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The Role of Internal Democracy & Effective Communication in Managing Trade Unions Inviolata Chinyangarara Senior Specialist in Workers’ Activities DWT, Pretoria
Presentation Outline • Communication by workers’ organizations • Effective management of in house and external communications • Internet communication • Communication with media • Interview techniques • Presentation techniques • Crisis management
Objectives of the presentation: • To assist leaders, officials or representatives of workers’ organizations to develop an effective, professional approach to their organizations’ communication both in house and external • To provide valuable advise for trade union leaders of regional and sectoral organizations responsible for representing the interest of workers, • To assist workers organizations to evaluate their current communication approaches and practices • To discuss and develop best practice in effective communication as a tool for managing trade unions
Communication by workers’ organizations For Public Relations why Expressing own opinions Influencing TU agenda
Why should trade unions communicate? ? • Express opinions on socio-economic issues • Negotiating on behalf of members • Policy influence
Developing a Communication Strategy • Does your organization have a communication strategy? If no, how is communication managed in the organization? • What does it provide? • Is the strategy being followed and applied?
Developing a Communication Strategy The key to effective communication strategy lies in three words: • Consistency • Coherence • System
Consistency…. To ensure consistency in communication we will first try to understand the audiences to whom we are talking. . who are our audiences? ? ? • What do they think of us as workers’ organizations? • As a workers organization do we have strengths to highlight or weaknesses to compansate for? • We need to know our organization well and to use this knowledge in preparing all our communication activities
Coherence. . • The coherence of the communication will be ensured by referring consistently to the organization’s mission, vision and values. These will guide your approach whatever the subject. • Coherence will translate into key messages that will underpin any communication
In-house communication and communicating with members “What is known outside must be known inside”
In-house communication and communicating with members “What is known outside must be known inside”
In-house communication and communicating with members. . In house communication: Organizational communication/external • Staff need to know about the daily life of the organization • Organizational struggles, victories, difficulties, challenges
Who is responsible for In-house communication? • Depends on the size of the organisation… • But someone has to be put in charge to monitor formal in-house communication closely especially information sources; website, in-house newsletter, etc) • In large trade unions organizations we find a dept responsible for communication/information
Who is responsible for In-house communication? • Primary responsibility for in-house communication lies with the staff themselves • 80% of in-house communication is generated, organized and developed by department heads: organizing, policy, gender, education, campaigns etc) weekly meetings, departmental meetings • It good to structure such information in very practical way. • How often do we generate in-house communication within our trade unions?
Key Words of in-house communication. . • • Access to information Sharing information Exchange of information and opinions Feedback
Access to information • Intranet: primary source of in-house information today • Accessible and easy to use/update it regularly, regular “cleaning up”. • Divide items into very specific issues: news, publications, staff, training, press cuttings, favourites, links, open/closed sections of the intranet (access codes)
Sharing information, views and opinions • Weekly departmental meetings, general open to everyone, agenda can be decided. • Current organizational/departmental operations • What actions and negotiations are coming up? Who is doing what? Current and new programmes • News and events, discussion of hostile newspaper articles, taking positions on key and topical trade union issues
Sharing information, views and opinions • Monthly meetings held for those in positions of responsibility • Items to discuss: summary of ongoing activities, new topics in preparation within the organization, specific issues concerning the life and management of the organization, specific developments, organization of work
Informal communication and feedback • Communication within your organisation will be even more effective if you practice openness and transparency amongst yourselves • Sharing contacts and sources of information etc “Together we are truly stronger!!!!”
Communicating with members Communicating with your members also calls for a strategic approach for you to develop the right communication tools
Communicating with members • Each country has its own specific context. • Each trade union has its own priorities/challenges • Need for strategic thinking on communication with members Questions to guide strategic communication with members. . What do are your specific goals? -Recruit new members? -Win/retain current members? -Boost knowledge/skills of members through training? -Mobilise members to deal with specific issues? -Other? ?
Communicating with members What are your resources? • Financial resources may restrict chances of developing specific communication tools • Website is indispensible, costly but allows us to reach a lot of current and potential members, enables organizational visibility, provided the members are linked/have access What are your human resources? • Just as important as $$ • Do you have a person in charge? If not go and get one!
Tools for communicating with members Data base: Without an upadated database of all your members communicating with them will be a great difficult Website: listing all your organization’s services to members, training courses, events, reports, analysis and documents produced by your organization, press cuttings Road shows: “leave your walls/offices and reach out to members and potential members across the country”
Tips on Road Shows. .
Tips on road shows. . Preparation, preparation… Presentation of your organization Q &A session Cocktail/ drinks for networking Who to invite (members and potential members) mix them What to present: current social/economic issue which closely concerns the area being visited
General, Annual Meetings • Taking stock of organization’s activities
In-house communication and communication with members checklist In house communication: - You have a person in charge of in house communication - You have a procedure for informing any new member of staff about all aspects of your organisation - Departments organize a weekly update meeting - Your organization holds monthly general in-house briefing. - You have an intranet or other means which staff can get information - For big trade unions: you have a monthly in-house newslettter - You have a system of regular feedback that allows you to listen to your staff and meet their needs
Communication with members In buzz groups: Develop a check list for communication with members
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Website or Electronic Newsletter In buzz groups: List the advantages and disadvantages of a website or electronic newsletter
Communicating with the media • Disseminating information through the media is inexpensive and effective way of influencing public opinion. • Most media are easily accessible? ? • Do we have specific media interested in trade unions? • Radio, TV, daily press, periodicals
Press Release Objective: provide succinct information to journalist responsible for information dissemination - Press: release must be: - Short: 2000 words - Precise: go straight to be point - Accessible: use terms understood by eveyone - Identifiable: name, logo of your organisation - Dated: when to be release/ embargoed until - Interactive: state name/details of contact person, how to get supporting documents, photoes - Who to send press release to
Press Conference • Requires organising • Make sure your theme/topic is topical • Reach wide range of audience and generate questions • Choice and date of press conference • Official spokesperson • Location of the press conference • Invitations • Position paper (to ensure consistency of message
Interview techniques • • • Prepare your self: don’t be put under pressure Practice before hand Be simple even if topic is complex, avoid jargon Avoid obscure comments these will attract further questions Keep confidential information to yourself Assume that everything you say becomes official Speak off the record to a journalist you have known for a long time Stay calm in the face of embarassing and aggressive questions Do not blame those absent
Presentation Skills Prepare, prepare Repeat, repeat
Crisis Management Every trade union organisation sooner or later runs into a crisis: - Unforseen events - Situations taking unexpected turns - Numbers/facts less favourable than hoped for - Serious occurrence (deaths, riots by workers) “Taking things in hand, going on stage and facing the public then become essential to maintaining credibility and trust” avoidance!
Crisis Scenarios • A situation in which the organization is unprepared, surprised by crisis appearing from nowhere • A crisis caused/orchestrated by your rivals, seizing an opportunity to harm you. • Loss of control due to bad management • Crisis due to several factors combined
Crisis Management Your first reaction is critical Crisis can be an opportunity to make progress towards the goals of the organisation Stay on course No over hasty decisions Knee jerk reactions or about turns
Communication during Crisis • Be prepared • Communicate in house too (one pitfall is to forget to inform members) • Show empathy to restore confidence • Simple messages (avoid being emotional) • Assess media impact • Have an in house crisis management plan (crisis committee)
End of Presentation Thank you for your attention