December Newsletter: Stoked Bro’s, Opinions, Hate and the Right Questions

Dear Valued Associate,

At a time and in a world that seems filled with vultures and thieves, it shouldn’t be surprising that Complicit is’s word of the year. People should be concerned – and people need to stay involved, especially when just ‘checking out’ feels like the better thing to do. Our democratic survival and sanity requires factual reasoning and evidence-based thinking, and that means understanding how and why we believe and act the way we do. As a recovering ad guy, I’m always interested in learning more about human behavior starting with how to capture people’s attention, convincing them to weigh evidence, and then making decisions with it.

Understanding them better is indispensable in working with the people on big public policy decisions and private sector proposals. Figuring out pieces of that puzzle will make your heart grow three sizes bigger. Happy holidays!

Stay curious,



This Stoked Bro’s Speech to LA’s City Council is Epic
If this doesn’t make you want to shotgun a tall boy, nothing will.


Let’s Talk About Me, Me Me
You either already are, or will be, dealing with true-blue narcissists, those folks who are … shall we say … unnaturally fond of themselves. Here are some thoughts for you.


Opinions are Like Belly Buttons, Everybody Has One
I prefer the cruder version of the above headline but hey, it’s Christmas time. We all know people who have opinions about everything, regardless of whether or not they actually know anything about it. Don’t be one of them.


Why You Hate Those People
I really dislike the Bears, Lions and Vikings. People and the groups we belong to don’t like other people and groups who aren’t like us. This can bloom into hate. Science says, in part, it’s biology, and we can learn to believe differently.


There’s One Thing That You Want People to Remember
Ellen Degeneres, the comedienne and talk show host, regularly uses the line – and titled her book, My point…and I do have one. The point here is to get to the point. In speaking, presenting or facilitating any group of people, decide the single, simplest point that you need to make, then make it.


Attitude, Commitment and Training
In addition to actually doing this work, we train a lot of other people to do this work. Invariably, people come into training workshops looking for the magical, new, cool thing that will fix all of their problems in dealing with the public. Here’s the secret sauce.


Asking the Right Questions
Max Hardy is a longtime Aussie mate and colleague of ours who, in this Ted talk, does a nice job of explaining the power of the right question.


Dispute Resolution, Community Engagement, and Meeting Facilitation Training
The Participation Company (TPC) facilitates, consults, coaches, and trains public and private sector people about community conflicts and public engagement programs. Our job is helping you do yours.

We still have two International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) classes coming up before the end of the year and both of these courses are eligible for Certification Maintenance (CM) credits through The American Planning Association’s (APA) professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

IAP2 Foundations (5-day) Course

  • Boulder, CO (3-Day Planning) – January 31 – February 2, 2018·
  • Phoenix, AZ – March 19 – 23, 2018

IAP2 Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation

The fresh new hands-on 2-day workshop (previously known as Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation) has an expanded manual and is now available in pumpkin spice.

  • Salt Lake City, UT – Winter, 2018

Visit our website to register and watch for more courses in 2017 (with IAP2 and independently). We work with a variety of clients to customize in-house training for their specific challenges.