With all of the chaos and confusion centered around running an agricultural operation, regularly scheduled meetings should be a “must” on your farm.
Effective communication plays a very important role in developing long lasting employee motivation and trust. Short, scheduled farm meetings can help build on this. Apoorly planned meeting, however, provides no solutions. Both farmers and their employees need to be prepared to communicate and provide input in the meeting if the communication process is to be successful.
According to Jeremy Daubert, an Extension Agent for the Virginia Tech University, lack of communication on the farm can lead to the eventual death of the business, even on a well-managed operation.
In the March Virginia Dairy Pipeline, Daubert offered these tips to help improve communication:
- Discuss a single topic at the meeting and schedule another meeting for the next topic.
- Keep your meetings regular. Put them on the calendar and make them happen!
- Delegate someone in charge of creating an agenda for the meeting and stick to it.
- Don’t try to do too much at one time, keep these meetings short or possibly have them more often.
- If needed, invite a facilitator to the meetings to keep them moving and on track. These facilitators may or may not have any ag experience, but they need to be able to keep the conversation moving and help ensure that all parties are afforded time for input.
Scheduled farm meetings are also a great time to reiterate the vision of your operation. Take time to recognize the hard work your employees have dedicated toward making this vision possible. Communication should be one of the key foundations of your farm. It involves a give and take relationship, openness of mind, and willingness to hear what others have to say.
For more on improving your communication skills, read: