Last January 23, PUBLiCUS Asia Founder/ CEO Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia trained local legislators to identify, understand, and appreciate the components of effective communication skills as key to satisfactory government service.
Tiquia, who is a renowned political strategist trained the participants to explore the communications process, examine the current styles and identify effective approaches.
She emphasized important elements to be considered when communicating: how to communicate (purpose, picture, plan and part); what to communicate (changes, objectives, reasons and effect) and how to listen effectively (honor, echo, ask, respond). “Strategic communication makes a huge difference as to whether or not your message is really listened to, read and understood in order to make the impact you want,” Tiquia said.
According to the seasoned political strategist, communicating effectively is a critical activity because government work requires an entirely new communication strategy that should be geared towards directing the attention and more importantly, guide the processing of information that promotes public understanding of government policies, initiatives and programs.
Tiquia also discussed why it is necessary to use social media to one’s advantage, noting the fact that it has rapidly grown in importance as a forum for political activism in its different forms. Tiquia said local legislators should leverage on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to establish stronger connections with their supporters and provide new ways to stimulate citizen engagement in political life.
Ultimately, Tiquia explained the importance of public policy advocacy. She said local legislators play a vital role in the development and implementation of public policy to promote an informed, healthy, and strong democratic society. Effective advocacy builds a public servant’s capacity to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people and communities s/he serves.
Tapping on her expertise, Tiquia also differentiated advocacy from lobbying, noting that advocacy encompasses many different kinds of activities designed to promote a cause or idea, while lobbying refers to specific activities intended to influence legislation.
Organized by the Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG), the five-day course called Strategic Leadership for Local Legislators (SL3) offered approaches and insights in the roles of legislators as policy innovators, negotiators, advocates, crisis managers, and development framers. It included topics on decision-making tools, negotiation, policy advocacy, legislation in crisis situations, innovation systems, entrepreneurial governance, and strategic policy development.
The aim of the course was to build the capacity of local legislators by equipping them with the necessary communication skills and knowledge to ensure the effective communication of government policies and programs.