Communicating Pangkor Dialogue

Speaking to the media is part and parcel of the responsibilities in my line of work. Even before I take on the responsibility as IDR’s CEO, I had the opportunity to meet and befriend dedicated journalists and editors who are always on the lookout for the next big story. I have to admit that I still get nervous when doing interviews as I know that every single word I said carries meaning and will be printed, published and broadcasted for millions to see. It sure is a hefty responsibility to carry on our shoulder but also a great opportunity for those who willing to explore this area of communication.

As this year’s Pangkor Dialogue is set to be our biggest yet, I know that my task to communicate this event, IDR and our partners and key stakeholders is more pertinent than ever. This is when I realized that having a good relationship with media practitioners is an asset that should be fostered early on in an organization. At the same time, the responsibility to recognize the importance of media relationship does not rest only on the communications executive but to every staff and most importantly, the leader of said organization. Thankfully, aside from my dedicated staff, I also took the initiative to hire a consultant who is an expert in communications, marketing and branding to help me build IDR and fulfill the organization’s unlimited potentials.

When meeting the media to promote Pangkor Dialogue 2016, we put forth the idea of the ‘Davos of Asia’ by taking inspirations from the success and influence of the World Economic Forum. WEF was conceptualized in the small, snowy town of Davos, Switzerland, and over the years, became bigger and more influential from the town itself. In fact, Davos becomes famous because it was the birthplace of WEF. That is our ambition for Pangkor Dialogue, for it to be a global and influential player in the region and eventually the world at large, just like WEF. I was informed that the ability to simplify our ‘brand’ or in this case, who we are and what we stand for, is the key to communicating our message successfully. From my abundant media interviews this year alone, I learn that aside from simplification, finding a good selling point for our message is also the key to having better interviews. The ‘Davos of Asia’ becomes a catchy phrase easily picked up by the media but mentioning about expected turn out, results and solutions to the theme are very useful and appreciated by our media friends.

Thankfully, this year’s Pangkor Dialogue received the most media coverage yet. We were featured across all major TV stations including Astro Awani, TV3, RTM and Bloomberg Malaysia, and for weeks before and during the event, coverage on Pangkor Dialogue can be found on most Malay and English newspapers and online sites. As the organizer, I couldn’t be happier and prouder of this achievement that would not happen without the help from the people around me. For that, I thank all of you for making our grand ambition a reality at last.

There is still a long stretch of road ahead and though the journey will be perilous, I believe that with sheer hard work, dedication and the flexibility to adapt in the face of modern challenges, IDR can achieve this ambition. Thankfully, due to the many media interviews conducted to promote this year’s events, I have made a mental note on the right strategies to approach them next year and create a bigger media presence for Pangkor Dialogue 2017.

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