Running a farm although different than many other businesses, is also in some ways the same, especially when it comes to having good communication skills. The attached article by Richard Kamchen in the FCC Knowledge Newsletter discusses the importance of being a good communicator. The process of learning how to be an effective communicator is a life long one and includes being able to recognize that different employees may require varying approaches. Personalities of any two workers are seldom the same and what one readily grasps another may not. When providing instruction ask yourself a few basic questions. “Did they appear to understand what I asked of them, or did they seem confused and disconnected?” “Is what I think I said what they heard?” It is not uncommon for the receiver to hear something different than what the provider intended. When unsure if the correct message was received simply ask the employee to explain in their own words what they understand they are to do. In addition to the words used (particularly with out of Country workers who may not have a full understanding of English), your tone of voice, facial and body expressions, level of patience vs in a hurry, all add to the communication experience and how it is interpreted. Open friendly dialogue that encourages questions to confirm what is expected will go a long way to a smoother running operation and overall satisfaction by both employer and employee. Good communication skills, paramount for minimizing problems and providing a pleasant atmosphere for all involved!