‘Leadership Buffet’ helps OFBF members improve leadership, public speaking skill

Buckeye Farm News

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Leadership Buffet is continuing to grow with hundreds of members participating in seminars that work at improving their leadership skills.

A seminar was offered this summer so OFBF members could effectively talk about their operation as they highlight the importance of having state Issue 2 pass, creating the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The seminar, “Speak Up Guide to Speaking Your Mind Without Losing It First”, was held in northeast Ohio and at Leadership Conference.

“Counties had asked for this – they wanted a public speaking workshop,” said Darrell Rubel, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of volunteer development.

Rubel led the workshop, using material he had learned from teaching an ag communication class at Ohio State University.

“We condensed a quarter’s worth of information into a two-hour workshop,” he said.

During the seminar, participants learned how to talk and listen to audience members and how to respond to their questions or criticisms. They learned why eye contact, facial expressions, voice volume and hand gestures were important for public speaking and how to captivate an audience.

“They learned how to boil down a speech, how to say it in six minutes or less and get their major points across,” Rubel said. “It really boils down to that you have only 90 seconds as a speaker to make that first impact. If you don’t make that impact, you’ll probably lose them and it’s very hard to get them back.”

Other popular workshops this summer dealt with topics on how to set goals, how to get new people involved, how to make volunteering attractive and how to build an effective team. Rubel said etiquette was another area that counties had asked for help with.

“Etiquette is such a huge topic. It ranges from formal dining, dressing for success, how to deal graciously with a social faux pas, how to engage other people in conversation, e-mail and telephone,” he said.

Rubel also said the Higher Ground program, for youths age 10 to 18, was revamped this summer to include Leadership Buffet-type seminars. For example, one day the youths had speakers in to talk about livestock issues and then they discussed the topics as was done for advisory councils. They would write policy suggestions, and the next day would be a mock annual meeting with a policy meeting. On the third day, the youths learned how to testify in front of legislators and how to write letters to them.

For more about Leadership Buffet, check out the blog and Facebook page.

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