Tips for great field days – thanks once again to the GRDC Extension group for their ideas. I have build on their brainstorm with some other thoughts collected from discussions over the last 12 months.
Tips for great field days …
- Well located – think about where the field day site is to be located. Is it easily accessible? If it’s a very wet season will people still be able to access the site? What is the noise level like? Is there a busy highway or train line close to the site which will impact on peoples ability to hear speakers?
- Run on time – start and finish on time, value the effort people have made to be there. This includes the sessions during the day – speakers don’t feel valued if they have prepared for 30 minutes are then are cut short because the person prior has gone over time.
- Know and “name” the outcomes to be achieved by the event. A few well formed outcomes are more achievable than lots and lots!
- Local, relevant and topical – what are the key issues being faced in the district right now.
- Credible topics – how can this be integrated into my farm business?
- Recognised farmer – utilise farmers where possible to tell stories and value add to the research with their first hand experiences.
- Evaluate – follow up, how effective was the event? Were the agreed outcomes achieved? What worked well and what could be done differently next time?
- Good agronomy – make sure the trials are well presented and in line with district practice.
- Interaction time – ensure there is time for participants to views trials, ask questions and discuss what they might have learnt amongst themselves.
- Good food – this is vitally important! Poor food will be all that is reported on so get it right!
- Focus – not heaps of trials or topics.
- Crop trial inspection time – focus on a few trials is more effectively than overwhelming people with lots to view. Think about how much you can take in during one session.
- Add something that is a “bit left of field” or “blue sky” to create some interest
- BBQ & beer to finish off the day and allow some very important networking time.
What other ideas do readers have about what makes a great field day?
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What gives a field day the Wow factor?
This blog is a compilation of the emails and comments I have collected from my last post. I hope you all enjoy reading it and gain some useful insights into what gives a field day the Wow factor.
- Seeing or hearing something new – this could be machinery or a trial
- When planning the event the organizers have thought carefully about the objectives & key messages
- When the focus is on a few topics.
- Hearing the real life story from someone who has done it. Give the research or theory and then a practical case study of whats worked in the field and what could be done differently.
- Time for networking, name tags, time to introduce people and find about the other people at the event.
- Interactive sessions – get rid of the power points
- Plenty of time for questions and discussion
- Evaluation – having the opportunity to let the organisers know what worked well and what could be done differently. These need to be written so people can be honest with their answers.
- BBQ, great food
- Have a microphone!! A PA system with back up batteries, make sure people can hear whats going on.
- Be aware of the target audience and aim the information at the right level.
- Relevant up-to-date information
- Including some “blue-sky” research thats related to the region.
- Hands on activities in the trial – not all stand and listen
- Chairs to sit on around the site
- Independent advice from industry experts
- Field days that consider the needs of women – timing, location toilet and child friendly
- Opportunity for small groups discussions
- Be aware of the impact of the location and outside noise – good locations are accessible even when it’s wet, they are quiet (not with a train line or highway alongside the site)
- Being aware of why farmers attend these events – knowledge, social occasion, exchanging ideas, seeing something different and providing for all of these creates the wow.
The most commonly highlighted mistake was cramming too much into the field day – information overload, too many sessions, too many power points …
Thanks to everyone for your fantastic contribution to this Blog topic.
It doesn’t end here! Please continue to send through your thoughts and comments about great field days so I can continue my blog.
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What makes a great Field Day?
There are hundred’s of field days run across rural Australia every year with varied success. I would like to collate your ideas so we can share the Wow factor and all enjoy more great learning opportunities.
- What’s the most important thing that gives the Wow factor at field days for you? (why?)
- What’s the big field day mistake? What would you do differently?
I’d love to hear from you and will share the collective wisdom in future posts.
You can add a your answers in a comment to this blog or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I will also collate the responses and combine them into a document which will be provided to you as recognition of your valuable contribution.
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