Spring into communicating better

How many times have you heard it’s important that farmers and researchers communicate better? I haven’t just heard that, I’ve watched it. I’ve felt it – with sadness and frustration – at each and every opportunity missed to show and share. That’s what inspires and drives me to share practical tips in communications skills training for how to reach and influence your audience. It’s why this Spring I am again buzzing to be taking to the road with the LEAF Speak Out Roadshow to show and share tips and techniques to communicate better.

Why communication matters

Communication counts. That’s the short of it. Those that do it well know the benefits. You can inform, persuade, explain and inspire. You can advise, reassure, and sell as well. 

Ask a roomful of farming professionals, as I often do, for a show of hands if you’ve recently been bored by a presentation. The overwhelming answer is there in a forest of upheld arms. Too many of us are being bored by presenters who cannot be bothered to be interesting, let alone engaging or thought-leading. Measure the professional time in that room wasted. Convert that to cash and realise the cost of a communications culture when boredom is the new norm.

Showing the way

But help is at hand for those who want to improve. In our communication skills training, like on the Speak Out Roadshow, we share simple, must-do tips and techniques. Our overall top tip is to always be mindful of your audience’s interests and what (three) messages you want them to take away and use. Secondly, use props – real ones, rather than prop yourself up with a screen showing some over-stuffed slides.

Also at hand is digital technology. With our smartphones, we can cascade out our experiences and ideas to influence others, snap a beautiful photo or shoot a compelling short film clip that captures a moment that matters. We are running a record number of communication skills training days or short sessions giving photo-taking and film-making training.

In addition, we can help you to initiate, join, even steer conversation online. Face-to-face we can ensure you host inspiring farm walks, give great talks and answer questions – even tricky ones – clearly, convincingly and memorably. 

Spring into speaking out

Why do I now have an extra communications spring in my step? That’s because the Speak Out Out Roadshow with LEAF is about to begin. In April and May, from the Cotswolds to Dundee and from Bangor to Holkham – there are training sessions that share the top tips and techniques to be a better communicator. Is your region the one with the highest number of outward-looking, forward-thinking, tip-wanting agri-professionals? Find the Speak Out session nearest to you and sign up to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Take up the communication challenge

Lastly, we cannot ignore that we live and work in times of great change and challenge for farming; a time when some consumers are more interested than ever in their food while others have never been more disconnected; a time when leadership is lacking but we need inspiration to lead us to the best ways to farm; a time when we need to close the performance gap between the least- and best-performing farm businesses. Part of the answer to all of these challenges is to be sure to communicate better.

So, what are you waiting for?