Rural Workshop & Presentation Topics

The most obvious workshop & training topics are included in the following lists but don't hesitate to ask if there's anything else you are interested in.

Workshops, webinars and other presentations usually focus on:

1.  What I wish I'd known from the outset, and aspects that are not covered by any other presenters.

This practical, experience-based information is not found on Google, either.

2.  Particular relevance to rural and regional residents.

Topics are tailored to suit each specific audience. Taking into account participant distance from town and poor internet and mobile phone services, if applicable.

Workshops, webinars and other presentations are also run for people who don't have a specific interest in agriculture.

Style of these workshops, webinars and other presentations:

  • Illustrated with my photographs to explain the points being made, and interspersed with relevant stories.
  • Most workshops & training sessions run for 1-2 hours. But drone and photography workshops can run for 1-2 days which allows time for extra features in addition to theory: more detailed discussion on particular issues raised, personal assessment of participant photographs and hands-on sessions to practice drone flight or photography techniques or test projects.
  • Questions throughout are actively encouraged to ensure relevance to each specific audience and enable individuals to share their own ideas. The most useful, confidence-building and memorable presentations are interactive - when learning is reciprocal.
  • Topics and depth to be covered is planned in advance but tweaked on the day, in response to the audience on-the-spot expressions of interest in specific topics.
  • It is possible to successfuly include participants with a wide range of skill levels/experience in the one workshop or presentation - because such a variety is covered, and interactivity is encouraged.

Topics/subjects that can be included in workshops, webinars and other presentations:

1.  Photography & related subjects:

Photography workshop content reflects the fact that I work in three photography fields: commercial (rural marketing - agribusiness & regional tourism), photojournalism (campaigning) and art (beautiful images for walls, books, cards etc).

  • Mobile phone photography - how to get the best photographs from your mobile phone (this can be a stand-alone workshop, or intergrated with the below topics)
  • From basic scene recording and operating manual controls, to sophisticated purpose-driven image creation (aimed at changing the world - by campaigning for better rural infrastructure, encouraging ag event attendance, refuting misinformation, etc).
  • Getting the best photographs in Australia's harsh lighting conditions.
  • How to use manual settings to capture the best results in-camera (rather than post processing).
  • Satisfying and practical travel photography.
  • Which fancy photography gear is useful, and what is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
  • Upgrading photography equipment (including drones) economically - how to get a reasonable price for your old camera gear, so you can buy new cameras and lenses.
  • Different photography styles - figuring out what suits your purpose best.
  • Refining your photography aims and how to do a better job of achieving them.
  • Ethics and street photography laws.
  • How to avoid creating agricultural and rural photographs at risk of misinterpretation or that encourage negative stereotypes.
  • Digital storytelling, campaigning & promoting - when to use still images & when to use videos (to maximise effectiveness).
  • Creating short and effective videos.
  • Camera limitations - what they can't do.
  • Photography myths to ignore.
  • Increasing your chances of success when entering photography competitions.
  • Judging photographs - your own, and others.
  • Setting up and running photography competitions.
  • Running successful photography exhibitions - venue considerations, timeline, finance and grant applications, publicity.
  • Writing photograph captions and storytelling.
  • Selling photographs and publishing in the media.
  • Aerial photography (using drones, as well as from fixed wing aircraft and helicopters)

If you would like to see some more examples of my photography, there's more than 800 photographs in my books:

2.   Drone (UAV / RPA) workshops:

This is a myth-busting workshop - from an experienced & licenced drone pilot -  who separates fact from fiction.

  • What drones can & can't do - and other technology that does some jobs better.
  • Practical uses for drones on farms & stations - across different ag industries & regions.
  • Vital safety information.
  • Laws & licencing - abiding by Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) drone rules, plus an overview of global drone laws, if relevant.
  • Children and drones - information for parents, or information presented directly to schoolchildren.
  • Predictions for the future of drones in agriculture.
  • How to get started in the world of drones - what's available, where to buy, cost etc.
  • A range of the photography & business-related topics, if relevant.

Fiona Lake's drone-related credentials:
  • To date invited to present sessions on drones in 4 continents (USA, Netherlands & China); sometimes the first Australian to present at these events; as well as workshops and keynotes at various locations across regional Australia as well as Sydney and Melbourne.
  • There are only 33* Australian women who are fully certified drone pilots (RePL, AROC, ReOC) and Fiona Lake is one of them. (*Figures from CASA, March 2019)
  • Undertaken drone training in various places across Australia plus information sessions in the US (Las Vegas, New York City, Raleigh [North Carolina]) and The Netherlands (Amsterdam).

