IGCF2015 Experts: Government Communication Departments must leverage proactive, contemporary methods of communication

SHARJAH, 22nd February, 2015 (WAM)–Titled ‘Government Communication Departments: Communication and Dialogue Platforms’, the second session of the fourth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2015) featured a debate on the multifaceted roles of government communication professionals and the challenges faced by their departments.

The immediate steps needed to prepare them for their dynamic roles were also explored.

Panelists included Alex Aiken, Executive Director for Government Communications at the UK Government, YomnaKamel, Government Communication Consultantat theUAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, and Karen Sanders, Professor at IESE Business SchoolCEU San Pablo University. ShantoIyengar, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, moderated the session.

Addressing the role of government communication departments, Alex Aiken said, “Government communication experts in social media should leverage these platforms to deliver their communication messages to the right audience,at the right time and in the right format. They should test the impact of the communication and strive to address societal concerns emerging from such messages. Such ongoing dialogue will help government departments to learn, understand and better serve their people.” He added, “Contemporary government communication needs to demonstrate integrity, initiative, and proactivity. Governments around the world should also work to communicate with one another. Today, the real problem with government communications is the lack of interactivity. We need to make sure that the language used addresses the spiritual, intellectual, rational and materialistic needs of the people.” Citing the UAE’s experience, Yomna Kamel said, “If we fail in communicating with the people as a government, then there is something wrong. Our essential task must be focused on effectively reaching our audience. We need to use proactive communication methods to make people understand how they can benefit from government initiatives. We also need to factor in their feedback to smoothen further interactions with people.” She added, “We have to be strategic in the way we communicate and reflect that we are not only using social media for the sake of being seen on these platforms. The goal is to ultimately serve our people and constitution as our number one priority. We also have to understand the language of our people better and assess their concerns in order to provide them with the necessary solutions.” Speaking on the future role of government communication departments amid the rapid socio-economic changes, Karen Sanders said: “Government communication needs to use diverse platforms to communicate with audiences. Such communication should not be restricted in reaching the people in the most accurate and effective way to avoid misunderstandings.” She added:”Governments can learn from proactive business models that leverage social media platforms to reach their target audiences and address their needs.

Organised under the patronage of Ruler of Sharjah, IGCF 2015 will conclude on 23 February.