For Public Relations professionals who are the spokesperson for their company/brand, they know they have to be on call 24/7. Today's communications industry consists of a social media beast that like Toronto and New York, never sleeps.
There is one industry though, that like public relations, never sleeps.. and that is agriculture.
Food never sleeps and neither do the stories (both good and bad!) that are associated within the industry. It is the reality of the industry and the beast that is producing food for a world of 7 billion people.
Because of my experience as a dairy farmer's daughter and my time in the communications field, I understand first-hand the PR wins and losses that can take place in the AG industry each and every day. When I think of how "on call" agriculture has to be at all times, it brings forward the importance of having your "voice" properly honed in and trained and ready to go at any time.
The AG industry is trying to move from a more REACTIVE to PROACTIVE way of communicating so farmers and industry professionals aren't always spending their efforts on putting out fires and while losing vision and momentum on sharing the positives of the industry. When I am speaking to producer groups in agriculture, I always share the idea, "Why let others tell your farming stories when who better to tell them... then you?!"
If there is an important lesson that other industries, businesses or people can learn from agriculture, it is that you must always be on guard to have your "speaking notes" ready or in this case, your speaking voice ready. "Don't be caught with your pants down" as the saying goes. Here are the 5 W's to ensure your pants are always on in case you get called upon to SPEAK UP and SPEAK WELL about what you do, regardless of what industry/profession you are in.
- WHAT will you say: Elevator Pitch/Speaking Notes. Always have 3 points memorized about who you are; what you do; and the industry/group/business/passion you are involved in. People memorize information in 3's (Three blind mice, three piglets, three stooges, you get the point.. more to come on this idea!)
- WHO will be listening: Know your audience before you speak and ASK who they will be. Are they consumers? Are they from the industry? How much do they know about what you do? Ask who your audience will be so you can tailor the message.
- WHEN should you be ready: At ALL TIMES! If you are the type of person and/or business that wants to be seen as a leader in what they do and wants to be called upon for information/speaking, you ALWAYS have to be prepared and be ON to speak or give information at any time. You just never know when you will get the call!
- WHERE should you be ready to share your ideas: Through Every Medium. Be proactive in wanting to speak up. NEVER turn down an interview, phone call, or request for information. Have confidence that you KNOW what you are talking about. Don't let the story pass on by to someone else. Try and be a proactive speaker in all mediums (in person; on the phone; through email; and on social media).
- WHY should you speak up? The question really is, WHY NOT?! In working with clients, I am often surprised at how many people don't want to take the lead in speaking up. This is something I come across often in the AG industry. Sometimes it is because of humility; other times its because of confidence on the mic; or being to shy to say something, what they believe is controversial, on social media platforms. Whatever the reason, know that we NEED more people speaking up. We also need more people speaking up properly in public venues and online through social media platforms. That is what the Passionate Voice is all about-- helping you to harness your passionate voice and leverage it where you need too, whether it is in person, on the phone for an interview, or on social media.