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    September 25

  • 03:54 PM

Filling in the gaps

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 13 April 2012

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The importance of communications  when things fall apart in business took centre stage when the Barbados chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) hosted its first professional development event of the year at the Island Inn hotel recently. Featured speaker Richard Dick, principal consultant and CEO of Trinidad and Tobago-based firm Development Consulting Centre, said businesses experienced a common challenge in making a smooth transition in the face of difficult situations such as economic downturns, mergers and acquisitions, hostile takeovers, and layoffs. Dick told the audience made up of public relations, human resources and marketing executives that most companies were focused on trying to influence public opinion, paying attention to logistics and share prices while the people involved are not top-of-mind. “In situations like these, [employees, staff] are the ones forgotten. But they are the ones that expect holes in the messages, they mistrust management, believing that they are the pawns in the game, and the rumour mill goes into high gear,” he said. Noting that there is a key role for communicators to play in business, Dick said communicators needed to liaise with human resources professionals to ensure that the messages to the various publics are in keeping and align with the company’s plans. “When there is a shift in focus in companies, communication should be early, often, clear, credible and honest. Management should be creative in designing key messages, and flexible in terms of feedback and response. Consideration should also be given to any unintended consequences,” he said. Dick noted key messages to be communicated included the reason for change, its impact, the company’s vision, the process involved, support to be offered, and the measurement of results, including celebrating successes. Dick is a member of several prestigious professional organizations, including the International Forum for Social Innovation (Paris, France) and Consulting Psychologist Press. He is one of only two people in the Caribbean licensed by Who Moved My Cheese? as an external facilitator to conduct their world-renowned programme with the same name. Those attending the event also had the opportunity to meet the newest members of the IABC Barbados chapter and learn about IABC’s accreditation programme and plans for the IABC World Conference to be held in Chicago in June. (MS)

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