The holiday season provides many opportunities to have conversations with people outside of our normal social circle. Perhaps it is your partner’s work party or the community Christmas dinner. Either way, this is a great chance to share your ag story and make personal connections with people not otherwise connected to agriculture. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this opportunity.
Tell the truth
Tell the positive and the negative. Give a complete picture.
When you try to summarize the year in a Christmas gathering conversation, it is easy to share only the good things, or only the bad things, that happened this year. In reality, it is important that we share both. First, this gives a more balanced look at the year. Secondly, it helps us have a better, deeper, longer conversation with someone. I quickly tune out if everything in a story is glum, bad or didn’t work out. On the other hand, I don’t want to shy away from conversations that aren’t perfectly happy. Somewhere is the sweet spot where we can share struggles and challenges alongside successes.
Read the audience
If your gathering is made up entirely of farm families perhaps the conversation is more detailed, more specific, or just a continuation of the conversations that you have every day in the barn or field. However, if your gathering includes people who are not part of your family farming operation then reading the audience is important in making the most of an opportunity to share about agriculture. Some people want to hear your farm story from an emotional point of view, while others care about the financial point of view, political decisions or specific buzz words or news stories. Reading your audience can help you to connect them to ag in a meaningful way. Connecting to ag is not as simple as saying “everyone eats so they must care about ag”. Knowing how to tell your story to different people is an important part of helping share the story of modern agriculture.
Check back this week to read more tips for sharing your farm message this holiday season.