Owning Your Communications

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While working in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2007, I had problems with staff seeing the point of reporting. They thought it was something I needed; they didn\'t see it as something that was important to them. A colleague and I put together this presentation to help staff see how reporting benefits them -- their reputation at the organization, their career goals, even their likelihood at being considered for promotions. We made the presentation as interactive as possible. This presentation works best in small groups -- 15 people or less. Although focused on Afghanistan and UNDP-supported projects, this could easily be adapted to other situations. This presentation was part of an overall internal campaign we conducted to raise the quality of reporting from staff.

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  • This presentation was prepared by Gunda Wiegmann and Jayne Cravens of the National Area-Based Development Programme, which supports the Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and is administered by the United Nations Development Programme. You are free to adapt it as you like.
  • Owning Your Communications

    1. 1. ImprovingImproving CommunicationsCommunications Help for you to OWN yourHelp for you to OWN your communicationscommunications
    2. 2. Communications:Communications: it’s not just for “the boss”it’s not just for “the boss” Reporting is often seen as anReporting is often seen as an expression of hierarchyexpression of hierarchy (“you must give me this information”)(“you must give me this information”) instead ofinstead of sharing information for learningsharing information for learning..
    3. 3. Communications Serves YOUCommunications Serves YOU  Communications should make youCommunications should make you energized and confident about theenergized and confident about the importance and impact of your work.importance and impact of your work.  Communications should inform ANDCommunications should inform AND inspireinspire  Ask yourself: what do you want to happenAsk yourself: what do you want to happen as a result of your message in a report oras a result of your message in a report or a meeting?a meeting?
    4. 4. You have project objectives?You have project objectives? Then you also haveThen you also have COMMUNICATIONS objectives.COMMUNICATIONS objectives.
    5. 5. Use What You Already Have/DoUse What You Already Have/Do You can use things you have written toYou can use things you have written to others in your formal reports later:others in your formal reports later:  Save all emails you sendSave all emails you send  Take notes whenever you are on theTake notes whenever you are on the phonephone  Take your own notes in meetingsTake your own notes in meetings
    6. 6. How to Write a GREAT ReportHow to Write a GREAT Report Practical tips to improve your writtenPractical tips to improve your written communicationscommunications (please see the handout as well)(please see the handout as well)
    7. 7. For What Audiences areFor What Audiences are We Writing?We Writing?  Donor communityDonor community  UNDPUNDP  MinistryMinistry  Afghan publicAfghan public  YOURSELFYOURSELF Different audiences have different needs!Different audiences have different needs!
    8. 8. Formats:Formats:  general theme:general theme: result-based reportingresult-based reporting (what was(what was achieved)achieved)  follow the format, divide your inputs into usuallyfollow the format, divide your inputs into usually activities, achievements, challenges,activities, achievements, challenges, etc.etc.  Try to fill in all the categories:Try to fill in all the categories:  RisksRisks (you cannot directly influence)(you cannot directly influence) can be: weathercan be: weather conditions, the security situation etc.conditions, the security situation etc.  IssuesIssues (you can change through diff. programming):(you can change through diff. programming): understaffing, lack of funding etc. , every projectsunderstaffing, lack of funding etc. , every projects encounters theseencounters these  explain thingsexplain things as if you were explaining what youas if you were explaining what you are doing to a friend.are doing to a friend. Processes have to beProcesses have to be explained in more detail to donors than theyexplained in more detail to donors than they have to be to the Dep. Minister.have to be to the Dep. Minister.
    9. 9. Refer to Your Work Plan:Refer to Your Work Plan:  Ask yourself: How does this activity orAsk yourself: How does this activity or result tie to my unit’s work plan?result tie to my unit’s work plan?  Why was an activity proposed, but notWhy was an activity proposed, but not implemented? What were the challenges?implemented? What were the challenges?
    10. 10. Three KEY questions:Three KEY questions:  What period are we reporting on?What period are we reporting on?  what report is your input for (monthly? quarterly?...)what report is your input for (monthly? quarterly?...)  Indicate this in the text andIndicate this in the text and file namefile name  What difference are you as part of NABDPWhat difference are you as part of NABDP making?making?  What is working and what isWhat is working and what is notnot working?working?  How were challenges addressed? TheseHow were challenges addressed? These can often be turned into goodcan often be turned into good lessonslessons learnt.learnt.
    11. 11. Follow-up from report-to-report:Follow-up from report-to-report:  Follow-up on what you wrote in the previousFollow-up on what you wrote in the previous report:report: if you said that you were going to provideif you said that you were going to provide a training, then describe what happened to thata training, then describe what happened to that idea in the next reportidea in the next report  For this purpose, please, alsoFor this purpose, please, also keep a copy ofkeep a copy of your inputsyour inputs that you have sent to thethat you have sent to the Communications unitCommunications unit
