On 20th and 21st of December 2021 EU TACSO 3 organized a regional online training session focused on Storytelling and Efficient Communication, dedicated to civil society leaders, communication and PR managers working in civil society organizations from the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The training was organized with the purpose of increasing capacities of CSOs with advanced communication skills enabling them to prepare attractive stories delivered through different channels to a general audience and specific target groups, as well as communicating about projects more effectively and engaging more people by applying storytelling techniques.

Moreover, the training provided a platform for exchange and discussion among CSOs in know-how and solutions to challenges such as getting the messages across, presenting their projects and results, establishing a strong relationship with the media and usage of modern media channels and digital tools.

Two days training covered the topics of fundamentals of storytelling; traditional and digital communication channels and the differences in approach; writing for traditional and new innovative media; fundamentals of public and media relations; efficient communication.

Storytelling is considered a staple element of public relations, from crisis, to branding, to identity, to reputation. Stories are a very powerful tool and can shift the audience’s perceptions about different topics and using stories and simple language can convey the messages widely and convincingly.

CSOs learned the do’s and don’ts of storytelling, as well as how to shape, upgrade or polish their overall communication, taking into consideration the best ways to communicate their achievements and efforts in making something good for society.

Istok Pavlovic from Serbia, a well-known marketing specialist, trainer, coach on digital marketing (where storytelling plays a crucial role), author of a legendary marketing blog, followed by thousands of followers from the Balkan region, was invited as a guest speaker to the training. Istok spoke about introducing videos in the work of CSOs as an effective and efficient tool to convey messages, and as a great storytelling tool used in digital marketing for organizations. Video is a powerful media that captures all senses more than any other visual tool. Istok presented tips for selecting materials, preparing and producing video content that any PR or communications specialist can do by themselves.

German Filkov, a Journalist, Editor-in-Chief, Trainer, Mentor, Co-founder of the Center for Civil Communications in North Macedonia covered the topic of efficient communication, the content and conciseness of a press release, the differences in media channels as well as establishment of relationship with the media, so that the CSOs can be better capacitated and prepared when presenting their results.

The most interesting discoveries for CSOs during the two training days were the free online resources suited to the needs of CSO professionals involved in communication, the involvement of cartoons, drawn characters and digital games in visibility and result presentations of CSOs, the impression that CSOs should not limit their communication only to the target groups but also to the general audience and people in their neighborhood, as well as to use free public spaces in populated places where media and correspondence is absent.

The training matched all expectations form participants in terms of learning about new tools and methods, learning by examples from peers from civil organizations.