Effective Communication Skills for the Parliamentarians

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Media Advocacy Group (MAG), with the support of PSP/UNDP, jointly organized a two-day workshop on ‘Effective Communication Skills for the Parliamentarians’ on 18-19, November, 2016 in Kathmandu with the aim to foster better understanding, visibility and competency of the Member of Parliamentarians (MPs) in the media. The workshop was attended by 23 participants (13 Male; 10: Female) that included chief whips as well. There was diverse participation from different political parties and ethnicities. MAG had organized similar programs with women MPs before, but this program included both male and female MPs along with chief whips of 4 major political parties. The chief whips present in the program were Honorable Tek Bahadur Basnet (UCPN Maoist), Honorable Chinkaji Shrestha (Nepali Congress) Honorable Bhanubhakta Dhakal (CPNUML), and Honorable Parshuram Tamang (RPP Nepal).

The program had a series of sessions to enhance their communication skill in the parliament and within their political parties, to improve their media dealing skill, and to bridge the gap between the media and the MPs by establishing the importance of two-way communication. Moreover, the valuable participation of chief whips in panel discussion made the program more effective as they discuss and comprehend the importance of inter-parliamentarian communication, relationship between media and parliamentarians and importance of media interaction for parliamentarians. This was the first program that MPs had dialogue program with chief whips. The chief whips also commented on their expectations and challenges during the inter-house communication within the parliament and also clarified concerns of the parliamentarians. The chief whips appreciated the program as they analyzed the interrelationship between media and MPs, how media dealing skill can attribute to create positive image of MPs in media, and also realized the importance of media interaction for MPs. Also, the program was effective in reducing the gap between media and MPs.

Ms. Babita Basnet facilitated the program by highlighting the importance of relationship of the Parliamentarians and the media to better disseminate as well as to gain better insight into political agendas respectively. Additionally, the program objectives, schedule and the overall vision for the collaboration between MAG and UNDP-PSP was shared. The workshop was facilitated by three experts in their respective fields of media and communication; Dr. Mahendra Bista (President, Federation of Nepalese Journalist), Mr. Dev Prakash Tripathi (Former TV talk show host and Chief Editor, Ghatana ra Bichaar) and Ms. Babita Basnet (Journalist and President of MAG).

The program had three sessions and a panel discussion with the chief whips on Media Understanding and Communication within the Parliament. The sessions are as follows;

  • Media Rights: Explored the rights guaranteed to the public by the media. The parliamentarians highly commended on its grave importance and to have learned that public (as well as the Parliamentarians) are guaranteed of Media Rights

Relationship between media and the Parliamentarians

Major Contents:

  • How could parliamentarians approach the media?
  • Role of media
  • Media and Politics
  • How to influence public through media?
  • Press release
  • Press Conference- why and how
  • Importance of effective oral communication
  • Delivering concise statement in Parliament and within the political party

Comprehensive guide to Interviews and effective communication

Major Contents

  • Importance of interviews
  • External factors to be considered during interviews
  • Interview techniques
  • Delivering public opinion, its content and subject
  • Important points to be considered while making public opinion
  • Essential skills to create and improve relationship with media
  • Message management
  • Improving image of politician through media
  • Techniques on delivering positive remark in media and improve professional speech skill
  • Tips to face camera

There was a practical session during which parliamentarians were interviewed in an actual studio setting. These sessions were specifically designed to assist the parliamentarians to utilize the present media platform to ensure visibility amongst the MPs. Additionally, the panel discussion was designed to comprehend the understanding of media among the parliamentarians and also analyze the status quo communication within the parliament itself.

The efforts for the communication skills workshop were well acknowledged and appreciated by all the parliamentarians and they were excited to learn more about the upcoming advancements of the program. All in all, the communication skills workshop helped the parliamentarians understand, analyze and resolve pertaining challenges with the media.