Messages

70 70 Copyright Dr. V. Covello, Center for Change/Risk Communication “It takes me an average of two weeks to prepare an impromptu speech.” - Mark Twain


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