Public Interaction

woman smiling
Representative talking


Public Interaction

It’s not easy to approach people and say you’ll be applying a herbicide in the area. How you approach landowners can influence their reaction to the prospect of vegetation management. Here are some suggestions:

Tips for Public Interaction


Speak with confidence and authority.

Remember: You’re the expert when it comes to vegetation management.

Put the landowner at ease.

In most cases, you’re a stranger to the landowners. Remember this and act accordingly; make them feel comfortable with you and the situation.

Show empathy.

Acknowledge people’s concerns. Let them know you’re human too, and you can relate to their concerns.

Listen, listen, listen.

Give people a chance to voice their concerns and tell you about prior experiences that have influenced their feelings. Give people a chance to vent before you respond.

Control the discussion.

It’s important to keep the conversation on track.

Don’t fake it.

If a landowner asks a question you don’t have an answer to, be honest. Promise to find an answer and get the person the information within 24 to 48 hours.

Be polite, even if verbally attacked.

This can be difficult, but people tend to calm down more quickly if you don’t overreact to their emotions.

Treat everyone equally.

If you’re speaking to more than one person, acknowledge each person’s questions and concerns.

Defusing Anger

Rather than getting into an argument with an angry landowner, follow these suggestions to help defuse the situation: 

  • Establish a comfortable distance from the angry person — about 6 to 8 feet is usually a nonthreatening distance.

  • Be sure to establish eye contact and give the person your undivided attention. 

  • Be sure to show concern, but also be honest about what you’ll be doing on or near the landowner’s property and why.

  • Accept the angry person’s complaints graciously and show no resentment toward the person for bringing them up.

  • Stay calm, state the reasons why you need to control the vegetation and don’t allow yourself to become angry. If you remain calm and pleasant, it’ll be difficult for the other person to stay angry with you.

  • Don’t get into an argument. If you can’t resolve the conflict, recognize it and follow your company’s procedure for dealing with this type of situation. 

Keys to Constructive Conversation

Connecting with Landowners

woman smiling

Next Up: Key Messages

There are several common areas of concern when it comes to communications with landowners. Learn key messages to answer questions as directly and consistently as possible. 

Go to Key Messages

Stay Connected With Us

Connect with Vegetation Management:


Find Your Local VM Specialist