Article by Emilija Georgievska
Edited by Stefan Alievikj and Katerina Bogdanova
We all know what the letters PR stand for and have certainly heard how important the PR sector in a company’s work is. But what does it mean to have a good PR team when working in a youth organisation and what are the challenges that you might face when promoting your work in the public are not topics that are often discussed. In order to give answers to these questions, Mladiinfo organised “Megaphone- Speak loud: Europe is listening!”, a training course held in Ohrid, Macedonia from 1st– 8th July. The event hosted 35 participants from Azerbaijan, Romania, Turkey, Slovakia, Serbia, Italy, Macedonia who all shared their experiences from working in the NGO sector and the ways in which they do the PR in their organisations.
Beginning from the very basics of the public relations field, the participants were introduced with the definition of PR and its origins in the professional world. The trainer, Sinisa Pekevski from Si Communication, gave an insight into the theoretical background of the topic and set the ground for what was to become a week of friendly exchange of practices and acquisition of knowledge and new skills. Prior to the beginning of the course, each participant had to prepare a presentation of their organisation’s work and the PR techniques they have used for promotion. In this way, the group learned more about the methods of doing PR in different parts of Europe and the place that non-governmental organisations have in the public sphere.
Morning sessions on making a PR strategy with trainer Sinisa Pekevski
The course was mainly focused on practical gaining of PR competences through a ‘hands on’ approach. The tasks and responsibilities that the participants got were done by group work and presentations which gave a chance to each participant to present themselves in public and improve their public speaking skills. Among the most important skills and practices that were gained through the programme were the writing of a press release for a recently organized event, solving of a crisis situation within the organization and presenting the problem to the public, and finally, each country had to prepare its own PR strategy that will be used by the organization in future.
“The Megaphone seminar was the first international event for me and I really appreciate the possibility that I took participation in it. The information and the knowledge gained during the lectures are very useful for me and I am already trying to use this knowledge to improve the operation of our NGO. It was not only the advantage of professional improvement, but also the possibility of practicing intercultural communication that was significant to me. It is always useful and very interesting to communicate with people coming from different countries and various cultural backgrounds. Even though all participants were from Europe, I got to know many new things about their countries, their cultures or the current political situation in their environment. It’s easy to conclude that such projects are very useful when it comes to building an atmosphere of mutual trust and environment for communication without biases,” comments Veronica Konecna, training participant from Slovakia.
A presentation on social media with trainer Mathias Haas
Apart from working with the PR specialist Sinisa Pekevski, the event hosted Mathias Haas as a second trainer. For those who regularly read the articles on our website, Mladiinfo has already published an interview with this young and successful social entrepreneur, the founder of SuperSocial. On “Megaphone”, Mathias spoke about role of social media in today’s society and the importance of using Facebook for the promotion of your work. The participants learned many new tools and tricks of how to use social media in a more productive way and thus enlarge their audience.
“Through this one-week training I definitely rediscovered the area of PR and its practical usage in the organisation I am a member of. All of the necessary strategies and techniques that help raise the visibility of a youth organisation were presented and practiced through the group work sessions. I particularly liked the session with Mathias Haas who showed a very creative and innovative approach to using Facebook for the purpose of promoting your work. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the diversity of nationalities and characters that I had the chance to work with and spend nice time in the beautiful city of Ohrid. All of these things made my stay an amazing adventure that I will never forget,” adds up Jovana Pushica, a participant from Serbia.
Warm-up activities before the sessions
The programme was also enriched by a cultural visit to the city of Ohrid and experiencing the Macedonian way of life through a traditional dinner. With the help of a professional tour guide, the participants had the chance to visit the most important sights of Ohrid and get familiar with its rich history. Rounding up with a presentation of a PR strategy that each country had to prepare, the “Megaphone” training course came to an end. A new experience into the world of PR and its connections to the work in youth organisations was over. Luckily, many new friendships and future collaborations have just begun!
The project have been supported by Youth in Action Program of European Commission