By Racine Ramsey, AgriPOWER Class VIII participant
AgriPOWER is designed to strengthen leadership among diverse Ohio agricultural professionals. Through intensive sessions, students gain confidence and skillsets to become better leaders and advocates for agriculture. Twenty-seven words, nine seconds, three messages.
Session two had a large focus on communication. Melanie Wilt, of Wilt PR, spoke to the group on how to use an authentic voice when talking with others and how to be effective. A great tool to be effective is to use the 27/9/3 method like above. Using twenty-seven words, within nine seconds, containing three messages is a great way to put together a strong message like describing a vast program like AgriPOWER or why some farmers choose to produce GMOs. Once we absorbed all of the information we could from Melanie, we broke out into groups to practice being effective communicators on having a conversation with consumers on GMOs. It was great to take what we learned from Melanie and practice her tools right then and there. With AgriPOWER class VIII consisting of 24 unique individuals who all have different involvements in agriculture, I feel we often get to see perspectives we do not get to see by doing interactive exercises in our sessions.
Dan Toland, of Wilt PR, and Callie Wells, of Herdmark Media, gave tips on digital storytelling. My generation, generation Y, is a generation of “cord cutter.” We more often read and get information from wireless sources. Dan and Callie went through methods of how to develop a strong message that grabs a reader’s attention in today’s online world of social media and blogs. Dan mentioned, “When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.” I thought this was a good rule of thumb to gauge and to develop a strong message. Joe Cornely, of OFBF, also said a powerful statement that grabbed my attention. He said, “Nobody cares what you know, until they know you care.” When talking with consumers I think this is something every advocate of agriculture should keep in mind. There are a lot of facts and knowledge in the ag industry to support current hot topics such as GMOs and Water Quality but, until people know that the ag industry cares about all sides of these topics, some people may not see any value in an agvocate’s side of the conversation.
With a fresh outlook on communication and how to be effective, I am looking forward to using the skillsets we gained in this session to our third session of communicating with our nation’s leaders in Washington, D.C.
Pictured: Melanie Wilt of Wilt PR.