How-to: Risk versus Appetite

Overhanging rock climbing</a> by Chris (originally posted to Flickr as DSC_0051) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.Originally posted as ‘#RiskAppetite’ at Speaking Well In Public‬’s Facebook page.

How risk-averse are you – and your business? In personal and business life, risk is ever-present.

Your response to risk is on a sliding scale from Averse, through Minimalist, Cautious and Open to Hungry. You might be naturally risk-averse in everything, always risk-hungry, or somewhere in the middle; flexible depending on the circumstances.

Risk-Averse: You’re change-wary, always going for the sure, safe, tried and tested and maybe inclined to say ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and ‘better the devil you know …’

In business, the same old thing may keep you afloat in a dangerous world, keeping the customers who know what they want and you continue to deliver it. But if their needs change and you don’t notice and respond, you may end up like the dinosaurs.

And in life, if you always take the safe route you’ll avoid getting hurt, emotionally or physically – but you’ll probably never have any fun.

If you’re always risk-averse, with its pros and cons, you minimise the likelihood of bad things ever happening – but it’s unlikely that you’ll ever experience those hits of success.

Risk-Hungry: You’re an adrenaline junkie, thriving on a high of stress and uncertainly, saying ‘eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’. New ventures, innovations and untried ideas lead the world, and bungee-jumping into the unknown, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, can test your limits and reveal just what you’re capable of. It’s just that there’s also the possibility you’ll crash and burn.

If you’re habitually risk-hungry, you’ll be more likely to encounter disaster – and great achievements, too.

So instead of always going for the same default setting, the key is to know how you feel about each individual risk, be flexible and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding what to do about it.

Ask yourself ”What’s the worst that could happen?’ It probably won’t – but are you prepared to risk that, and to deal with it if it does? PH

Related: How-to: Deliver a blended learning programme

Image credit: , Overhanging rock climbing by Chris (originally posted to Flickr as DSC_0051) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons.

About Philippa Hammond

Speaking Well In Public offers a portfolio of public speaking courses for business, performance and social occasions designed and developed by Philippa Hammond, combining her skills and techniques as an award-winning trainer, working actor and voice artist. Philippa is a member of Equity and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


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