For the third year in a row Clingendael Academy has cooperated fruitfully with the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute (EFRSSI). From October 23rd to October 25th, Clingendael Academy organised an interactive three-day training for Ethiopian civil servants from various ministries in Addis Ababa. The training programme covered three topics: intercultural interactions, effective presentation techniques and dealing with the media.
Exploring the international dynamics of effective communication
Throughout the three days, the group got acquainted and actively applied various theories and models found within the multidisciplinary field of intercultural communication. While doing so, lively and constructive discussions arose around the questions of: ‘how do you recognize the influence of culture on communication and how can we bridge cultural differences?’. The application of case studies and role-plays allowed for participants to practice and strengthen their intercultural interaction skills. These included: recognizing cultural dimensions, acknowledging the effect of culture on communication, active listening, reading contextual cues and achieving rapport in intercultural interaction.
The group also delved into the process of recognizing and sharpening their personal communication styles. Participants practiced by applying various presentation techniques and tools. Clingendael Academy believes in ‘Learning by Doing’, resulting in strong attention being paid to the process of making one’s presentations more effective in reaching a desired audience. In doing so, participants performed multiple presentations on camera, allowing them to reflect on the effectiveness of their own presentation style, and by providing constructive feedback to others. The importance of effective preparation also played a role, as the group was challenged to incorporate the previously acquired tools to prepare and deliver a presentation feeding back to the complex dimensions of intercultural communication.
The training concluded with an interactive and insightful session on “how to deal with the media”. During this session, fictional cases were the inducements for re-enacted press conferences, whereby participants were put through the wringer of difficult interview questions requiring them to act and re-act effectively under pressure.