Communications Recognizing the importance of being able to discuss vegetation management with groups outside the industry, Dow AgroSciences has been providing landowner communication training for more than 20 years. From our successful Notify Your Neighbors training program, to workshops that Dow AgroSciences VM specialists conduct, it’s our goal to supply you with the tools you need to success in this area.

Proper training provides vegetation management professionals with concrete strategies, effective communication techniques and tested key messages to communicate with confidence when they approach, or are approached by, landowners, the public or the media. When training to communicate with these audiences, there are several key topics to keep in mind.

  1. The importance of notification programs in general and the need for field specialists to present themselves in a professional manner.
  2. Communication techniques that review two proven methods to better communicate with landowners.
  3. Public interaction, where participants learn how verbal and nonverbal skills, along with professional appearance, influence perception.
  4. How to effectively use key messages and proper word choices to deliver a consistent message. Also, review common questions asked by the public regarding herbicide applications and learn appropriate messaging to answer.
  5. Media basics when dealing with a reporter, including how to control responses in an interview and avoid reporter bias.

Landowner Communication Tips

To provide the public with continuous electrical service, state public utility commissions give power companies easement when venturing onto private property to clear power lines of trees and brush. Property-owner notification of a herbicide spraying and tree trimming is most often a quick, confrontation-free process. But on occasion, someone will get upset that a crew is coming onto their land and cutting their trees. This is where training, conflict resolution skills and a positive attitude can help an employee defuse a situation before it gets out of control.

Having a plan before engaging with a landowner helps make the notification experience easier. Using the INFORM technique gives vegetation management professionals control of the conversation:

I: Introduce yourself
N: Give the name of your company
F: State the facts about the work to be done
O: Mention the objectives and benefits of IVM
R: Respond to questions
M: Make a good last impression

During a conversation with a landowner, the ABC method is particularly helpful when responding to questions:

A: Acknowledge — Acknowledge the person’s question and be sympathetic to his or her concern.
B: Bridge — Use a bridge statement to transition the person’s concern to reflect your key message.
C: Communicate — Deliver your key message in a confident and authoritative manner. Remember, you’re the expert on vegetation management.

It’s important to keep several key messages top of mind when working on or around private properties:

  • Applications are removing invasive weeds and brush
  • Products are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies
  • Products meet strict EPA standards and undergo more than 125 tests
  • Herbicides provide longer-lasting control, so we’ll visit your property less often and are more sustainable than mechanical treatments
  • Controlling invasive species improves wildlife habitats, creates biodiversity
  • Applicators are trained and licensed