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Conference Throwback | Communication & Collaboration

Not everything we do at Orchan is about the clients; sometimes it involves the broader community, and not just from a CSR perspective. Farrell and I are keen speakers, and we relish opportunities to share our experiences, perspectives, and mindsets with others. We give Guest Lecturers, we attend Conferences. All part of the broader ‘job’ so to speak.

In December 2016, we were invited to present at an International Conference on Communication in Jakarta. An easy accept for us, especially as we love Jakarta, have many friends there (including a couple of former staff, who are now trail-blazing their way through the Indonesian communications industry). But more than that, it was an important opportunity for us to share our viewpoints on Crisis Management; more specifically, Crisis Management and Communications in the Digital Age. Extracting some resources from our earlier guest lectures and corporate training offerings, we curated a best practice paper, exploring issues of Managing Crisis in the Digital Age.

Sharing Knowledge to Gain New Knowledge @ The Third Indonesian International Conference on Communication (Jakarta)

For me, as an academic, conferences were always the places to go to network, share ideas, and be recipients of new ideas. Now as a communications professional, I like to take the same approach – even with academic conferences. Any place or avenue that shares experience and insight – is simply a place to learn and develop as an industry player.

In early December, Farrell and I had the chance to head to Jakarta – not for a holiday, but to present at the Third Indonesian International Conference on Communication at Universitas Indonesia, as well as hold meetings with various Institutions and Agency counterparts. Hearing about the conference some months ago, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded professionals, plus share our experience in an area we are passionate about, issues and crisis management.

Our conference presentation topic, “New Rules of Engagement on Judgement Day: Crisis Communications in the Digital Age” – was an exploration of how communication requirements have changed due to communications technology during times of crisis. We first (test) presented a much longer, but also simpler, version of this at HELP University a couple of months prior, and have since refined it based on evolving discussions with various industry participants. That has been a valuable experience; talking with different parties, unearthing different case studies, but also reflecting on our own practice and thought strategies. 

As with all conferences, the growth comes from the questions that are asked. It was great to field questions from Lecturers, Doctoral Candidates, and other industry professionals from the region. Through asking and answering questions, we get a stronger semblance of how our approach gels with others, but also insight from others’ industry experience.

Our presentation was amidst three thematically-driven papers – the over-arching theme being “Information Management and Changing Networks” – which explored the impact of modern communications technology on social construction of news and business information. It was gratifying to see people interested in this theme, especially the presenter who followed us, with a slight topic overlap, but great insight into the broader area of digital communications. Together, we had the opportunity to discuss brand responses to times of crisis, and how the internet shapes the flow of information during a crisis. We explored ways to help brands stick to their narrative, as well as develop their own digital fortress to strengthen their brand awareness. We also explored the role that academic and industry training plays in developing a communications skillset for crisis spokespeople.

Issues and Crisis Management is a core theme for us at Orchan – we recognise the need for all clients to have a strong understanding of the implications of any potential crisis, but also to have a ready response plan to address any issue as it may arise. This interest has come through both our personal and professional experience, and has evolved into a specialisation that Orchan offers to all of its retainer clients, as well as those who come to us especially to deal with crisis minimisation. 

We also had the opportunity at the conference to listen to and engage with regional communications and business researchers and practitioners, which deepened our understanding of processes in Indonesia – one of the key outtakes we hoped for at the conference. We look forward to participating in future conferences; we both found it a worthwhile experience, and great professional development and networking opportunity. 

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