Sustainable Communication doesn’t work without listening. This is surely one of the outtakes of the 4th World Public Relations Festival held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Some marvellous stories about this where recently shared during the 4th WPRF held in Cape Town by the Global Alliance of Public Relations and Communication Management and the Institute for Public Relations in Southern Africa (PRISA).
There was the story of an Italian major company who decided to create a social programme after having listened to its employees and having involved them in raising funds for the sustainability of their help (more on this soon) to an NGO’s plans to assist a specific community in Cape Town.
There was the story of a Prime Minister of one of the most recent democracies of our World who receives mobile phone calls from citizens and listens to their needs in the same moment that they feel them and does this in a direct and personal way. There was also the story of how the World Bank fought hard to be able to “listen” to the thousands of comments made in their internal Comment Boards about the recent Corporate Governance Crisis involving its President.
There was the story of another politician saying that it’s most important asset is “positive political space” and that this has much to do with “listening, consultation, adjustments, and understandable explanations”.
As a side story, one of the presenters also explained how he came to understand that many people whom he tried to reach by e-mail where not so responsive. He concluded that in Africa people value the capability to listen to the other when they are speaking, something that might also relate to the astonishing growth of mobile communications in Africa.
Listening thus became a key word in a conference dedicated to “Communication for Sustainability”. Yet listening does seem to be more significantly related to a notion of Sustainable Communication and Sustainable Relationships. What would you add up to this?