Keys to Communication Success During FFA Week

By Katy Mumaw


Communication is defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior; exchange of information.”  Notice that communication is not defined as simply talking, listening or observing.  To truly communicate with one another, we must have an exchange of information; it must be a two-way street.


Everyday students in classrooms worldwide observe communication.  Let’s give FFA members an edge by giving them opportunities to practice this undeniably important skill by speaking with all types of audiences—from their peers to the town council to the FFA alumni board.


Sure, students will be anxious about speaking with unfamiliar groups, but providing ample preparation time can reduce those feelings.  How do we prepare our students to elicit an exchange of information?  Try walking your students through the following outline before their next discussion with the principal, a sponsor or community members.


Key Components

Preparing Your Key Message

A. Objective

  1. What do you want to accomplish.
    1.  Inform
    2.  Persuade


B. Audience
    1. Who is your target audience?
      1.   An individual
      2.   A group
    2. Things to consider
      1.   Their age
      2.   Their background
      3.   Their knowledge of the topic
      4.   Their ignorance of the topic


C. Supporting information
    1. What information is most important?
    2. What information will the audience find most important?
    3. WIIFM: What’s in it for me?


D. Type of communication used
    1. How is the message sent?
        1. Spoken
        2. Written
        3. Non-verbal
    2. How will the message be received?
      1. Spoken
      2. Written
      3. Nonverbal



Check out this activity and many others related to verbalizing a key message on LifeKnowledge (LK) Online.  Here are some LK lessons to help your students foster these skills:

MS.41 – Forming Key Messages
MS.42 – Responding to Audience Feedback
MS.45 – Planning a Public Presentation

HS.54 – First Impressions
AHS.26 – Mobilizing Others to Action