Not another week at the office

The moment I arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday night, it happens. The smell, the heat (in May), the hustle and bustle take me to another world. Again, at the fifth visit to India as a Women on Wings expert, I feel an unprecedented energy and excitement. Even after a journey of 14 hours. Following intensive preparations from the Netherlands with Supriya Kapoor, Ronald van het Hof and Ineke Bezembinder in India, I am ready for two workshops on internal communication.

Deep breath
Monday morning: 04:45AM wake-up call, 05:00 taxi to the airport, 06.15 meeting Supriya, 07:00 flight to Bhubaneswar (Orissa state capital), 09.15 taxi to hotel, 09.30 welcome by the Swornajyoti team, 9:45 start workshop. Ten pairs of eyes full of expectation are looking at me. I take a deep breath and ‘step on the gas pedal’; off we go. We start with an introductory round, all of us using a personal item to explain who and what we are. Quite different from reciting an average Indian resume.

Power cuts
There’s much to tell about (internal) communication, but experiencing it yourself is much more effective. Identifying core values is – thanks to the earlier homework – relatively simple. Visualizing them with images from magazines becomes already more difficult. Various images for each value, provided interesting discussions. Field staff, marketing and financial people, branch managers and CEO, no one gets distracted by a few power cuts. Even the storm that erupts in the afternoon and turns streets into rivers, does not refrain the team to apply interactive methods enthusiastically. Together we define communication target groups and key messages. Around 18:00 we haul in the (communications) net. Anyone may summarize this first day in one word. Without a detailed explanation. Focusing. More complex than you think.

Guidance and structure
On day two, various aspects of internal communication were highlighted. Such as communication media – which, why and how to use them; budget – yes, communication costs money!; timing, frequency and monitoring. Along with the output of the first day, we get to work with a communication format that provides guidance and structure. Lively discussions occur when the question ‘by whom’ must be completed in the template. Not having communication roles and responsibilities creates confusion at the various management levels. Work to be done.

India’s Golden Triangle
At 05.15 PM, tired but satisfied, we get in the marketing assistant’s car who brings us to the airport. Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konarak are the golden triangle of Orissa. The current name of the city comes from the Sanskrit ‘Bhuvanesvara’, meaning ‘Lord of the worlds’. I promise myself to come back one day to visit the city and surroundings. But now back to Delhi for the Summit Internal Communication with various business partners.

Nicolette Biessels