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