by Heidi Badenock
In part 2 of Miss-Communication with Tedra Kirby, we continue the discussion on the status of communications in the context of the Vincentian society.
Q: As a communications specialist, do you have a wish list for public communication in St Vincent and the Grenadines?
“Of course, there are so many things… I would like to see timely communication, the overall quality of the delivery improved, [and] new and innovative ways to deliver information being introduced. Given the developments in technology and how much more significant of a role social media plays in distributing news and communication, I would love to see more technology being incorporated…especially in SVG where the younger population is not a reading population…Leaders within or country, our organisations, businesses, communities, need to integrate communication into their overall operational strategies. That is what I would like to see…”
Q: What are the benefits of incorporating communications into the overall operational strategy?
“There are several benefits, one would definitely be that you are more inclined to have a more effective way of communicating with your audience…The communications person helps you to mold that message…They are likely to increase the possibility of your message being successfully received in that the response you want from your audience is the response that you get.
Secondly, when you have that person involved in your decision making, the person is also able to act as a tracker…That person will act as a bridge between you as a business and your consumers.”
Q: Is there a communication model that you think we need to follow in SVG?
“There isn’t a set model that I think we need to follow, what I will say is that there are core things that regardless we should follow…and these are things the average A’Level student can tell you. You first have to know why you’re communicating, you need to know who your audience is, you need to ensure that you know what you want their response to be, you need to know exactly what you’re communicating and the best medium to use to get this message out, and you also need to ensure that you choose the correct context in which the communication occurs.”
Q: Do you think that we follow these core communication elements?
“… I think they often forget the elements, particularly the audience and it’s not just understanding that the audience is the Vincentian public, that’s very vague, but what is the educational background of the people in your audience, what is their level of comprehension, what are they likely to already know about the particular subject, what is it that you want them to know, what is it that you want them to do and the most effective way to get them to do this?…I think there is a need to go back to the basics, to remembering the elements required for successful communication.”
Q: In the context of Covid-19, if you had to pick one country as having handled the communication aspect of Covid-19 well, what would it be?
“There are two…One of the early countries that impressed me was Jamaica, particularly the visibility of Andrew Holness during the entire thing and visible leadership is important in any crisis because Covid-19 to me is a crisis. It’s a huge communications crisis and the way the information was brought out and the way it was integrated, the frequency of the press conferences and answering core questions…for me that was really impressive. Also, there is Barbados. Barbados’ ministry of health…the way they speak to the public before they implement anything is impressive. Rather than tell us ‘ok we have implemented this’ I see that Barbados’ approach has been ‘ok this is what we’re going to do, these are the stages in which we are going to do it and this is why we’re doing it’. So Bajans are having an easier time following the developments, following what is happening, they are given great detail in their press conference… Barbados and Jamaica, I have been impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness of their communication and the synchronisation of the communication during this whole Covid situation. This is just the Communications aspect though, the other aspect of their management of Covid itself is another conversation.”
l The final installment of ‘Miss-Communication with Tedra Kirby will be published next week.