"David's presentation on risk perception and communication was outstanding! Our conference attendees are demanding senior corporate public affairs practitioners and they raved about his ability to translate theory into actionable strategies. The combination of David's expertise, interactive case study and good humor made for a fabulous learning experience."

Caryn Pawliger, Senior Director,
U.S. Public Affairs Council


"David is a terrific speaker. He spoke to more than 100 managers at our company and the feedback afterwards was glowing. His use of audience involvement, humor, and real-world examples kept everyone highly engaged. He's funny, and he makes the information he presents both clear and relevant. His talk on risk communication was a tremendous help as we embarked upon communicating directly to patients for the first time."

Julie Foster, Vice President of Marketing, Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management Division, Medtronic


"David played a key role in helping our firm work through a major crisis. We had a large team of communication advisers, but David was uniquely qualified to advise from the perspective of risk perception. He helped with all levels of our risk communication challenge, from senior management policy to press releases, advertisements, and public presentations. David played a vital role in helping us resolve our issue successfully."

Paul Donovan, Senior Vice President for Communications, Boston Scientific

Training, Speaking, Issue-Specific Advising


We teach on-site courses that run from two hours to several days. The content and length of these training courses are tailored to the specific needs and interests of the client.

Modules include:
  • Risk Perception – The neuroscience and psychology that explain why people feel the way they do about various risks, and why just explaining the facts is not enough.
  • A Risk Communication Process – A systematic, template-guided process for thinking through all aspects of a risk communication program.
  • A Message Development Process - A systematic, template-guided process for thinking through what to say.
  • Crisis Communication - Understanding the unique demands of both your audience and the media in situations involving crises.
  • News Media Coverage of Risk – An inside look from a experienced journalist at why the media cover risk stories the way they do, and a series of tools to help you interact with news media more effectively.
  • Case studies, Scenarios and Role Playing Exercises – All modules involve active audience participation, including scenarios created to the specific needs of the client, which challenge participants to apply and practice concepts and skills introduced in the course.



People are fascinated to learn why some risks feel more frightening than others, and why our fears so often don’t seem to match the facts. With humor and active audience participation, David offers people a look inside the subconscious systems we all use to make sense of the risks we face. As a former reporter, David makes the science that helps explain the origins of our fears clear, interesting, and relevant. Anyone who attends his presentations leaves both entertained and more informed about how they and the people they deal with perceive risk.

David has been the keynote speaker at major conferences of trade associations, professional organizations, medical societies, and scientific organizations. He has spoken internationally before groups of government employees at all levels. He has lectured at many colleges and universities, both in the U.S. and abroad. He has addressed senior business managers and employees onsite at numerous companies, in groups from 20 to 2,000.

A recent presentation to the European Society of Toxicology - Watch the video



Understanding risk perception is a powerful tool for all forms of risk management, including but not limited to communication. Understanding in advance how people are likely to react to an action, decision or communication helps an organization act more intelligently, and with greater success.

Here are examples of organizations we've advised:

  • Governments considering creation or expansion of a nuclear energy program.
  • A major pharmaceutical company regarding questions about contamination of a popular product.
  • Governments at all levels preparing emergency response communication.
  • A major medical device company following news reports that one of its principal producs was defective.
  • Food industry agencies and companies dealing with public apprehension about Mad Cow disease.
  • International, national, and state public health agencies on issues including bioterrorism, Avian flu, West Nile virus, and smoking.

Here are some of the services we provide:

  • We provide both strategic and tactical advice about any risk-related issue you may be facing.
  • We help with crisis communications, often augmenting the work of standard PR firms by adding insight into the risk perception aspects of the issue which can make their work more effective.
  • We help you prepare risk communication plans and messages for potential events.
  • We offer a Risk Issues Inventory to help you identify in advance otherwise unforeseen risk issues where proactive planning can help avert potential crises and controversies.
  • We offer strategic advice on policies under consideration, and tactical advice on upcoming events like public hearings, public meetings, or interactions with the news media.
  • And of course we advise on all risk-related communications with all stakeholders, including the general public, media, regulators, and investors.