Lara Minnaard

In the past years I have learned that there is an incredible amount of people with innovative ideas who truly make the world a little bit better. Whether those are scientists who do research that is socially relevant, or start-ups who bring innovations to the world or a local initiative in a neighbourhood. All of those ideas become relevant and start to come alive as soon as they are shared. Because of my background in and love for (competitive) debating, I soon realised that many of the techniques you train when debating are useful for a variety of other aspects of life as well. Whether this is about listening attentively, posing critical questions or formulating clear statements – to name a few. I am convinced that these skills are crucial for everybody, especially for the people who want to make a difference. Through debate I help people improve their listening, speaking and formulating (quickly and consistently) skills.

During my studies in Communication in Agricultural Development and later during my work at the University, I came into contact with dialogue, or, to put it more broadly, interactive processes and the facilitation of them. Processes where many of the techniques that I had gotten to know in the past years came together with attention for the content. After finishing my thesis around the influence of informal networks on the success of agricultural innovations at the Centre for Development and Innovation, I was still curious about the way in which these interactive processes worked. Now I am building on my current expertise about argumentation, presentation and listening techniques by becoming a Young Talent at Perspectivity. And hopefully, I can then say that I have helped to make the world a little bit better than it is now.

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Photo by Guy Ackermans.