What’s the value of your network?
As an introvert, there’s nothing that makes me more uncomfortable than walking into a room full of people I don’t know. It doesn’t matter if I’m on a business or social outing – networking makes me nervous. But I know that discomfort equals growth, so I always end up walking into the room instead of doing what my conscience is begging me to do, and bolting for the car. I’ll end up having a couple of good conversations that really make me think, run into a person or two who knows someone else I know, and survive the night. Networking... View Expert Column Post »
Using interpersonal communication as an effective leader
Sometimes when I’m excited about something and talking too fast, my syllables tumble out in the wrong order. I have to start all over, and it takes me twice as long to convey the original message. This is especially embarrassing for an agricultural journalism major because we’re supposed to be good at communication. My disorganized and repeated message is an example of poor interpersonal communication. As humans, we all talk quite a bit every day. Research by the University of Arizona estimates on average we use 16,000 words every day. This flurry of verbal communication accompanies a variety of tasks, everything... View Expert Column Post »
Creating a customized resume for your career goals
Developing a solid resume can be difficult. During my freshman year at AFA Leader’s Conference, Jim Emanuel, then of Water Street Solutions, offered feedback on my resume and told me it was “too artsy.” As a freshman agricultural journalism student, I was proud to display my graphic design skills within my resume. Initially, I was insulted by his comments. However, after some reflection, I realized he was right. My resume wouldn’t fit the needs of perspective employers. Most employers prefer a clean resume they can skim quickly and access the applicant’s skill set. At that point, my skills and abilities were... View Expert Column Post »
Goal Setting: Motivation and Methods
There are two things I learned during my first high school FFA leadership workshop: 1.) talking to cute boys from other schools was considered off limits by our advisor and thereby severely limited my networking opportunities, and 2.) how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. is a handy acronym you can use for setting written goals with clear objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Research by David Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech University, supports the importance of having written goals. His study revealed that 80 percent of Americans say they don’t have goals. Of the remaining 20... View Expert Column Post »
Self-Exploration Drives Success
When I think of self-exploration, I imagine Christopher Columbus and some cheesy quote about the next horizon. However, self-assessment and self-exploration aren’t superficial. They’re at the root of professional development and drive career success. Self-exploration seeks to answer questions about personal strengths and values. By answering these questions through various personality assessments, you can enhance your career by building upon your strengths and improving your weaknesses. Personality tests are an intriguing method of self-exploration. Paul Kirbach, pre-commercial corn supply planner at Monsanto, analyzes the results from these assessments to adapt his communication style and better understand his fellow employees and their work... View Expert Column Post »
Federal Policy: Why it matters to agriculture
As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” And the same could also be said about policy making, which looks a whole lot simpler when you’re a thousand miles from Capitol Hill. Policy makers need agriculture, because farmers and related occupations provide food sources both domestically and abroad. Agriculture needs policy, because legislation such as the Farm Bill provides insurance and subsidy programs. With such an interdependent relationship, it’s important for agriculturalists to pay attention to what’s going on in Washington because new pieces... View Expert Column Post »
Building human capital for agriculture
Agriculture has a high demand for a qualified, educated labor force. As world population grows, so does the demand for agricultural products. Agriculture has transformed from a traditional producer-based image to a global consumer-driven food and energy industry, full of cutting-edge science and technology. The USDA reports through 2015 there will be a shortage of qualified college graduates ready to enter the agriculture, food and natural resource industry. Human capital is an issue for businesses both large and small, government agencies, associations and production enterprises. Historically ,agriculturalists came from a farm or ranch background and filled the shoes of the previous... View Expert Column Post »
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