Communications Skills Building & Training
The skills needed for communications have changed enormously over the past decade. Understanding the media and press releases still matters. But, today, there are fewer journalists and the audiences of most traditional media are shrinking and ageing. New media rely on different content generation models. Social media require new skills, speed, nimbleness and flexibility.
Dealing with stakeholders has become more complex and more rewarding: the proliferation of expert NGOs and lobbying groups provides any more informed actors who can change policy or influence opinion. Academics are more interested in seeing their research translated into policy and into action.
The models that worked in Europe and North America are rarely transferable to the emerging economies or developing countries — the very areas in which media and social media are exploding.
Baird’s CMC associates, with their decades of communications management expertise, help you and your employees make best use of the communications tools at your disposal. Whether it is training your employees how best to respond to media enquiries or helping them position your Facebook page to get the maximum number of views, Baird’s CMC does it all.
Baird’s CMC has conducted communications training programmes for global pharmaceutical companies, international foundations and NGOs. Our associates are trained communications experts and many of them run communications management consultancies in the countries they are based in. All of them are adept at passing on their vast knowledge to our clients so that they can become self-reliant in their communications needs.
At Baird’s CMC we regard staff training and continuous professional development not simply as commercially important. It is a core corporate responsibility and a critical aspect of good governance and reputation management. Baird’s CMC associates have conducted multiple external relations and media training courses for clients including the Government of Botswana, Eli Lilly, the Guttmacher Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the Government of Mauritius, PATH, Sanofi and USAID.
- The Institut Pasteur and the Ministry of Health of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam asked Baird’s CMC to conduct specialist media training for a senior policymaker and to work with officials on planning for crisis communications about health, food safety and nutrition issues.
Vietnam has a fast-evolving media and social media sector but very few journalists with expertise on health or science issues. There is also a paucity of expert bloggers and social media commentators. Because of its history and its increasingly important trade ties to North America and Europe, there is extensive international media coverage of healthcare in Vietnam. Much of it is highly critical and some is not well informed.
- The Guttmacher Institute is one of the world’s leading voices in sexual and reproductive health and rights and has an interrelated programme of research, policy analysis and public education.
Baird’s CMC offered training for demographers on how to communicate complex scientific messages about population growth and change and about women’s reproductive health. These trainings were offered ad hoc and at the quadrennial meeting of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. Researchers or teams could book an individual analysis session on communications issues related to their work and research. This was followed up with written recommendations, coaching and work with institutional communications departments, if required. Participating researchers came from over 25 countries including Ecuador, Indonesia and Tanzania.
- Seven European governments and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation co-funded a large programme of research on the impact of population policy on economic wellbeing in Africa. The researcher were mostly economists and demographers. Few had experience of working with policymakers or policy influencers. Baird’s CMC developed a training programme designed to make sure that their research informed policy. We piloted the methods in South Africa where researchers reported unprecedented access to and influence on officials and policymakers
- We have trained senior managers and medical experts at three of the world’s four large vaccine companies. We equipped them to deal with a range of situations from attacks on pricing and marketing models to the scare tactics of anti-vaccine campaigners
- PATH was the lead partner in providing technical support to the Government of India (GoI) and 15 states for the planning and implementation of the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccination program. Between 2006 – 2009 almost 60 million children were immunised with the JE vaccine, manufactured in Chengdu Institute of Biological Products, China. Media reporting of JE had often highlighted the real risks but had sometimes also created unnecessary public anxiety. Added to this, most media reporting of the imported Chinese vaccine had been unhelpful; much of it was inaccurate; some was probably tainted by domestic commercial interests.
The JE vaccination programme was to be extended for a further two years. Baird’s CMC helped the Government of India and the WHO draft a detailed crisis communications plan supporting the JE programme. The plan was to be supported by a training programme for the health care professional responsible for managing immunisation.
- The focus of the plan was on managing communications with the media and with all relevant target groups. Baird’s CMC delivered crisis communications support to the vaccination program through a wide range of activities including
- devising communications crisis media training programme to support the crisis communications plan
- developing a suite of communications tools to support managers and other health care workers in the management of a crisis situation should it arise including: web site; Q&A documents; backgrounders for media; key contact lists and other resources