What I Learned About Human Communication From the Cows That Got Out [episode 35]

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We had a pretty memorable experience that happened during our recent calving season (we were several brandings deep into the season of spring work at the time of this recording). During this particular branding, some of the panels opened up, and quite a few remaining calves (along with a couple of cows) got loose, running out into the pasture. I made some observations that seemed to work really well for the cattle (and the people who were able to get the cattle back to the pen) during this time, so I wanted to discuss how they relate to human interactions as well. 

In today’s episode, I share what I learned about human communication from the cows that got out. Cattle don’t like pressure, and they feed off of others’ energy levels. While the branding pen isn’t terribly intense, they could sense extra pressure there, which led them to want to move away. There was a sense of ‘calm’ from all of the humans working with the cattle when they got out though – nobody was stressed during this (somewhat) tense situation. Giving the cattle plenty of space to make the decision that would lead them back + showing them where they should be heading made it easy (and very doable) for them to get back to the branding pen.

All of these ‘lessons’ carry over to our interactions with other humans in our day to day lives. None of us are going to make good decisions, or even function well, if we’re in a state of distress and chaos. It’s vital that we give ourselves and those around us the space we need, and be crystal clear on where we’re heading. We can’t expect our loved ones, co-workers, etc., to be mind readers, and always know what we’re planning for next. Human communication affects so many parts of our lives; it’s a super important skill that we must continue building!

In this episode, What I Learned About Human Communication From the Cows That Got Out, we cover:

  • Remaining calm and not getting super stressed during high-stress interactions
  • Giving others plenty of space (without added pressure) to make good decisions
  • Having clarity on where you’re headed + setting and providing clear expectations for others so they know as well

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More about the Good Movement Draws Good Movement podcast:

In stockmanship (the art and science of handling cattle in a safe, effective, low-stress manner), we have this phrase . . . good movement draws good movement. 

It’s this thing that happens when we ask a small group of cattle, maybe a cow, or a pair to move out in a certain direction and their movement draws the whole herd into moving in the same direction.

Good movement happens when we approach the cattle with a positive attitude, read and really listen to what they’re telling us, and communicate accordingly. 

We don’t approach the aware, flighty cattle the same as we do the tame, docile cattle. We adjust ourselves, our energy, and approach, and communicate with each differently.

These adjustments help us effectively draw good movement from each, which then draws good movement from the herd. But it starts with us.

The same is true for humans. Good movement starts with us.

Welcome to Good Movement Draws Good Movement, the podcast where farmers, ranchers, and rural folks can grow relationally through awareness, understanding, and effective communication.

Hey, it’s me – T. I’m your host, and I, along with my guests, will be covering topics related to drawing good movement – things like self and social awareness, brain science, positive psychology, extending grace, and so much more. 

We’ll share tools that can help you understand why you are the way you are, why others are the way they are, and how you can use that to step out of self-told lies with grace and compassion to draw good movement in conversations, relationships, and life in rural America. 

Tune in every Tuesday and make sure to hit subscribe so you never miss an episode! Let’s go draw good movement!

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