When it comes to communicating with politicians, the media and non-farmers, retired Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and American Soybean Association Director Bob Worth has seen it all.
Unless of course, he hasn’t.
Worth is part of a 12 person delegation taking part in the ASA’s Advocacy Communications Training program in Nashville. The program is designed to take participants through the various aspects of communications with the intent of turning the 12 attendees loose to help ASA and its executive board better communicate ASA’s positions on a variety of topics.
“Our job is going to be to put out fires,” Worth said. “Any issue that is going to be affecting soybean farmers is being talked about here.”
The training, held March 10-12, focused on social media and how to better communicate on forums such as twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, media training and how to articulate a position through print, radio and TV interviews, and the landscape of ASA priority issues.
“I had went to a lot of trainings before but this one was really intense,” Worth said. “This is a very good training.”
Worth said the media training really stood out to him because of how serious the interviewers were with the trainees.
“They make it uncomfortable at times, and that’s OK,” he said. “That’s what this is for, and we learned to stay on point and repeat, repeat, repeat our position.
With the participants ranging in age from 26 to 62, Worth said the dynamics in the social media sessions were interesting. He said many of the older participants in the room were comfortable with Facebook and LinkedIn, but Twitter was mostly new to them.
“The older people do not tweet,” he said. “The younger people, though, they tweet and they tweet all the time. They’re also into blogging, which was interesting to learn about.”
Worth and the other participants will be assigned roles within ASA to utilize their new skills and help harness the power of communication for the organization.
“I was really excited I was nominated to represent Minnesota,” he said. “It feels good working on behalf of soybean farmers. Not that I’ve stopped doing that. I’m always advocating for farmers, but this has been a great learning experience.