Jun 6, 2023

People Are Telephones to Each Other

Mr. Česlavs Gržibovskis from the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Latvia participated in the online course “Digital communication for public officials” where he acknowledged that people are telephones to each other. His story about people being telephones to each other began when he was in Ljubljana at the beginning of the 2000s and continued in April 2023 during this online course – again in Ljubljana but this time virtually. Together with other course participants, he “contacted” the great artist Dali virtually and received a digital Dali painting depicting growth and economic development.

“It was a pleasure to participate in this online course organized by the CEF. The training met all my expectations thanks to great atmosphere, participants and lecturers. Yes, online courses can have an excellent atmosphere, too! It was not my first time to take part in a CEF learning event, and I can say for sure that all CEF courses and events have great atmosphere. 

Communication between people most probably began with Adam and Eva, or even before that. Not only human beings interact with each other but also plants, mushrooms and animals – every creature on the planet Earth. With the rapid development of technologies, communication has reached new levels, and the Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly intensified the use of digital communication between people.

Digital communication has changed the culture and ways of communication. It has destroyed boundaries and built new bridges between people and countries. During this course, I was sitting in Riga, Latvia behind my computer and talking with other participants from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Germany, Albania, Turkey, and Slovenia. We did different exercises together, even brainstormed, put our ideas on digital boards, and presented them to the others. You do not have to go out of your office or home to connect with other people and implement different projects and exchange ideas. This is how life and business are organized nowadays. Easy and productive. All you need is electricity, a computer or a smartphone, and good, stable internet connection.

Mr. David Šturm, lecturer of this course, presented different tools that can be useful in our everyday work: Miro, Jamboard, Padlet, Canva, Prezi, Kahoot, Dall-e, etc. These tools make digital communication between people living in different countries easier, more interesting and more productive. Thanks to these tools everyday work is not so boring anymore.

We live in the era of artificial intelligence development. It will surely change our way of life and work. ChatGPT is another tool that our lecturer David presented. You can get pretty good texts and descriptions of your project if you just write some keywords in the ChatGPT tool. It generates the whole story for you and your audience.

The Dall-e tool allowed us to contact the great artist Dali and also other artists. I asked our lecturer David to generate a Dali painting that would describe economic growth and development. David entered key phrases “economic growth”, “economic development”, “artist Dali style” and the result was ready in just a few seconds. I don’t know whether Dali himself would paint exactly like this if I asked him to draw economic growth and development, but the result generated by the Dall-e tool looked pretty good. I will definitely use this picture in my presentations about economic growth and development of Latvia.

This CEF course “Digital communication for public officials” improved my personal attitude towards online meetings and my discipline. I connect to the online meetings now 10 minutes before the meeting. I think this is optimal time to connect to the online meetings. Ten minutes are enough, if there is any trouble with an internet connection, your computer or smartphone, if you need to restart it or switch to another device, e.g. tablet PC. And it annoys me now if people connect to the online meeting after this meeting has already started. I think these people definitely should participate at this course that will change their attitude and behavior.

Another CEF lecturer Ms. Saša Jazbec, State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of Slovenia gave a presentation about the coordination of the National Reform Programme of Slovenia. One of my work duties is also related to the coordination of the National Reform Programme of Latvia, and I found it interesting that my own experience is very similar to Saša’s experience. Despite different nationalities, countries, cultures and languages we face similar problems in our communication and interaction with people. Surprisingly, it looks like the Baltics and the Balkans are closer to each other than one would imagine. The coordination of the National Reform Programme usually involves a lot of people, and good and effective communication really helps in this process.

I would also like to share with you my personal story about people being telephones to each other. I presented this story during the learning course, and I think it perfectly suits the spirit and idea of this course. I was in Ljubljana, Slovenia at one weekend in May 2002. I was walking in the city centre and noticed a graffiti on the wall near the Ljubljanica river, stating, “Človek človeku – telefon”, which in English means “A person is a telephone to another person”. Today, I would even add that we are smartphones to each other, because every day we tell other people different things, and share thoughts and information. Sometimes it can be understood correctly by others, but sometimes our story is changed and retold differently. 

It is related to psychology and the fact that humans often perceive information the way they want to hear it and based on their own experiences, thoughts and emotions. The storyteller can’t do anything about that. You can sometimes be very surprised how your original story changes when told by another person to a third party, and when the last person that heard your story tells your story back to you. Unfortunately, sometimes our stories can be like “broken phones” if interpreted wrongly by other people. So, be aware of the fake news and respect others while you communicate, also digitally.

I would like to thank the organizers, lecturers, and participants of this course, and look forward to the future learning events organized by the CEF. Thanks to the CEF newsletter, I receive regular useful information about the courses and read interesting CEF blog articles. If you have not subscribed to the CEF newsletter yet, please do it and, who knows, maybe we will meet at the next CEF course.”