Friday, July 27, 2012

Communications boot camp

Last week I had an incredible opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for a 4-day communications training session. This “boot camp” was put together by the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee.

We had a jam-packed four days, so there was not too much time for sight-seeing. Which, it turns out, was okay… Because it seems like most of the city is under construction!

construction at the capitol

(If I was a better/more creative/political writer, I would use this photograph with the construction zone with no workers, thick chain-link fence, and storm clouds rolling in to make a statement about our government and/or country. But I’m not. You’re lucky.)

And that wasn’t the focus, anyway. This wonderful group of 15 women got together to learn some communications skills. We had a great time getting to know each other, learn a little more about farming in other parts of the country, and learning more about how to tell our stories to people outside our agricultural field.

boot campers

We each started the workshop off with a prepared speech.

Elissa McLerranElissa McLerran

Our initial speeches were video-taped, so we had a chance to watch ourselves give the speech. We got some individual critiques on our speeches, and got some great pointers on what we were already doing well, and where we could improve.

We got to practice skills like giving interviews to live and print media.

Carla TaylorCarla Taylor

We learned a little about what it means to testify in front of lawmakers, whether it be your county commissioners or a senator in Washington, D.C.

Katie SawyerKatie Sawyer, of New to the Farm

We all had opportunities to practice the different methods of verbal communication, and were reviewed again at the end of the workshop. Everyone got a little critique about what we had improved upon, and where we could still polish our skills a bit. (Because there’s always room for improvement!)

Samantha McLerranSamantha McLerran, of Mommy Doctor Farmer

It was a busy week, and we sure worked hard and learned a lot about how we can communicate with other people. I think we all had a great time, and came away with some new skills, and a bunch more things we can learn.

Thank you to Farm Bureau for giving us all this opportunity, and I think I speak for all the Communications Boot Camp graduates when I say that we are very much looking forward to working with you again soon!


  1. That sounds like a great experience. Glad you were able to go! Please feel free to pass along any/all ideas learned! I always need advice when it comes to opening my mouth ;-)

  2. Lana – The biggest takeaway was to take some time to prep for an interview, even if it’s just 5 quick minutes. Try to have 3 key points you want to be sure get brought up during the interview, and try to work these into the conversation. Oh, and think first, answer second. ;)


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