On course for more communication skills success
There has never been a more important time for agri-professionals to build and use better communication skills. It was a great start to 2018 to have another group of eight East Anglians to do just that. We gathered together for three intense days of tips, techniques and tasks – otherwise known as communication skills training.
Trust and invest in communications skills training
It is the legacies of two truly great characters in the East Anglian farmscape that funds the training. John Forrest and Felix Cobbold farmed in different eras. What they had in common was a visionary attitude to agriculture. Both believed good communications were key to progress. Each year for the last nine years, the John Forrest Award committee – formed in memory of remarkable Suffolk farmer John Forrest – chooses to invest (with co-funding from the Felix Cobbold Agricultural Trust) in training agri-professionals in better communication skills.
Strength in diversity
With only eight places on the course each year there is competition to take part. Places are awarded to those who can prove they know which skills they need to build and can explain how they will put them into practice in their work in the months and years ahead. This year the group had a range of professions including farmer, researcher, trials manager, agronomist, a final year PhD student, farm advisor, farm manager and machinery operator.
Green Shoots training team
At Green Shoots we always have a great range of communications commissions on the go. Our current to-do list includes a dozen short films, lots of website and app design, a sprinkling of broadcast radio documentary-making as well as writing and editing in a whole host of styles.
We have the relevant experience to train others in communication skills. In fact we love to devote some of our time to sharing practical tips and techniques – then test them in relevant tasks. We involve the very best of professionals to come and share their tips and techniques too. Green Shoots’ top class tutors all bring out the best in the trainees.
Making film to share the farming story
The course – which covers presenting in person, applying for funding, media skills, using social media platforms professionally, writing for the web and photography – culminates in a multimedia challenge: making a short film. The film made by the group this year meant planning messages, using props, presenting and then some straightforward editing to tell the story.
So good we’ve done it nine times
This wasn’t the the first course like this one. In fact it was the ninth. Like last year, we returned to Madingley Hall, Cambridge. A special tenth anniversary gathering is planned for 2019 which will be held in Spring after the 2019 course has been run. Every agri-professional who takes the training finds much that is relevant for them in the months and years ahead.
It is always heartening to meet, see and hear past participants. To hear their anecdotes of how a particular tip or task is remembered in a key moment and takes their planning or performance to the level needed to reach and impress their target audience.
Don’t just take our word for it
We are not the only ones to enthuse about the value of building and using better communication skills. At this year’s three day course we welcomed back three participants of previous courses.
For starters there was Alistair Wright, a final year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. The main was accompanied by The Morley Agricultural Trust (TMAF) farm manager David Jones. The dessert course in communications skills in practice was provided by Greg Colebrook of Greens Farming, who is the Cambridgeshire farms manager for part of the Spearhead family contract farming.
Around the evening dinner table they each provided evidence and inspiration of putting their improved communication skills into use professionally.
On course for more communication skills training in 2019
We are delighted that the John Forrest Memorial Award Committee has decided to support another course in 2019 with funds from the Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust, and funded jointly with The Morley Agricultural Foundation.
If you think that you, or someone you know, would be interested to apply for a place on the 2019 John Forrest Award Communication Skills course then download this brochure for more details and how to apply.