Using Safe Words At Work

If you’ve ever done an event, you know how stressful they can be. Everyone’s eyes are watching every detail and one little slip can cause an avalanche of problems! Sometimes you’re the one completely stressed out and sometimes it’s a colleague who is about to lose it. We use Safe Words to let each other know when we need to take a break. It’s a great way to let someone know you can’t handle one. more. thing. and you need to step away from everything. It’s also an easy way to let someone else know they need to take a break before they lose it.

Our team knows the Safe Word is sacred and there are no questions asked. This means my team can tell me I should go on a ‘Starbucks run’ at any time as well. It’s a way for us to keep tabs on each other and make sure we are all in a great space so we can conquer the stress mountain an event can cause. If you’ve ever done an event, you know how stressful they can be. We use Safe Words to let each other know when we need to take a break.

I had the pleasure of giving an Ignite talk during INBOUND Bold Talks and shared about using safe words at work. Events are stressful and we LOVE producing them which is why we implement safe words to help us manage stress levels, not only for our individual self, but for the entire team!

Curious about how something that’s usually used during ‘sexy time’ helps us in our production work? Check out my presentation on Using Safe Words at Work at INBOUND 2014:



And here are my slides from the presentation:

If you’re not familiar with the Ignite event series, you should check them out sometime. They are hosted all over the world and the only ‘rule’ is to follow the format of each presentation being 20 slides long, auto-advancing at 15 seconds each, making it a total presentation time of 5 minutes. Even for the most seasoned speaker, having slides auto-advance can be a bit nerve racking!

You can check out the rest of the INBOUND Bold Talks on their YouTube playlist.

So what do you think–do you need to use safe words at YOUR work?

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About the author

Karen Hartline Karen’s passion is creating experiences that are engaging and unique, always thinking of what attendees will find interesting. For her, events are about the ultimate experience, starting with attendee registration through the post-event wrap-up email and everything in between. She prides herself on event design and strategy to make an unforgettable event.

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