After a series of successful communication conferences in the Northern, Western and Eastern parts of India, ISKCON Communications conducted its annual "All India conference", at one of the prominent temples in South India, at Sri Radha Govinda temple, Tirupathi.
The conference was held between 8th-11th of October, with participants from various ISKCON centers including Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi, Chowpatty and Tirupati.
The three-day conference aimed at aiding devotees with better tools for communications with their members and the society at large, and to help execute their communication goals more effectively.
A brief session on the importance of identifying key audiences and the right way to address the media was conducted by ISKCON International Communications Director Anuttama dasa. It was interesting to note that when the participants were assigned the task of identifying the key audiences in their respective regions, some had 'Government' as their key audience while another group had 'neighbours'. This helped them appreciate the fact that Key audiences are not the same everywhere and they demand specific attention.
The importance of presenting ISKCON's events as "newsworthy" was emphasized. "Make them think that ISKCON is good for their news", Anuttama dasa said. To help devotees deal with negative media publicity, Varda Krishna Das from ISKCON Bangalore gave an insight on how his team dealt with media turning issues of concern into a more favorable situation.
A session dedicated to help devotees develop a strategic plan for their respective centers was certainly fruitful. Having a "Media kit" handy or designating a trained spokesperson were some of the suggested guidelines. Following this they were asked to set targets, which ensured that the participants were committed to implement their ideas in the nearest future.
Vrajendranandana Das, ISKCON's all India communications director, spoke on his experiences with the media and other celebrities from the communication perspective. He urged the audience to be pro-active and to keep in touch with the different audiences not only when need arises but on a regular basis. Cultivating existing life members, he said was essential, as they could be a great resource and help support various ISKCON endeavors.
Owing to the fact that social media and the web are changing the way people communicate, Yudhisthir Govinda Das from ISKCON Delhi made a presentation focusing on how ISKCON could take advantage of the same. He introduced the participants to content management systems which could help them manage their web presence more effectively. “Social networking, he said, has great potential and if made interactive can reach out to most of the urban population, with no costs involved.”
Devotees at ISKCON Tirupati kept the guests happy with their wonderful hospitality and sumptuous prasadam. The conference ended with its participants more focused and goal-oriented. They also promised to stay in touch and share their experiences on a regular basis.
The group’s visit to have darshan and seek the blessings of Lord Balaji made the conference complete.[ communications ] [ india ] [ tirupati ]