Expert communication for stakeholder engagement

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course
Executive program


Effective communication is at the heart of good public policy. It is the foundation for successfully engaging stakeholders to ensure that policies are better informed, realistic, citizen-centred, broadly supported and well implemented. This means that, in the world of public policy, high level communication skills are needed beyond the domain of official “Communications” units. Indeed, to be truly effective, communication must permeate the policy process, and offer more than the familiar practices of “public relations” or doing a better job of “explaining the facts”.

In this course, we will introduce core concepts, principles and practices that underpin the art and science of collaborative communication. Using interactive approaches that draw on participants’ own experiences and real-work challenges, we will explore the essential mindsets and skills that promote the ability to engage stakeholders, for example by:

  • doing more “listening” and less “telling”
  • being open to, and respectful of, diverse views and perspectives - especially those that do not agree
  • being transparent about the risks of your initiative alongside the benefits
  • sharing dilemmas and decision-making; reduce power differentials

This course will run as an online and distance program in 2021. It is scheduled to run for three weeks 15 November - 3 December 2021 with a course orientation / meet and greet on Monday 15 November. Specific dates and times to note in your diary are as follows:

  • 11-12pm Monday 15 November 2021 - meet and greet session
  • 11-12:30pm Wednesday 17 November 2021
  • 11-12pm Friday 19 November 2021
  • 11-12:30pm Monday 22 November 2021
  • 11-12pm Wednesday 24 November 2021
  • 11-12pm Friday 24 November 2021
  • 11-12:30pm OR 3-3:30pm Tuesday 30 November (small groups)
  • 11-12pm Thursday 2 December 2021

Note: Dates and times are in Canberra time (AEDT/GMT+11). The calendar invite for each session should automatically adjust to your timezone when you add it to your calendar. You can check at a site like this to be sure.

Contact to find out more.

Course date: 
15 November – 3 December 2021
Online and distance

Before/by 15 October 2021: $1,195

After 15 October 2021: $1,495

Group discounts available.

Course overview

This course will cover the fundamentals of effective communication with stakeholders including:

  • methods for identifying and understanding stakeholder needs and interests (e.g, stakeholder mapping/analysis tools) and deploying appropriate communication strategies
  • personal and practical skills to remain open and respectful to diverse perspectives, especially where disagreement is strong the importance of trust and factors that build trust
  • genuine two-way communication that appropriately balances listening both at the interpersonal level and to groups or the general public
  • methods to build social licence for policy reform (including principles and practices of ‘risk communication’ - i.e., precaution advocacy, outrage management, and crisis communication)
  • understanding how to use (and not to use) evidence and facts, especially in the face of disagreement

Learning outcomes:

  • improved personal confidence in communication;
  • skills for genuine listening;
  • a more nuanced understanding of how to respond to a diversity of perspectives.

The course activities will focus heavily on developing personal confidence and skills, as well as providing some practical tools to support quality and effective communication. Because of this, levels of interaction between students and with the presenter will be high, with didactic ‘lecture style’ methods kept to a minimum.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for EL and SES level, or equivalent. It is relevant to public or private sector employees who seek to build trust with stakeholders, communities and the general public.

Online training: How it works

This is a real-time, date-specific course, in which you will join live classes, engage and connect with experts, other course participants and the Executive Education team. Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-course live session. This is an opportunity for you to grab a cuppa and join our meet and greet before the course commences.
  • Practice + Study. Set aside up to 2 hours per day – this time commitment will vary depending on how deeply you choose to engage with the material. It is up to you.
  • Course pack. Each participant will receive a carefully curated workbook, which includes everything you need to guide you through the course.
  • Live sessions with presenter. This is a specified date and time for you to come together with the presenter and other participants to consolidate your learning.
  • Post-course. On completion of the course, you will receive your post-course resources for your reference and further learning.

Why choose online training?

  • No time off work – study and practice when you can.
  • Busy schedule? No problem, you can go at your own pace, join just the live classes, and do the course work whenever suits you best. We know that work and family obligations can be overwhelming. Mix and match the schedule to fit your life.
  • No travel. This is a course right at your fingertips. With no travel expenses, this is a very affordable option for high-level training with world-leading experts.
  • Live interaction with world-leading experts. You’ll have direct access to all the best resources and trainers.
  • Working remotely? With the online and distance format, we welcome participants from around the world to join us.


What if I can’t make a live session? No problem, we understand you are busy. Live sessions are recorded and transcribed for you to catch up in your own time.

What if I’m in a different time zone? All advertised course times up until 3rd October 2021 are scheduled in Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) otherwise known as GMT+10. From 3rd October to 3rd April 2022 scheduled times are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) or GMT+11. Convert for your time zone here.

What if I am not tech savvy? As long as you have access to a phone or computer, you’ll have no problems. This is a low-tech course designed for everyone. If needed our team is here to help – contact us at

What if I have questions? We would love to hear from you. Contact our team at

Course presenter(s)

Dr Pamela Kinnear

Pamela is an experienced policy professional, skilled facilitator and strategic thinker. Her consultancy work is grounded in a successful 20+ year career at senior executive levels across government, non-government sectors, as well as research institutes where she engaged in high-profile research and public policy commentary. This diverse background means that Pamela understands issues from a variety of perspectives, aware of the tensions and challenges involved in policy – especially in time-pressured, high-profile, or complex work. She is a skilled facilitator – committed to creative approaches to support sense-making and genuine engagement for those working with complex issues in challenging environments.

Pamela is a consultant for government and non-government clients, providing consulting and facilitation services in a range of areas such as policy analysis, engagement and implementation, risk and public trust, data and privacy, organisational culture and strategy, emotional intelligence, team and individual capacity development. She brings to this work an enthusiasm for interactive experiential thinking and learning methods that support innovative but realistic insights and transformative change for individuals, teams, projects and partnerships.

Pamela’s previous positions include:

  • Group Head, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • Deputy Chief Executive, Universities Australia
  • Assistant Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (various positions, social policy)
  • Various executive positions Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
  • Senior Research Fellow, The Australia Institute.

Updated:  17 October 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team