During the last several days at the Academy of Veterinary Consultants summer meeting in Kansas City, one of the main themes seemed to be communication – to both producers and consumers.
To start off with, the AVC board of directors had an excellent media training session by Osborn Barr public relations and marketing agency which Bovine Veterinarian was able to assist with.
Then, Bovine Veterinarian was invited to the Elanco student leadership program where 21 veterinary students from various veterinary colleges spent a day learning how to communicate and assess their communication skills and personality styles to help them in the future.
At the AVC meeting itself, Greg Justice from Virginia Tech gave instruction on communication via acting techniques and coaching on communication. Mark Hilton, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, Purdue University, wove into his talk on records management the necessity of understanding a client’s goals and being able to effectively communicate with him or her in order to implement a successful program.
That evening at the Boehringer Ingelheim-sponsored dinner, South Dakota Advocates for Agriculture ranchers Troy and Stacy Hadrick motivated the members to be positive spokespersons for the industry. Their main message was “Talk, teach and touch” (see below).
“One American in 10 tells the other nine how to vote, where to eat and what to buy,” said Troy Hadrick. As you may recall, Hadrick had the famous You Tube video dumping out a bottle of wine in his snowy heifer lot in response to [yellow tail] wine donating money to HSUS (see the video here).
Their message was that if agriculture does not speak for itself, someone else will speak for it. They encouraged veterinarians to stand up and tell their own story in a credible, emotional way that related to consumers.
Talk, teach and touch
The elements of “Talk, teach and touch” from the Hadricks are:
- Start a conversation – start with your “30-second elevator speech” about you and your job.
- Educate – be ready to educate, know your audience and keep it simple.
- Be honest and passionate – make a connection and take opportunities to talk to people. “Tell people not to ask Google about agriculture,” Troy Hadrick said. “Google doesn’t know.”