By Nivedita Dasa
The third ISKCON Communication (IC) course and conference was held at Sri Radha Govinda Temple, ISKCON Kolkata from 28 October to 2 November 2012.
The IC course which was conducted over three days by Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON‚Äôs International Director of Communications was well attended by over 45 delegates from all over India. The participants included Temple Presidents, ISKCON Managers, Youth Leaders and IC personnel. Special attendees included Australia‚Äôs National Director for Communication, Bhaktha Dasa and ISKCON International Communication secretariat, Bhakthi Devi Dasi.
The course focussed on acquiring basic skills of communications, identifying key audiences, learning good listening skills, practical session with tips on public speaking and how to interact with the media (TV and Radio). Certain principles of good communication like identifying the
needs, interest and concerns of the audience, dealing with the media honestly, creating a win-win situation and always considering an appropriate time, place and circumstance was stressed upon.
Vrajendranandan Dasa - Communications Director, India shared his experiences on introducing celebrities to ISKCON and maintaining regular contact with them. He was also part of the an important panel discussion on Government Relations with Radha Raman Das, ISKCON Kolkata. Bhakta dasa, IC Director for Australia spoke on the benefits of Interfaith connection.
Parijata devi dasi, IC Western India Coordinator, made a presentation on how to strengthen inter-temple communications, especially if one city had more than two or three ISKCON temples / centers. In relation to the media she mentioned that ‚ÄúMedia has changed; you will not find them just covering festivals. Even if you have a Ratha Yatra story, find a new angle to make the story interesting for the media‚ÄĚ.
The conference gave an opportunity to the participants to share their individual success stories which further inspired the participants and gave them newer ideas. Nitai Chandra Dasa from ISKCON Ujjain spoke about the success of the temple‚Äôs new outreach program ‚ÄėGita Championship League‚Äô which saw favorable response from media and government organizations. Representatives from ISKCON Chennai, Bangalore, Allahabad, Mayapur, Ranaghat and many other shared their success stories and challenges in relation to communications related services.
Anuttama Dasa ensured that participants present could discuss various challenges faced by IC representatives and how they could possibly overcome them. The audience present at the conference ensured practical measures for better coordination between various ISKCON temple / centers in India.
The hospitality extended by Acharya Ratna Das, Temple President ‚Äď ISKCON Kolkata and his team member‚Äôs left the participants pleased and grateful for the comfortable boarding and sumptuous prasad.
In conclusion, Anuttama Das expressed that the conference was a success since it not only inspired IC devotees to continue with communications related services but also helped members to draw practical conclusions from respective panel discussions and presentations.