Blogger and Agricultural Advocacy Pioneer Janice Person Shares Her Tips on Effective Story-TellingWed, 16 Jan 2019 10:47:34 CST
Janice Person has been a part of Bayer Crop Protection for many years. In addition, she has also been a pioneer when it comes to agricultural blogging and story-telling via social media. During the American Farm Bureau Convention this week, Person was asked to present at a workshop to help other farmers and ranchers learn how to effectively tell their own stories in agriculture to help strengthen the industry’s grassroots advocacy efforts. She spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about effective story-telling and what tips she has for the novice agricultural advocate. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“I’ve been working with farmers on this for a long time,” she said. “We’ve told a lot of people to tell their story, but we haven’t really stepped back enough to help them understand how to make sure you’re doing it in a way that is impactful and memorable. Because, when you do a really memorable story, it’ll be passed along to other people. That’s really the power of story-telling.”
Blogging and tweeting and story-telling has actually taken root in the ag industry. Every year, more and more agricultural advocates are taking to social media or striking up conversations at the store or their local farmers market to help educate consumers about the ag industry and how their food is produced. But, according to Person, the challenge that has arisen is that people are having difficulty really getting through to consumers. Simply put, Person, says the reason is because consumers are being talked to as though they already know and understand what is being talked about. She explains that often times, advocates will ramble on quoting facts and statistics peppered with industry jargon. For the average consumer with no familiarity to the ag industry - one can imagine how easy it might be to get lost in what turns out to be a more intimidating conversation than a helpful one.
“I’m a city-girl at heart. I didn’t know anything about farming and I really see how people could get afraid of it. They see these documentaries with really compelling stories and they’re based on creating fear,” Person said. “So, think about how you tell your story, how you break through those things because it really does help us make an impact and can be really positive. Help people work through that instead of making them stay in a spot a fear.”
Story-telling is also effective in the way in which it is more based on emotion than in fact. By sharing real-life experiences and making it personal, Person says people are more likely to understand what you are talking about and will quickly develop trust in you. She explains that once a person trusts you, it is much easier to address their real concerns. Start by showing you care about the area of agriculture that you are directly involved in and how you care about your farm, your family and food safety - just in general, she says. Then, as you establish trust, Person says not to be surprised when the consumer starts asking you questions about other things. This is the appropriate time to start quoting facts and getting technical.
“You don’t have to have a story to go with everything. Part of what this does is it allows you to show that you care,” she concluded. “If you care, people will begin to trust you and then they can ask you the questions about all the details.”
Person is the author behind two popular blogs, Hundred Percent and JP Loves Life. Check them out to learn more about her and her story in agriculture.
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