Thursday, July 23, 2009

Substance, Packaging, Timing (or the lack of these among government communicators)

. . . are elements that define good communication, this Gary Teves learned the hard way, courtesy of his now unenviable and equally stressful job as finance secretary; a hundred times more stressful than his former post as president and chief executive of Landbank, confessed the gray-haired former congressman of Negros Oriental.

Gary Teves was the guest speaker and inducting officer at the annual general membership meeting of the International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC Phils.) held at the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Though he admits to be far from being an expert in communication, Teves makes us listen whenever he responds to questions from the media, be it a calculated or a plain dumb question, with the latter in abundance. It could be because he is the finance secretary and whatever he says will have far-reaching market implications. But he certainly knows how to play the game here; he knows his SPT the way smart kids know their ABC. Personally, I prefer him to be the press secretary; his manner of speaking is both elegant and intelligent, his language sharp yet witty with trademark Gary Teves touch--empirical as it is relational. Yet, Teves proves to be too honest and straightforward for the job that is normally reserved for spinmeisters and euphemists. On the other hand, the job of improving revenue collection might be too challenging (and equally tempting as well) to be given away to those whose only mission in life is "to make more and more money for tomorrow we shall all perish."

Lest I be mistaken for selling Gary Teves to voters for next year's poll, let me make it clear here: I was there to attend the meeting and listen to him share his perspective and lessons in communication; lessons that I myself almost/nearly mastered but nevertheless need to be refreshed as learning never stops.

Lesson learned: government executives, especially those in the upper echelon, should learn how to communicate effectively. Certainly, there is a better way of informing us citizens where the hell our blood taxes go than just announcing it on oversized and expensive billboards and, in keeping with the forthcoming election season, on television via brainlessly thought-out commercials by political wannabes. F@#$%*g morons--by this, I mean the politicians and their PR handlers.

Essentially, the line-up of wannabes who are itching to replace Madam La Gloria Vda de Inutil are all UNSALEABLE items. They are all bootleg, pirated copies, much like the goods Edu Manzano is running after. Edu can only run after because he could not, and probably will never, run ahead and catch them. But at least he should run along, di ba? But these gremlin, fungus-faced (sorry Aling Miriam), white leghorn of presidentiables are willing to drop the price rock bottom, as in SALE at up to 70% off! Wow! That cheap, really. As in a big mall sale that is becoming famous this side of the world, people will flock to where the best bargain is. The cheapest gets the vote, er, bill. Needless to say, this is the best example of a worst communication practice--selling the unsaleable. It's like eating poison; since poison is cheap, go eat it! Now, I'll have more poison below:



Lito Camo and Willie Revillame will be holding a political campaign strategy workshop 90 days before the election period. There will be song and dance sessions, speech clinic, and many more. Major PR and law firms will also participate in the workshop. Call Lito or Willie for more details.

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