Heather Murphy, Senior Program Officer, Global Partnerships at Institute of International Education shares her experiences from a recent visit to Lebanon
The last week was particularly exciting for the E-Mediat program. I visited Lebanon to meet the E-Mediat participant NGOs and learn about the amazing work that they are doing. It was incredible to see the scope of work that is being accomplished by the NGO community here. They are such a dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about their cause and determined to create positive change within their communities, in Lebanon and beyond. Through the E-Mediat workshops they are learning how to use social media tools to increase the impact their organizations and raise awareness within their communities with regards to the NGO’s mission and organizational goals.
I had the privilege of attending one of the E-Mediat Lebanon workshops on Personal Branding. It was a fascinating workshop which started out in a unique manner. As the first session opened, the trainer was having problems getting the attention of the participants. After several failed attempts, he instantaneously came up with a tactic. A participant’s mobile rang and the ringtone was a popular Lebanese pop song. The trainer started talking to the participant directly asking her why she chose that particular song. As they began to discuss her reasons for selecting this song, the room quieted as others started to listen and then weigh in. Within a few minutes the trainer had complete attention of the room and the Personal Branding workshop was underway! This participatory approach of the trainer led to an animated conversation with participants contributing to the discussion. It was interesting to see how a dialogue on mobile phone ringtone can trigger a candid exchange about branding.
To communicate the concept of personal branding the trainer presented President Obama’s photo on the screen and asked people to share 5 words that described him: U.S.A., change, fashion icon, determined and confident were immediately shouted out! It was a simple yet powerful way of explaining how people and organizations can be branded.
It was both a fun and educational workshop as participants learned how to brand their NGOs and the importance of making sure that branding becomes an integral part of their organization’s communication plan. I am glad for opportunity to attend this training and look forward to more such E-Mediat workshops across the MENA region!