Political communication vs. management: how to reach citizens

Political communication vs.  management: how to reach citizens

Let’s tell the truth: the political communication Pure and simple, it is of interest only to politicians, their activists and theoretical analysts, and sectors such as business and unions. But ordinary citizens are not interested in the slightest. What’s more: it is terrifying for them to observe the fights, deals, chicanery and manipulations that, almost always, leave out those who voted for them.

Although the above may seem very conclusive, we must recognize that political communication is an art that requires not only skill, but also an enormous waistline; In addition, as we see daily, you have to have bombastic verbiage to talk a lot and, generally, say very little.

Having worked three decades advising governments of different countries and levels on management communication, in addition to more than three thousand brands, it is important make a big distinction between political communication and management communication: While the first focuses on the internal game of power, the second has the potential to directly touch the citizen’s daily life in a positive or negative way.

From a contribution perspective, I want to offer some key recommendations that I presented years ago in a presentation at the World Political Communication Summit held in Argentina, and that I have updated.

They are strategic suggestions so that those who are responsible for the articles of the teams of different national, provincial and local governments, find a guide that is helpful to improve the management communicationaimed at citizens.

Where to start

Any government management needs a solid, updated and knowledgeable communication team. It doesn’t have to be huge, although it does have to be extremely professional. Therefore, if the decision is in your hands, you need to give it the basic resources of budget, technology and the best possible talent to carry it out.

If you, who are reading this article, are President of the Nation, or govern a province or cities, think that it is better to have a small, highly effective team than to have hundreds of state employees whose only interest is to do their job to collect the salary. This is extremely worthy, indeed; but it takes some passion and commitment; commitment not with their political color, necessarily, but with the sensitivity of professional communicators, whether they do it internally within their government, externally, or digitally, for example.

So, if you have a large team, Start by evaluating what each person does and what their true potential is. Then write a stylebook so that its management is different.

To follow, bring together all communication areas from other sectors once a weekand align the key messages which, together, they will be responsible for transmitting. In turn, each sector must be very clear about its own key messages, aligned with the higher mottos.

And, finally, have a small team of two or three people, who, in turn, will function as an operational link, guaranteeing agility between the elephant, which is generally the state and the publics you want to address. .

Additionally, and this is essential, I recommend that you train your communications teams once a month for six months straight: you need to give them tools, not just orders. For example, what is the voice we have to communicate with people? What types of messages do we want to convey, even critical or negative ones about the things that happen? How do we analyze the big data available to make better communication decisions? Who are they professionally trained spokespersons to speak before the media and people? What are the tactics we will use to be a information powerhouse permanent, every day of the year, towards the media, as bridges towards the community?

Practical recommendations for good management communication

Now that you know that you should not mix traditional political communication with management communication – which is, in short, the impact that your actions have, and the daily activities that are carried out to improve your area of ​​responsibility -, here are several recommendations to begin to shine the government management for which the citizens voted:

  • Simplicity in explanation: Address complex topics with clarity and simplicity. Provide additional sources for further elaboration. Make graphics and illustrate so that people understand what you want to tell them.
  • Quick response to sensitive issues: Respond immediately, especially if it involves high-ranking government figures. Any topic should be able to be answered in no more than 2 hours from when it appears in circulation.
  • Data-driven communication: Provide detailed information and examples that illustrate the impact of government actions.
  • Sustainability and transparency: Make sure to have concrete evidence and data to support your communications. Don’t lie, because everything is known; What you can do is highlight some aspects of each topic.
  • Clarity of purpose: Communicate the objectives behind government actions, showing their relevance to daily life. Explain them as if you were speaking to a person who knows absolutely nothing about the subject.
  • Prioritization and planning: Address the most complex issues first, leaving time for development and expansion. Don’t leave gray. If you don’t have answers, say so openly.
  • News broadcast: Share at least three specific management pieces of information daily that have an impact on citizens. Explain why it is relevant; show fonts, graphs, data. Forgive anyone who feels referred to: do not let only economists, lawyers or other technicians write these materials, because generally they will not be understood very much, and will leave millions without being able to understand what it is about. What is needed is the sensitivity that professionals in communication, public relations, journalism, design and other convergent disciplines have.
  • Innovative information system: Develop a centralized information system that reaches all audiences. Use all available formats and segment audiences.
  • Establish crisis protocols: Something different will happen every day, so you need your teams to be agile and flexible enough to handle conflicts and unforeseen events of any kind. Establish the order of authorizations in these cases (I suggest that there be no more than two people).
  • Continuous training of your spokespersons: Train officials in a coherent and unified communication language; You can do it with intensive initial training, and reinforcements every six months, and in the event of specific crises.
  • Consistency and professionalism: Maintain constant, friendly and collaborative communication with all media.
  • Content balance: Balance hard information with topics of daily interest, always focused on solutions for citizens and the final objective that is proposed with its actions.
  • Continuous evaluation and improvement: Measure the effectiveness of your communication daily and adjust strategies as necessary.
  • Transparency in advertising and hiring: Establish clear procedures for public procurement and bidding.
  • Update the protocol: We are in a different era. As long as it is feasible, improve the protocols, standards and procedures, to the new times.
  • Social Listening and Big Data: Use big data tools to analyze trends and citizen concerns, adapting your communication to these needs. It is not necessary to create a ministry of social listening and its analysis. Today it can be done with two or three people supported by Artificial Intelligence.
  • Digital Platforms for Interaction: Promote digital channels for citizens to express their opinions and receive direct responses. I know from experience that politicians are terrified of this strategy; although there is no current best way to measure the pulse minute by minute.
  • Meet with key audiences and ask them questions: How can we improve management communication? How would you like to receive our news? What would be some positive contributions you can offer us? If possible, grab some tools and implement them. Let the person who proposed it know that it is already underway. Repeat the procedure every three months.

Effective management communication is more than a simple information transmission exercise; That is simply informing. Here it is about achieving something else: closeness with those who trusted you with their vote.

If you want to take a step forward, don’t just communicate: connect with people. Establish a commitment to clarity, transparency and relevance to the lives of citizens, from the perspective of your government.

By implementing these recommendations, any political mandate can ensure that their communication will not only be heard, but also valued and respected by those they serve. Ultimately, the true success of a government is measured by its ability to communicate and execute actions that tangibly improve people’s lives. And that can only be achieved with daily and constant management communication.

Facilitator and Master Executive Coach specialized in senior management, professionals and teams; mentor and professional communicator; international speaker; author of 32 books. LinkedIn Top Voice Latin America. ICF certified professional coach at the highest level, Certified Coach, Member and Mentor in Maxwell Leadership, the John Maxwell team.

Source: Ambito

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