Reaching out beyond the computer screen

Excited about some upcoming grains industry events, Cox Inall’s Ellen McNamara explains why connectedness means more than social media metrics.

2015 Ellen McNamara (outdoors) 550px x 300pxHere at Cox Inall we work across many facets of Australia’s food bowl, including beef, sheepmeat and horticulture. My focus is currently grains, working for clients including the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC).

Each February and March, grain growers and agronomists get together to hear the latest grains research at a series of GRDC Research Updates. Whether you’re going to Updates in Wagga Wagga, Goondiwindi, Perth or Dubbo you will see a Cox Inall face there, and one will be mine!

There are several things I love about Updates, the major one being the chance to get out from behind my desk and meet people. And the people you meet at Updates are the farmers, agros, students and researchers who are investing in industry growth, excited by change and willing to push the envelope.

The first one I am heading to is in Wagga on February 13 and 14. Its program is testament to what I am saying, covering a wide range of topics relevant to the southern NSW region, including the growth of pulse production, frost risks, herbicide resistance and even sustainable peak performance for advisors.

We don’t just listen to the presentations to help better inform our writing for media releases and science articles, but carry out a host of other activities while we are at Updates. This includes managing the media who come to cover the events, taking social photographs, posting on social media and in some cases shooting video and recording podcast interviews. It’s busy, interesting and informative – what’s not to love!

I am not trying to detract from the convenience and benefits conferred by our digital connectedness or the power and scope of social media.

Digital technology allows us to build large audiences for our clients which break down distances, and to create communications in the forms easiest for our audiences to consume, be it in the tractor or the boardroom.

It allows me to lay down podcast tracks in the comfort of my home office (alright, I do often go into the wardrobe just to cut out any echoes) and share video I shoot with anyone in the world in seconds.

And of course, in my case digital connectivity allows me work remotely from head office, allowing my family to live our dream country life and still work for Cox Inall.

But you can’t upload human connectedness.

For all the convenience and connections built through the digital world, the face to face interactions offered by attending events like the GRDC Updates matter just as much, if not more.

One of our jobs with GRDC is to deliver timely and relevant information to growers. While some of my colleagues have the first-hand knowledge of working from grain farms, it’s strictly sheep, chooks, veggies and little boys growing at my place. The best way for me to understand what’s going on for NSW grain growers is to hang out with them.

Curiosity and engagement are the key to a happy working life, happy audiences and happy clients. I know my far travelling colleagues will agree with me!

To find the closest GRDC Research Update to you, go to https://grdc.com.au/events/list

Ellen is an Account Director with Cox Inall Communications, based in Millthorpe NSW.

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