Within the walls of an impressive country estate in Cambridge, a dynamic three-day media and communications course unfolded, offering a unique learning experience. The charm of the venue itself, an imposing country house, set the stage for an intensive and extremely valuable journey.
Hands-on experiences were key to the curriculum, ensuring that theory seamlessly blended with practice. From conducting interviews to creating multimedia content, we navigated the intricacies of modern communication tools. The course leaned heavily into its purpose as a means of training agriculturalists in all areas in a range of broad topics, such as website and video creation, and very farming-specific experiences, such as farm walks.
Farming and the media
The course also dealt with preconceived notions about the media landscape. In an era dominated by rapid technological advancements, we looked at the evolving nature of media. From traditional forms like print and broadcast to elements of digital platforms, the course illuminated the ever-expanding avenues for communication. We talked about what is and is not expected of you by traditional media, what can go well and what can go horribly wrong in social media, and what we could do to maximise our effectiveness in these areas.
Communication and me
The most valuable part for me was in giving the best first impression when meeting someone and that to do so involved stepping outside of my own head for a minute and seeing myself from someone else’s perspective. This realisation not only applied to the visual aspects, such as facial expressions, clothing, and body language, but also to the way I articulate thoughts and respond to questions. The importance of concise yet impactful communication became apparent, as did the significance of maintaining a positive and approachable demeanour. Engaging in practical exercises allowed me to witness firsthand the impact of subtle adjustments in my presentation style, reinforcing the understanding that effective communication is an interplay between self-awareness and adaptability. Overall, the experience in TV and radio interviews not only sharpened my technical skills but also instilled a heightened awareness of the balance between perception and communication. The true hope of a course like this is to gradually shift to an improvement in communication in agriculture. The best improvements that can be made in the farming industry will come collaboratively and will take contributions from researchers, farmers, and everyone around them. I think that this course, taught in such an interesting way, that really breaks down your communication style and finds the best and worst parts, goes a significant way towards meeting that aim.