Communicating in Unprecedented Times: Lessons for governments – Virtual workshop

In Information and Communications by Amanda Anderson

Duration: 1 week
Induction Date: 23 October 2020
Dates: 30 November to 4 December 2020 
Tuition fees: £1,240 (exc. VAT)

About the workshop
Coronavirus has exposed the fragility of Governments’ image and globally that fragility has in some countries led to civil unrest and even riots. So, in the same way that you need to prepare and protect people against a pandemic, you also need to prepare and protect your Government’s image. At PAI, we are committed to the goal that all our participants can continue to learn and develop during the global pandemic. Coronavirus has shown how quickly trust in a Government can be eroded, leading to uncertainty and confusion about Government policy. Since the Coronavirus outbreak became a global pandemic, there have been hundreds of communication lessons for Governments. So, we are pleased to present our new virtual workshop covering key issues for crisis communications in these unprecedented times.

The workshop includes:
• The practicalities of delivering Government advice during a pandemic when hostile actors are deliberately trying to undermine Government policy
• The dynamics of crisis communications during a long-running event like coronavirus and how public trust and behaviour changes as people become more familiar with a risk
• Government priorities in managing public communication and the political dimension of dealing with diverse public interests
• News media priorities, public interest and freedom of information
• The role of public relations and marketing professionals in media management and positive image promotion
• How to detect and counter false information on social media
• How to produce your own positive images using a smart phone to develop short broadcast-quality video news reports. This session is designed for people with limited technical ability and no previous photography skills.

Who is it for?
The workshop is designed for senior policy officials, managers responsible for Government image at operational, tactical and strategic levels, as well as public service communications and media specialists who are responsible for Government/public service communications and protecting your Government’s reputation during times of emergencies and crisis such as coronavirus, civil unrest, terrorist attacks or deliberate disinformation campaigns designed to destabilise your Government.

How participants will benefit
The workshop will enable you to:
• Develop your knowledge of how Government and other public organisations use communications to help devise and deliver effective policies
• Create an understanding of how media reacts to risk such as coronavirus, the influence this has on the public and the importance of building good relationships with both traditional media and community leaders on social media
• Show you how to detect and counter both misinformation and disinformation on social media using the latest free internet tools
• Help you to learn from the experience of UK Government and global communicators, including leading journalists and editors
• Encourage you to consider ways of using a range of media to widen access to public information and reach fragmented audiences
• Raise your awareness of how to handle public communication and apply strategic communication techniques to improve the image of your government
• Future-proofing your career by helping you to use professional video production techniques.

Our workshop will be delivered using Zoho ShowTime, a web conference software which has features that let us interact with you in real time and provide you with slides and learning materials including websites and video.

Pre-workshop induction
We will create a practice session for participants to join Zoho ShowTime so that you understand the full functionality of the learning platform. This will be arranged on Monday 23 October 2020. During the induction, our Workshop Director will introduce some initial familiarisation questions that we will send to you. These questions will help our Workshop Director to understand more about you, how long you have been in your particular role, your responsibilities, professional experience and any previous relevant training/development you have undertaken. We will ask you about your workplace activities and whether you have any specific training needs or areas of work you would like to understand better. The questionnaire will also ask you to self-assess your current knowledge/skills and interest in certain areas of the programme.

What the workshop will cover
This programme provides a comprehensive understanding of media and communication techniques such as the 3 Ps and the ABC techniques, as well as factors such as heuristics and phenomena such as social amplification of risk.

A large component of this remote workshop will involve attending short live webinars each day over a one-week period. At times outside the webinar sessions, participants will be expected to complete self-study or work remotely, either alone or in groups, on exercises set by the Workshop Director. All participants will have to complete each element of the programme and will need to fully commit both their time and effort throughout. Participants will connect in online discussions using the Zoom platform for group activities.