“Control The Conversation…NOT!”

This post is a result of my seeing multiple posts on Twitter, Facebook and even in print that simply cause me to shake my head and ask, Why?

Why are we so afraid of encouraging people to speak from personal experience?

Why are we so afraid to of encouraging people to share their unique perspective?

Why can’t we embrace differences and work together to solve challenges that we all face…together.



I am still seeing “professionals” and organizations talking about “controlling the message,” “controlling conversations,” providing “talking points” for those who are going to be in the “spotlight” and not being able or willing to trust people or even their own members.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.” – Melissa Etheridge 

NEWS FLASH: People are unique. Perspectives are unique. Everyone has a different story to share, a different way to share it and that is what makes different people interesting to different people.

Positive relationships are developed on mutual trust and respect.

Mutual trust and respect is a result of open and honest conversations.

Open and honest conversations can only occur if individuals share their own story, their own way, in their own words.

If our objective is truly to reach understanding, between those in a respective industry and those outside, all of the individuals must be themselves and speak from personal experience.

Controlling messaging and controlling conversations will never lead to trust, respect or a positive outcome for anyone.

“I am disillusioned enough to know that no man’s opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he’s talking about.”H. P. Lovecraft 


  1. September 27, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Would love it if there was a button! Was thinking some of this and more yesterday – working on a post. But this cuts right to the heart of it well.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      September 27, 2011 at 7:58 PM

      Thank you Jan. Looking forward to seeing yours :-).

  2. September 27, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    If only it were that simple. But today its more about fear and money. Not community or cooperation. And that can make for an environment of mistrust and domination. Issues of fear breed climates of fear. The more we engage with each other on a civil and respectful level field the more our connection will foster a better climate for all concerned.
    Thanks for posting what is happening around us and to us. On both sides of the fence.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      September 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM

      “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

      Thank you very much for taking the time to post. Appreciate your thoughts.

  3. September 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    You are right–we all have a unique and interesting story to tell. Working to close the gap between the consumer and the farmer is both a responsibility and a blessing because it both allows conversation and trust to build, and it enables us to open up and share our lives. I began blogging about six months ago, and have truly loved being able to share the story of our family crop and cattle farm. It is something that the whole family takes part in, and we are all learning great lessons. I encourage all those that work in agriculture to find your own unique voice and go to work!

    Feel free to take a look at what my family and I are doing at http://feedyardfoodie.com. I have tried to fill the blog site with pictures, videos, stories, and truths from our farm. While I certainly rely on factual information to give credence to my personal stories, I the blog is focused on my personal experiences as a wife, mother, and manager of a cattle feed yard.

    Telling our own personal story while remembering the teamwork that makes us all stronger will allow the American consumer to have a better understanding of where their food comes from and why it is raised and grown the way that it is.

    Thanks for a great post.
    Anne Burkholder
    “FeedYard Foodie”

    • commonsenseagriculture
      September 27, 2011 at 8:01 PM

      I appreciate your taking the time to post Anne. Thank you. And thank you for sharing the link to your blog. I will have to check it out. Keep it real. Keep it personal. Keep it genuine 🙂

  4. Lisa Claessen
    September 27, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    I really enjoy your perspective on things Jeff and I see difference as a positive opportunity to gain another perspective. If a person feels good about what they are and what they represent, they are less likely to want to control situations and conversations. I speak as a teacher only, with a passion for food and agriculture. I get so excited by the activity I see going on between farmer, consumer, etc and I believe it is through validating peoples different experiences and being “challenged” to think a litle differently at times do we get to the core of what is needed here – a bigger picture of how we really need each other. As a teacher I can tell you kids don’t like to be “told”! You will get more out of them by listening and recognising individual differences in them. I think adults are generally the same – listening and validating differences goes a lot further than dictating how conversations must go! Vive La Difference – thank goodness for it, because it challenges our minds and keeps us aware that we alone may not hold all the answers! Keep up the fantastic work folks. Lisa from Oz.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      September 27, 2011 at 8:03 PM

      Thank you for your comments Lisa. As a former teacher myself, you are spot on with connecting with students…and I see the same work very effectively with folks in the “real world.” Thanks again.

  5. September 28, 2011 at 5:41 AM

    Thank you for being a champion for candid conversation where all perspectives can be shared. You are a smart and thoughtful leader. – Doug

    • commonsenseagriculture
      September 28, 2011 at 5:52 AM

      Appreciate the kind words Doug. Thank you.

  6. September 28, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Jeff- Thank you for this reminder. I was just putting together a project and used the word “message” in the description of it. After reading this, I am not using that word at all. Thanks again!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: