Why Learn How to Communicate, Negotiate, and Influence?

Scott A. Bonar

Do you want to make a difference with your career? That wasn't my primary driving factor at first! When I started in the conservation field, I just wanted some challenging scientific work where I could be outside! Simple as that.

However, as I got older, I realized that the outdoors was a fundamental part of my character. I had been shaped by my experiences in nature, and by those who gave me opportunities to enjoy the natural environment. My parents (both Science teachers) had taken me hiking and camping on every opportunity. We traveled all over the United States and Canada. At home I tramped through the woods with my friends, leaving early in the morning, and coming back late in the afternoon or early evening. When I got older, I knew that not only did I want to continue enjoying nature—I wanted my children and others to have the same opportunities I did.

Sooner or later most natural resources professionals realize they want to make a difference. Furthermore, they realize that healthy natural resources are more than a source of recreation but are essential for our very existence. And although the natural resources field requires strong science skills, you will have little impact unless you can communicate your science to people, and convince them to adopt environmentally-friendly habits. This requires strong skills in working with people. Working with people is as important for the conservation professional as it is for doctors, lawyers, teachers, and police officers.

On Dad's back in Southern Illinois 1960's

I have been in the natural resources profession for over 25 years. During this time, I have seen talented biologists fail because of poor people skills. Others make huge impacts, not only because they were good scientists, but because they were masters of many of the tools I describe in my book.

To improve my own people skills, I spent years studying effective conservation professionals and watched them closely to see what they did differently. I also studied government figures from history including generals, politicians, administrators, diplomats, and managers to see what makes an effective government worker. Finally, I read numerous books and articles on psychology, communication, organizational skills, sales, customer services, and stress management. This book, a distillation of what I learned, is intended to help natural resources professionals work effectively with people — a critical skill for successful resource conservation.

Do these methods really work? You bet! Students, biologists, professors and others have come to me after publication of this book and told me how these techniques have helped them (Also see reviews here). By using this information, I was able to become more effective, decrease stress, and develop friendships with a wide variety of people. Give these methods a try and see what results they produce for you!

About the Book