By Stefany Deckard
Do you find yourself effortlessly communicating to others what FFA has done for you and what you’ve seen it do for others? If so, would you consider that advocating or storytelling? Many of us might find ourselves running in the opposite direction when asked to advocate for something. We’re trained educators not salesmen, right? But advocating is as effortless as telling a story or making a recommendation.
As advisors, we’ve witnessed the introvert discover her voice through involvement in FFA activities, or the lackadaisical turn competitor because of the career development events FFA offers. Did you share these stories with anyone? How could you not, right? Who doesn’t want to hear a story with a triumphant ending? After all, our students need cheerleaders in their corner and it’s our job to serve in that role when it’s necessary.
What label do you give it when you recommend your favorite restaurant to others? Are you advocating or recommending? Let’s evaluate the situation for its motivation.
When you told others about your favorite restaurant, were you trying to bring more profit to that business? Highly unlikely unless the owner is someone you know. When you told others about your favorite restaurant, were you passionate in your approach? More than likely yes, because it was something you experienced and believed in. After all, you’re not going to sell something that you haven’t tried, right?
Advocating is something we do regularly despite not being inclined to call it that. You see, advocating doesn’t have to be the radical, screaming, foot stomping, sign waving, scare tactic or in-your-face approach to sending a message. Taking the more subtle approach as seen above is something we should reinforce for our students because we want them all to use the strength of their voice rather than intimidation in the approach.
Storytelling, cheerleading, recommending—each are advocacy in disguise. With the onset of the CONNECT campaign, there’s no better time than now to revisit and hone those advocacy skills. To walk your students through other approaches for advocating, use these LifeKnowledge® lessons:
AHS.40—Becoming an Advocate
HS.57 – Building Mutual Interest