By Sherbahadar Himmat, Afghan Media Management Program Participant
From September 11 – 16, a media management training workshop was executed at Thunderbird School of Global Management for the executive directors of radio and TV stations in Afghanistan, Eastern provinces. I was one of the participants who attended the workshop and would like to express my feelings about it.
In this workshop at Thunderbird, which was a 5 day long program, we covered 6 different subjects which were taught by different professors. Their teaching methods were organized in a very professional way. Besides their teachings, we were also given the opportunity to express our thoughts and perspectives.
The subjects we were taught during the program were: Negotiation Skills, Marketing, Accounting, Multi-track Diplomacy, New Media for Business Development, Advertising, Commercials and Social Networks. In fact, studying each field separately could take several years to cover all the material. But the way the professors taught us, at the end of each day, I felt I majored in each of these subjects.
Students might not remember every single word of what he or she learns at the university while studying for several years, but they do understand several things about that field such as; what the field covered? What is the position/value of such majors/fields in the social life? How can he help his community and people? Why studying this field is important?
By studying each day at Thunderbird, we have learned the value of such fields in our social life, and I now have an idea how to use these fields in my life.
There are the changes I have seen in myself after participating in this program, even after my 18 years of education and 8 years of work experience:
1: On this day we learned about Negotiation skills. I was provided with the keys to successful communication. I learned to take into consideration the points that are very necessary while communicating in a group, or the points to remember while I’m trying to achieve objectives. Basically, how to communicate. How to present my suggestions/requests so I can persuade the listener, and I can achieve my goal or get a positive result. I might have handled meetings very professionally before, but the self-confidence that I have now, I didn’t own it before.
2 : Marketing is a very important step/process toward achieving your goals, not only in business, but in fact it is important in politics, culture, society, religion, economics, and other ways to achieve one’s goals. For example: to find market for a political goal, one has to work to attract more followers. But in business, it’s to attract more customers to sell your products to. The Marketing class at Thunderbird, taught me lessons in persuading and convincing others to do advertising, using my radio station. If I am told to explain this field in once sentence, I would say “If I don’t benefit others, they won’t benefit me.” Meaning if I want to receive something from someone else, I also have to give him something. What I should give that person was taught to me in Thunderbird on that one day.
3: Financing – It’s the most important part of keeping an organization moving and sustainable. I have run an organization for 8 years. My financing was somehow good, but Thunderbird showed me ways in which I can forecast my future. With the formulas and charts that Thunderbird provided us to manage our finances, I can clearly forecast my organization’s existence, strengths, and weaknesses in the upcoming years and I can easily say where I will be standing after five years.
4: Multi-track diplomacy: Before I used to think that only countries use this diplomacy for developing their relationships but now I understand that this diplomacy can be used to increase the network and relationship of two organizations. I learned how can we attract the attention of different people to our stations and use them in terms of achieving our goals.
We were offered very useful and wise advices and guidelines for receiving advertisements for our radios. Beside that we also learned “If we don’t make our programs based on our audience’s interest, we won’t find any listeners or audiences. If we don’t have any listeners/audiences, we won’t receive any advertisements, and if we don’t receive them, we can’t continue our business.”
At the end I want to thank Thunderbird from the bottom of my heart. I am very impressed with their management style and appreciate it. They taught us A LOT of things in so little time. If I don’t get success in my business from now on, that would mean that I didn’t follow the lessons and guidelines of Thunderbird and haven’t embraced the advice and guidelines which were taught to me there. If I had the possibilities and chances, I would pursue my higher education at Thunderbird again and then would return to serve my countrymen and women.