Open Body Language – Maggie Lyon

Thanks to the generosity of the Bergami Family and the UNH Division of Student Affairs, eight UNH undergraduate students received a stipend to cover expenses related to their unpaid internship experience.  The eight recipients will be reflecting on their internship experience over the course of the summer. This entry is from Maggie Lyon, Nutrition & Dietetics Major, who is interning with Danbury Farmers’ Market.

Communication is a huge part of my work with the Danbury Farmers’ Market. I’m fortunate to have a lot of freedom in how I run our social media campaigns, email blasts, and nutrition workshops which means tons of communication! Additionally, communication is imperative on so many levels for our nutrition workshops and food demonstration classes.

            First and foremost, the discussion of weekly happenings at the Farmers’ Market is important. I’m in constant communication with my direct supervisor to discuss details, upcoming events, and to go over any edits made to our weekly emails, social media postings, articles, recipes, class ideas, and blog posts I’m responsible for. My approach is simple and effective: neutrally ask questions until everything is understood and always respond with respect and compassion – never reactively. No matter how frustrating coordinating can get, I find it professional and good hearted to communicate this way. The other side of the coin here is being able to deeply listen with an open heart and an open mind. This is a service for the community; what would they want? How can we deliver? Keeping those in mind has been foundational for me to excel in my role and build relationships with both my co-workers and community members.

            As you can imagine, effective communication is extremely important in teaching workshops and food demos. We have a diverse group of participants each week and the classes are translated sentence by sentence into Spanish (by our AMAZING translators!). Having a population speak in so many languages is definitely a challenge and I am fortunate to work with both Spanish and Mandarin speakers which has helped tremendously. Open body language, smiling, wearing an apron (but not a chef’s coat), making direct eye contact, and speaking calmly with a sense of humor is very effective communication with my participants. It conveys so much to them about me and what we’re all doing here. It says that I’m professional, but not stuffy and elite, that I’m listening to their concerns and I’m here to aid them in leading healthier lives, and that I’m here because I want to be.

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