Clear Communication

Communication is not press releases, media campaigns, or stage-managed speeches. Communication, at its simplest, is people talking and listening to each other. Good communication leaves people knowing that they have been understood, and that they can trust what they have heard in response.

In the context of politics and diplomacy, communication is people with shared goals and shared responsibilities coming together and with every option on the table, trying their best to find an agreement that works for both parties. In Ireland, we want to solve all of our political problems through this kind of communication.

From a scientific perspective, communication is the transfer of information from one person to another. In a large and complex task with multiple stakeholders, it is essential that important information – whether it is an idea, raw data, a list of objectives or a new set of rules – can flow quickly to its intended audience, and in a format that they can understand. Good communication isn’t just about listening or appreciating the other person, it is also a technical matter that involves multiple platforms, consistent messaging, timeliness, and tailoring the message to both the audience and the medium.

We will need to communicate with all stakeholders, both in the preparation and in the ongoing management of the plan. Stakeholders will have local information that will help us to design better policies and to adapt the policies as the environment changes. It’s important that we access this information and build it into the plan. Equally, policymakers will need to make important decisions at short notice, and it is essential that the people are made aware and understand the change of policy as soon as possible. This can only happen once we have established clear and open lines of communication across all media platforms, well in advance of implementation.