3.  Other small business-related topics (can be incorporated into rural photography or social media workshops):

  • Selling direct to the public vs via a retailer; pros & cons. Selling B2B & B2C - the differences.
  • Selling online. How do you go about it? How do you give customers confidence? Tips for running a mailorder business successfully.
  • Rural marketing do's and don't's; understanding the differences between regions & industries.
  • Payment method options; pros & cons.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).  Creating an online presence (website, blog or social media account) is one thing - how do you ensure the public finds it? And your target audience finds it?  How to climb to the top of competitive search engine rankings? And how do you stay there, long-term? (Tips based on many years of experience running a niche business in a competitive market).
  • Web designers - how do you choose the best for you - what are the considerations, including long-term?
  • Newsletter/marketing material basic principles. Email vs conventional mail pros & cons.
  • Advertising - conventional media vs online; pros & cons
  • Writing effective media releases.
  • Understand what aspects of digital management & marketing are best done by a small business owner themselves, and what can be more easily farmed out.
  • Working through aims, developing a strategy and forming a time management plan (including - identifying what's less important).
  • Tradefair and market stall tips.
  • Cyber security - principles to reduce the chance of digital viruses, your accounts being hacked, identity theft.
  • Backing up data and images - options, including 'cloud' storage services.
  • Vital considerations when putting images online.
  • Copyright protection and watermarking images.
  • How to do efficiently online research - text and images.
  • Book publishing: self publishing vs publishing companies; pros and cons.  Marketing, finance & other vital aspects.
  • Building a good (and well deserved) reputation.

The blog post 'Basic business principles - tips for online startups' explains some of the content covered in a small business workshop.

In this detailed interview with USQ's Dr Retha Weisner for the Women in Rural, Regional and Remote Enterprises (WIRE) project, I explain some of what I've learned in business over several decades.

4.  Efficient and effective social media use, for rural and regional residents:

  • Why use social media? Identifying aims and discussing what is realistically possible (and what is not).
  • Clarifying the differences between the most popular social media platforms (primarily Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube & LinkedIn) - so you know what you can expect to gain from each and can discern which is best suited to your goals.
  • Discussion of various uses for social media messaging, for rural residents.
  • Conventional media - pros & cons, compared to digital media.
  • Setting up a productive social media account (with particular emphasis on the most global platforms - LinkedIn and Twitter).
  • Online etiquette, social media do's & don't's, avoiding and dealing with trolls and bullies, managing your time.
  • Tweaking your marketing approach to suit varied audiences - understanding the differences between regions and industries.
  • Using social media for promotion (your business, events, organisations, rural issues); best practice & mistakes to avoid.
  • Social media jargon demystified - from best-practice use of hashtags to pinging.
  • How to find and converse with interesting residents of other countries on social media; including non-English speakers.
  • In-person meeting with people you've met on social media (in particular, Twitter & LinkedIn).
  • Latest social media trends and predictions.
  • Developing a social media policy for your business (especially agribusinesses).

My main Twitter account is @FionaLakeAus

5.  Rural travel - across Australia and around the world:

  • Maximising value for money on the big 3 travel costs: fares, accommodation & food.
  • Alternative accommodation options - pros & cons.
  • Making your travel dollars go further - best credit cards to use, where to get the best exchange rate, insurance options.
  • Obtaining the best value mobile phone & internet service; and digital security.
  • A whole raft of time and money saving travel tips; from handy gadgets to top tips on packing and avoiding excess baggage fees.
  • Taking great travel photographs - what gear to take & how to go about it.
  • How to meet local farmers and others involved in agriculture when travelling.
  • Attending agricultural events in other countries.
  • Solo travel, and the pros & cons of independent travel vs group tours

6.  The changing face of life in remote Australia, over several decades:

  • When I started work on a northern cattle station, there was no prospect of a telephone service or television reception in remote Australia - let alone the internet and mobile phones.  Women on cattle stations were almost exclusively involved in domestic roles.  This presentation includes the evolving position of women on northern Australian cattle stations - from no women in stockcamps to female managers, in just 30 years - and what it has meant for the top half of Australia; based on my personal experience.  Including, what it's like to live and run a business in remote Australia.

Please contact me by email if you'd like to discuss possibilities for personal (one-on-one) assistance or you have any other queries. There's also more information on these pages: Comments from previous workshop attendees & Corporate agribusiness workshops & presentations.

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