Projecting a Professional Image
As a Master Gardener Volunteer, you are a representative of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and a team member in the local Extension office. Therefore, it is important to maintain a professional image when you are serving in any Master Gardener capacity.
Dress as a professional; good-looking, clean casual clothing is recommended. Try to project a positive image and be as helpful as possible. When doing a program outside of the office, wear a Master Gardener Volunteer name badge. This serves as your identification and denotes your association with the University of Wisconsin. You may also want to wear a Master Gardener shirt/hat, if you have one.
Master Gardener Volunteers are self-directed and self-motivated. Try to find answers to problems rather than wait for others to solve them. When dealing with clientele, remember that they have a problem that is serious to them, even though it may seem trivial to you. Listen carefully to the description of their plant problem or their request for information. Try to find out as much information as you can, so that you can make a correct diagnosis of the problem. If you don't know the answer, realize the power in saying “I don’t know, but I will find out.” Most individuals appreciate the fact that they will get a correct answer. When providing information, do so in a clear, simple but usable manner. Most people want to know what time it is, not how the watch was made.
When faced with a question you cannot answer, do not refer the caller to a specialist or educator and give them the telephone number to call. Instead, you should call the specialist or educator, find out the information, and return the call to the client. Do not “pass the buck.” Check with your local UW-Extension agent to determine the appropriate method of referral.
Because you are part of a local team, take interest in what your colleagues are doing. Find out what other programs the local UW-Extension office offers. Maintain pride in the Master Gardener Program and never miss an opportunity to promote the program.
As a representative of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, you have the responsibility to help the public, these people are our clients.