Efficient communication has been the latest focal point of the essential dialogue between UEFA and its 53 member national associations at a special three-day media workshop in Athens this week.
The Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in the Greek metropolis played host to around 100 communications specialists, including UEFA media officers, in an event organised by UEFA's Knowledge & Information Sharing Scenario (KISS), which aims to enhance knowledge and expertise across the 53 European associations.
The KISS workshop, one of many that are helping the national associations bolster their management and operational activities, was designed to underline the crucial nature of positive communication in a world of myriad media platforms – 24-hour rolling-news television, radio, the written press, and online and social media outlets (such as Facebook and Twitter).
Through practical media training, the Athens event showed how information can best be delivered, amid an often intense media spotlight, to help an association's reputation and to have a positive influence. It also looked at how to react and deal with information, with the press and the public, in the crisis situations that inevitably arise for a national FA – for example, an incident on the field during a match, personnel changes, crowd disturbances at a game, or allegations of match-fixing or doping.
With the aid of the state-of-the-art stadium facilities at the Georgios Karaiskakis, the associations were given sound hands-on advice about how to put their news and messages over. It was stressed, among other things, just how the right words in a press release, appropriate body language in a TV interview situation or even correct tone of voice is crucial in transmitting information.
Knowledge of public relations, ideas and creativity are also key – and expert media training and preparation for association media staff supply the requisite tools to do the job. Participants were able to test their skills in simulated situations – press conferences, the "flash" interviews which may take place immediately after an event, and studio interviews – with analysis and discussion afterwards. Feedback from those involved was positive, with many experienced association media delegates agreeing they had learned new things which would take them forward in their work.
Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA's national associations director, said: "It's the first time we have brought the member associations' communications specialists together with the UEFA media officers, and this exchange of expertise is the exact purpose of the KISS programme. The media training sessions gave each participant the chance of a one-on-one review of their own skills in a variety of communications scenarios, which is so important in today's world of constant and fast-paced media attention."
Proactive PR was a central feature of the workshop's second day – how to "sell" a story to the press through creative thinking, use of all available media sectors and platforms, and clear messaging. Emphasis was placed on promoting areas such as refereeing and youth development, as well as the importance of being on the front foot when tackling problems such as match-fixing and governance matters.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.