Animal Health Focus practitioners struggle to communicate their key messages around herd health and disease prevention including the use of vaccines. In preparation for herds of the future, the role of the traditional farm practitioner is changing rapidly to one of herd-health advocate. Extension advisers, including vets, find it difficult to translate best science and technical advice into action on the farm. Farmers do not always make decisions based on rational technical and economic considerations. Understanding and developing new communication skills towards positive-behaviour change on farms is necessary to make disease prevention a reality. The concept of ‘Feedforward’ (positive and enabling) versus ‘Feedback’ (negative and critical) is very useful to the veterinary practioner. Feedforward provides information about what one could do better in the future, often in contrast to what one has done poorly in the past. Feedforward focuses on creating positve emotions and attitudes. Feedforward prepares and enables the farmer for positive action. One of the key concepts in creating real and long lasting behaviour change is Feedforward. The manner in which one provides information to help improve the performance of the employee or client is vital. Consider an example from sports psychology; A performance coach is feeding back to his athlete, a diver competing in a major diving championship. He has just performed a poor second last dive and is trying to prepare Feed forward JULY 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com himself for his final dive ensuring he gets a medal position. The coach has two options to prepare his athlete for his final dive. Option one is the traditional approach offering feedback — “You caused the splash by failing to point your feet”; or option two, using a feedforward approach“— point your feet more on your next dive for a smoother entry into the water.” The difference is much more important than it appears. It is worthwhile to consider the psychological science behind feedback and contrast with feedforward. Feedback focuses attention on what individual has done wrong. It is heavily biased towards performance shortfalls, problems with the individual’s actions and highlights unwanted behaviour. Often feedback creates emotions like fear, anxiety, stress and anger which mean we struggle to think clearly, co-ordinate well with others or take in new information. This isn’t the best state of mind to have an employee or client in if you are trying to generate behaviour change in them. Kluger and DeNisi carried out a meta-analysis of 131 studies and found that one-third of individuals who had received feedback experienced a deterioration in their work performance, so individuals were in fact worse off having feedback than not having any feedback at all. The veterinary practitioner often uses feedback (with its negative connotations) during farm visits. ”There are three reasons that your calves are sick. Firstly you are using dirty buckets and utensils. Secondly the bedding is wet and the calves THE STRESS-FREE SOLUTION ✓ Low stress easy-to-use pour-on solution ✓ Kills late immature and adult fluke, worms, lice and mange ✓ Only 28 days meat withhold ✓ Kills triclabendazoleresistant fluke 30 Please read the product data sheet and seek advice before use. The dosing programme should be established with your veterinary practitioner, animal health adviser or licenced merchant. Manufactured and distributed in NI by: Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, Station Works, Newry, Co. Down, BT35 6JP. Distributed in ROI by: Norbrook Laboratories (Ireland) Ltd, Rossmore Industrial Estate, Monaghan, County Monaghan. Distributed in GB by: Norbrook Laboratories (G.B.) Limited, 1 Saxon Way East, Corby, Northamptonshire, England, NN18 9EY. Legal Category: ROI: LM UK: POM-VPS Closamectin Pour on Solution for Cattle contains 200mg/ml closantel and 5mg/ml ivermectin. | 4557-LA(C)-v1b-ROI-19/06/18