September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - March 2009

We must find ways to influence workers and management—and convince them to support our initiatives. We like to believe that our good work speaks for itself, but often, we need to speak for it.

2008-2009 ASSE President Warren Brown, CSP, ARM

Make a Difference

It’s March, which means it is time to vote for your new ASSE officers. Historically, only a small percentage of our membership has voted in our annual election of officers. This group of fellow members has volunteered to take on even greater leadership responsibilities for our Society. As members, we must support their efforts to make a difference by casting our votes.

The Nominations and Elections Committee strives to select the most viable candidates and you can be assured that they have identified the best candidates available. I urge you to take a few minutes to read the candidates’ biographical information and platform statements (found at Our campaign rules limit the amount of campaigning individual candidates may do, so, if you still have questions after reading the bios and platforms, reach out to the candidate for clarification. Then, once you’ve learned all you need to know, vote for the candidates you feel are best suited for the jobs at hand.

I also encourage you to consider running for elected office. To learn more about available positions, go to to determine which position you can best fit, then put your name in the running for next year. I will chair the Nominations and Elections Committee next year, and I welcome your participation.

Speaking of our election brings to mind another important topic. In any election, a candidate must sell the voters that s/he is the best person for the job. The candidate must find ways to convince people that s/he will get the job done right—that s/he will make a difference. In much the same way, we as SH&E professionals must find ways to influence workers and management—we must convince them to support our initiatives. We like to believe that our good work speaks for itself, but often, we need to speak for it. We must sell our capabilities to employers to convince them to hire us. We must sell the importance of safety rules to employees. We must sell a new safety approach to company management.

Many books on sales and selling address the need to put yourself in the shoes of the potential buyer. As Mark Tewart recommends in How to Be a Sales Superstar: Answer the question, what’s in it for me? for the client during your presentation. In The One Minute Salesperson, Spencer Johnson and Larry Wilson write, “When I want to remember how to sell I simply recall how I and other people like to buy. People don’t buy our services, products or ideas; they buy how they imagine using them will make them feel.”

The Ziglar Training Systems planned selling process, as outlined in Zig Ziglar’s Selling 101, consists of a four step formula: need analysis, need awareness, need solution and need satisfaction. In The Mind of the Customer, Richard Hodge and Lou Schachter say that the basic priority is to “add value to the customer’s business.” The customer wants to know how your idea or solution will help solve a concern or problem. Bill Stinnett, in Selling Results, highlights what executives think about when making decisions—issues such as earnings, growth, market share, strategic advantage, risk management, regulatory compliance and corporate image. To improve your sales presentation to executive management, factor in these elements and be ready to answer questions about them.

When it comes time to deliver your presentation, consider these five strategies from Close the Deal: Smart Moves for Selling by Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman of the Sandler Sales Institute: 1) Picture your communication goal. 2) Focus less on being clear, more on being understood. 3) Rid your language of clichés. 4) Stick with an upbeat tone. 5) Speak less and listen more.

We encounter many opportunities each day to promote our activities. Applying these ideas on sales and selling will help us improve our ability to influence and convince others to support them.

Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM