Effective communication: a key to good governance

29 Aug 2014

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Effective communication for collaborative decision making, effective interaction with citizens, making successful public appearances and speeches, confidence building, nonverbal communication and body language were among the main topics addressed and discussed during the Interpersonal and Social Communication Skills Training, organized by UNDP Uzbekistan for city/district khokimiyat officials of Tashkent region. The Training was led by Dr. Alisher Faizullaev, a professional trainer with profound experience in social communication, public speaking and negotiations.

“In our daily work we often come in contact with a variety of people: our staff from work and our customers (ordinary citizens, private businesses, NGOs, etc.), whom we serve. Effective communication for us, government officials, is essential to successfully involve in decision making and to better interact with grassroots to meet their social and economic needs. The two-day Training equipped us with contemporary skills and knowledge we could use to properly engage in civic and civil dialogue”, said a training participant Mr. Azamat Kamolov, Head of Organizational and Monitoring Department of Chinoz district khokimiyat.

The Training was organized in two parts. The first part covered some aspects of the art of public speaking, including analysis of the types of public speeches, introduction to making public statements and presentations, interaction with auditorium, delivery of persuasive message and information to the general public, review of common misconceptions about the public speaking, etc. The second part is dedicated to exploring specific angles of interpersonal communications of government officials in the workplace. Particularly, it covered face-to-face interactions between different members of an organization, the process of exchanging of ideas and thoughts, conducting negotiations and cooperation, collaborative decision making on common issues, as well as using the spoken and body language.

Almost all training sessions were followed by interactive practical exercises, such as small group discussions, games, role playing (giving a one-minute public speech in front of camera), case studies, and other hands-on activities.

It is worth highlighting one of such practical exercises, which is about making a persuasive speech in front of 50 or more at the conference, briefing or feedback session. Here, the key part is, as Dr. Alisher Fayzullayev noted, the motivational attitude that speaker applies to make the speech sound more persuasive, emotional and touching. The most important thing is not the topic you want to discuss, but the way of conveying the message to the audience. The exercise called “The Most Convincing Speech” helped the training participants practice powerful, persuasive speech. Government officials worked in pairs and developed strong opinion on specific topic during limited time. “Сell-phones are harmful” versus “Сell-phones are not harmful”, “Arranged marriage is a right way to marry” versus “Arranged marriage is not right way to marry”, or “Social media is time-wasting” versus “Social media is not time-wasting” and other similar topics were used at the exercise. The participants did not have to disapprove their opponents. Instead, they had to convince the audience in the rightness of their opinion.

 “It is amazing to see how lively the government officials are engaged in communication building activities”, shared her observations Ms. Kamola Umaralieva, Head of Administrative Department of Olmaliq city khokimiyat. “Communication between local government institutions and citizens is very crucial to transparency, effective governance and sustainable development. It is through effective communication that local governments can hear the voice of citizens, obtain adequate knowledge about their needs and preferences, and create opportunities to satisfy them in order to facilitate the development. The training served as a good platform to enhance the skills of khokimiyat officials to better contribute to healthy relations between local governments and citizens”.

The Training was held by the Local Governance Support Project/Phase-2 on August 22-23, 2014, as a part of UNDP’s support to local government capacity building in Uzbekistan and further promotion of the Law on Openness of Government Agencies, where easy access to information and strengthened communication are at the heart of the Legislation.

The event is a part of UNDP/LGSP-2 project sponsored by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

For more details about the Training exercises and lively photos of participation, please visit the latest timelines on UNDP/LGSP’s web-page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lgspuzbekistan .