Botswana's economic growth faces the challenge of citizens who cannot express their thoughts freely and effectively, a university lecturer has said.
Log Raditlhokwa of the University of Botswana (UB) told a four-day workshop this week that the country has potential for economic growth, but the culture of not expressing thoughts freely by most citizens is a challenge. He lamented that for years culture has been used as a scapegoat in people's reluctance to express themselves in public.
He said if the nation does not change its perception towards public speaking and appreciate that without communication development projects will suffer, foreigners will continue taking business from citizens. "There is a difference between the social tenet of botho and expressing one's thought for a good cause," he said.
He emphasised that the art of public speaking is essential for professional gain and is important for day-to-day communication and personal growth. "Not only is effective communication a requirement in the professional world, even in our daily interactions with people and for personal growth," he said.
He told participants at the workshop hosted by Crystal Academy of Management that effective communication is key to any form of service provision.
He said people and organisations can sell themselves through effective communication to a larger audience and make lobbying and advocacy for products easy.
One of the participants, Dorothy Kgadimapa, a manager of Ntswelathuto English medium pre-school in Kopong said due to fear of presenting herself, she has lost many opportunities in life. She cited the fear of approaching sponsors as one of the things that has held her back as she has always wanted to
However, she said she realised that fear of self-expression is self-destructive. She said the workshop was a remedy to a problem she has been trying to resolve. "The art of public -speaking course has made me a different person, I am going to employ the skills and use the confidence I have gathered here to create growth opportunities for Ntswelathuto," she said. Another participant at the workshop, Isaac Mfolo, a senior administration officer in the Department of Justice, said he has realised that regardless of the language used, he has to make his points clear whenever he is communicating. He stressed the importance of effective communication as the backbone and vehicle of information-sharing and education. "Effective communication and speaking to any given audience, no matter the size, is very vital for anything that a person wants to do in life," Mfolo said.
He was grateful that he is going to put what he learnt into practice not only to be a better service provider but also for personal development and growth. Crystal Academy of Management is a public relations consultancy firm that specialises in various human relations capacity-building programmes such as public relations, customer service management, leadership skills for youth executives, management training for personal assistants, public-speaking, effective writing skills, emotional intelligence, communication and interpersonal skills.