SKOPJE, North Macedonia – Soldiers from the Vermont Army National Guard led a crisis communication workshop from February 8-10 at the Army Home in Skopje, North Macedonia.
“Crisis communication is about responding quickly with as much information as possible, as frequently as possible,” said U.S. Army Capt. Mike Arcovitch, public affairs officer for the Vermont National Guard. “A major challenge with crisis communication is knowing what is, and what is not releasable public information.”
The three-day workshop focused not only on crisis communication, but also on some basics of U.S. military public affairs, public speaking, strategic communication, and some examples of crisis response. One of the main take-away points was presence, planning, and practice.
“Presence is establishing yourself among specified publics. The first step to being an effective communicator is building and maintaining relationships across a variety of audiences,” Arcovitch said. “Trust is of paramount importance when you need to put information out rapidly – or any time for that matter. The rules and culture is different in North Macedonia, but the importance of having an established and trusted presence remains critically important,”
A variety of civilian organizations, and the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia were in attendance. The work shop also addressed interagency cooperation, and looked at examples in Vermont when multiple agencies had to work together to accomplish a variety of communication efforts while working together seamlessly. Interagency cooperation is an important factor in successful crisis communication.
“It was great to have Mike here to share his experiences from Vermont and talk about what they do,” said Gavro Markoski, a civilian public affairs professional from Skopje. “Gloria did a great job asking us questions like a reporter and videoing us. Overall it was very enjoyable and helpful.”
This was another successful event utilizing the strong relationship between the Vermont National Guard and North Macedonia. The Vermont National Guard and North Macedonia have been state partners since 1993, and will continue this relationship with cooperative events and training.
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