    12. 12. Informal ObservationsInformal Observations  Informal observationsInformal observations are very welcomeare very welcome  The Kuchi man changing his mindThe Kuchi man changing his mind  Convincing men to involve their womenConvincing men to involve their women  Come to tell us, if you think you have aCome to tell us, if you think you have a good story to tellgood story to tell  If you are keeping a journal, shareIf you are keeping a journal, share relevant parts with usrelevant parts with us
    13. 13. Meetings & TrainingsMeetings & Trainings  If you mention that you attended meetingsIf you mention that you attended meetings or that you conducted trainings, please,or that you conducted trainings, please, mention the following:mention the following:  WhyWhy was the meeting/ training important? –was the meeting/ training important? – reasons & resultsreasons & results,, who participatedwho participated  Did it work out the way you had planned it?Did it work out the way you had planned it?  What is going to be differentWhat is going to be different now that thenow that the meeting took place/ the training wasmeeting took place/ the training was conducted?conducted?
    14. 14. Provision for InputsProvision for Inputs  The unit should inform Gunda/Fariba aboutThe unit should inform Gunda/Fariba about whowho (1 person per unit) will provide(1 person per unit) will provide an input for aan input for a report, so that Gunda/Fariba knows with whomreport, so that Gunda/Fariba knows with whom to follow-up. Also, please inform this designeeto follow-up. Also, please inform this designee about his or her responsibilities!about his or her responsibilities!  In case if your absence, please, inform Gunda/In case if your absence, please, inform Gunda/ FaribaFariba before you leavebefore you leave regarding who willregarding who will provide the input instead of you. Also, pleaseprovide the input instead of you. Also, please inform this designee about his or herinform this designee about his or her responsibilities!responsibilities!
    15. 15. DeadlinesDeadlines  Deadlines areDeadlines are realreal  Many deadlines areMany deadlines are regularregular (so please(so please budget time for them)budget time for them)  Deadlines are set by MRRD, donors andDeadlines are set by MRRD, donors and UNDP,UNDP, notnot the communications unitthe communications unit
    16. 16. We’re Here to HelpWe’re Here to Help  Invite a member of the communications unit toInvite a member of the communications unit to sit in on your unit meetings and de-briefings; wesit in on your unit meetings and de-briefings; we will take notes to use in your monthly reportswill take notes to use in your monthly reports  Set a time for one of us to interview you aboutSet a time for one of us to interview you about your training, workshop, project, etc.); you canyour training, workshop, project, etc.); you can speak and our team member will take notes andspeak and our team member will take notes and produce a written report for you to reviewproduce a written report for you to review  Bring us your rough information and ask howBring us your rough information and ask how you can improve the informationyou can improve the information  Use our tools (“How to Write a Report”,Use our tools (“How to Write a Report”, “Questions to ask yourself as you write”)“Questions to ask yourself as you write”)
    17. 17. Photos arePhotos are a Part ofa Part of ReportingReporting
    18. 18. Why Take Photos?Why Take Photos?  Proof of work being doneProof of work being done  To show progressTo show progress  To show PEOPLE (it’s nice to see insteadTo show PEOPLE (it’s nice to see instead of just read)of just read)  Other reasons?Other reasons?
    19. 19. TAKE PHOTOS!!TAKE PHOTOS!! 1.1. Be respectful; ask for permission; notify the group that photos will beBe respectful; ask for permission; notify the group that photos will be taken and how they will be used.taken and how they will be used. 2.2. Take LOTS of photos.Take LOTS of photos. Take several photos of the same scene, from theTake several photos of the same scene, from the same angle and different angles.same angle and different angles. 3.3. Outside shots are best (because of light), but take pictures away from theOutside shots are best (because of light), but take pictures away from the sun, if possible.sun, if possible. 4.4. When inside, get close to the subject, and try to aim away (instead ofWhen inside, get close to the subject, and try to aim away (instead of into) light sources.into) light sources. 5.5. Get FACES and ACTION when possible.Get FACES and ACTION when possible. 6.6. GetGet CC OO LL OO RR when possible.when possible. 7.7. Show local people talking, teaching, learning, working, etc.Show local people talking, teaching, learning, working, etc. 8.8. As much as local culture and circumstances allow, get photos of women.As much as local culture and circumstances allow, get photos of women. 9.9. It’s okay to arrange people for a photo (e.g. asking people to stand in aIt’s okay to arrange people for a photo (e.g. asking people to stand in a certain place).certain place). 10.10. Remember that photos will serve many needs (donors, government,Remember that photos will serve many needs (donors, government, internal use, etc.).internal use, etc.).
    20. 20. For Indoor PhotosFor Indoor Photos  Get CLOSE to the main subject(s), and tryGet CLOSE to the main subject(s), and try to aim away (instead of into) light sources.to aim away (instead of into) light sources.  Get FACES, with EXPRESSION ifGet FACES, with EXPRESSION if possible.possible.  Ask signers of an agreement to poseAsk signers of an agreement to pose together (stand close together with thetogether (stand close together with the agreement, have them shake hands andagreement, have them shake hands and face the camera, etc.) after signing for aface the camera, etc.) after signing for a photo.photo.
    21. 21. Share Your Info!!Share Your Info!!  Share written and verbal info with yourShare written and verbal info with your unit supervisor and theunit supervisor and the Communications office (Gunda, Jayne,Communications office (Gunda, Jayne, & Fariba)& Fariba)  If only in Dari, that’s okay – share theIf only in Dari, that’s okay – share the input with Fariba!input with Fariba!  Invite us to your debriefings!Invite us to your debriefings!  Come visit our office or invite us toCome visit our office or invite us to yours!yours!  We’re here to help!We’re here to help!
    22. 22. Thank you for your attention!

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