Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Using Your Words

When was the last time you came across something that frustrated you? For me, this happens every time I read an article or watch a video highlighting a negative aspect or delivering false information about agriculture. Cattle and agriculture are how I define my lifestyle and how I plan to make my living, so it hits home when someone uses the media to harm my industry. I spent far too much time seeing this information but not knowing what to do about it. I would discuss what I read or saw with my family and come to the conclusion something needed to be done about it, and then find myself too busy to actually do it. Guess what I figured out since then? The things that I want to change will never get there unless I do something.

So, you're feeling inspired from that short paragraph to start changing your world. How exactly do you start such a thing? Small, my friends, we start small. The idea of the week is letter-writing.

For example, you just watched the Oprah episode where her and 378 staffers went vegan for a week. As an agricultural advocate, you feel like Oprah is only telling one side of the story and neglecting the benefits of meat in a person's diet. So you write a letter addressed to the contact on her website. At this large of a scale, it may not feel like your letter could make a difference. But if every agriculture enthusiast wrote the same type of letter, our impact could be huge. With these letter-writing tips, you'll be well on your way to voicing your opinion in a tactful and educated manner to animal rights groups, media outlets, and around your community.

Letter-Writing Tips

  • Create as many rough drafts as you need to get it right. Write it out first on paper or a word document- never directly into an email where you could press send at any point.
  • Keep it simple. The reader should understand your point in the first paragraph. Delete any sentences that don't contribute to your main idea.
  •  Use personal examples for a personal issue, like your family's farm. Give the reader an image of your life and let them identify with your perspective.
  • Propose a solution at the end of your letter. The last thing someone wants to read is a letter riddled with complaints and no solutions. Create a rational and simple solution.
  • Follow the correct letter format, outlined here. Professionalism is the best way to be taken seriously.
  • Triple-check your grammar and spelling! Another key to being taken seriously.

Good luck writing your next letter. Keep following the blog for a feature on one that I've written. Questions?

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