Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: Communication is vital in battle against Covid-19

Saturday 19 September 2020 | Written by Thomas Tarurongo Wynne | Published in Editorials

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Thomas Tarurongo Wynne: Communication is vital in battle against Covid-19
While covid-19 has has a minimal in the Pacific region, Pasifika residing in the US have experience higher than average death rates from the virus. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 20091832

OPINION: Effective communication is 20 per cent what you know and 80 per cent how you feel about what you know.

In the chaos that has happened globally, and the change that a pandemic has forced on our world and our communities, one thing has remained constant in the battle against this virus and it is not a vaccine, though that is hugely important.

It is not social distancing or wearing a mask, though these are greatly important also.

What has become most important in this battle against a global pandemic has been the rise of strong communications and the ability to communicate to large swaths of people, a single message of hope – keeping ourselves and our countries safe by doing what is necessary and what is required.

Never before have the actions of one had such a potentially lethal effect on so many more. And the communication that brings together a “team of five million” is essential if we are going to remain healthy and flourishing in the days, months and years ahead.

Never before have we needed clear and concise messages from government and government departments that not only inform, but also bring a sense of hope, a sense of security and a sense of the greater good and sacrifice so that we can all get through this together.

Greek philosopher Plato said: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

Key words have become essential parts of our vocabulary and these words have been vehicles of change that have drastically changed the way we see “essential workers”, the way we see “social distancing” and the way we understand that simple value of “being kind”.

Who would have thought that kindness would be such a feature of battling a global pandemic?

That the simple act of kindness could define a generation of people and also those who are unkind and lack the kindness we so desperately need in these critical times.

Good communications, can make or break a government and country and we can look around the world and see where they have done this well, where populations have thrived and got through this first round of lockdowns and closures.

Then there are those that have not communicated well, resulting in mistrust, miscommunication and often self-promotion at the cost of those who the communications were meant to serve.

I am fortunate to work in a multi-level communications team that remain largely anonymous, because at the end of the day we do not matter.

You would never know who the team are or their names because their role is to communicate on behalf of the government and not for themselves.

Their names will never feature because in the end, the message is far more important than the messenger and the content is more important than who crafted it or the team that put it together.

Effective communication is 20 per cent what you know and 80 per cent how you feel about what you know.

A country leader’s ability to communicate and to have good communications is essentially their ability to feel the pulse of their people. To communicate a message based on their connection to that community and to ensure when the talking has stopped, so they go away with the sense that they have connected with the message. They have walked away more secure, more sure and more informed than before.

The connection to our message has never been more essential, because today to get it wrong means that lives and the health of people is at risk and at stake.

Communication is actually about human connection and the stronger the human connection the stronger the communications.

Communications that come from a place of disconnection is simply that - disconnected, and we see disconnection where we see confusion, a lack of trust and misinformation.

It is therefore not unusual to expect our leaders to be great communicators, and they are great communicators simply because they are great connectors, or have great connectors working in their team – anything less in today’s world can prove fatal.