Stay courteous, communicate your values, avoid paternalism are some tips to facilitate dialogue
Agricultural communication, agribashing , science and fake news were discussed during the last edition of the Horticultural and Field Crop Days which took place from December 3 to 6 in Saint-Remi.
In Quebec, Abitibi milk producer Mylène Begin has repeatedly mentioned being the victim of cyberbullying. The young woman who posts photos of her daily life on the farm on Instagram receives violent threats from vegan activists. So that she does not feel safe, she installed cameras around her farm to protect herself and her herd.
In France, the phenomenon of agribashing has grown so much that French farmers have mobilized to denounce this denigration. On October 22, they demonstrated with their tractors to make their distress heard. They asked for commitments from their president to correct the situation.
The French Minister of Agriculture has set up an observatory of agribashing to identify malicious acts against farmers, whether verbal, virtual, physical or intrusions on farms. “In France, they are distraught over this,” said Isabelle Matteau, coordinator of the Pole of Excellence in Integrated Pest Management. They decided to go there with positive communications.”
Jonathan Jarry, science communicator at the office for science and society at McGill University, also believes that taking a positive approach is best not to block the conversation. “People share information that comes from their like-minded friends, which reinforces what they already believe.” He recalled that people’s opinions are often based on emotions, not facts. To make a difference, you have to convince people that you are right. Here are his tips for getting there.
– Be courteous, authentic, honest: to discuss a controversial subject, you must establish a relationship of trust. It is built on courtesy, authenticity and honesty.
– Avoid paternalism: paternalism is outdated. People want to understand. You have to explain to them, educate them.
– Communicate your values: to prevent polarization, bet on common values more than facts. A farmer who says how important it is for him to feed his family with good food for their health and the environment, it shows that we want the same things.
– Act as a customer service: you have to ask yourself the question: is the person in good faith? If so, we answer him. Otherwise, we may not answer him or answer him politely with a link to the information. Maybe we are not going to change this person’s idea, but the others who read the message will see the attitude we have.
– Do not expect to convince everyone: people who are at the extremes will not be convinced by your arguments. Your audience is the undecided. Those who ask questions and seek answers.