Discussion: Pandemic & Communication Held May 10th
Faculty of Human and Social Studies
May 10th, 2021, the Faculty of Human and Social Studies's Communication Institute organised a discussion, "The Pandemic and Communication." Institute Assoc. Prof. Virgis Valentinavičius, the moderator, said that the word pandemic is used almost as frequently as communication.
During this event, discussion centered on political and governmental communication during the 1st and 2nd waves of the quarantine period and what communication mistakes were noticed. Also there was discussion on what is good communication during a crisis situation.
Politics and Communication Are Inseparable and Important to Each Other
Rima Urbonaitė, a well-known political analyst and lecturer at the MRU Institute of Political Science, shared her opinion that politics and communication are always close to one another, as if “holding hands” - marching together in all situations. Therefore, in areas such as politics, there is a need for specialists who understand both communication and political processes. "If politicians think that the decisions they make are the most important, and someone else will 'communicate', it is a big mistake. Then different reports appear in the media,” noted Urbonaitė.
An influential public relations expert Arijus Katauskas, head of Nova Media, highlighted the importance of communication specialists and this became clearer during the COVID - 19 pandemic. There was a need that the public would be informed and the problems encountered earlier would be brought to the surface. He also emphasized the pressure from the public, which is demanding much more information, clarity and explanation from the government during the second quarantine, as the wait for it to end is particularly strong.
Participants of the discussion missed emotional communication from the current government that would help build trust. Women's rights activist, communication expert, "DELFI" reviewer and MRU Human and Social Studies Faculty Lecturer Rūta Latinytė pointed out that not only communication, but also actions are noteworthy. At the same time, it is important to react as quickly as possible, to acknowledge mistakes so that there would not be a need to apologise later.
Leadership is One of the Most Important in Effective Communication
The concept of leadership and its importance has been mentioned many times in this discussion. It is this which participants are missing from the current government. Leadership ensures being at the forefront, creating an impression of clarity and reliability. As Latinytė states: “When there is a lack of leadership, we do not have a vacuum. There is someone who takes over that leadership. ” At the same time, she wants government officials to take the lead, to believe in what they are doing, and "sometimes even to swim upstream, but to be a visible leader." Other guests of the discussion emphasized the importance of internal communication and urged not to be afraid to conflict behind closed doors, not in public. Also, it is important to take responsibility and apologize for mistakes made.