February Newsletter: Expertise, Peddling and Trust

Dear Valued Associate,

Being glued to your television (or other device) watching the hot curling finals can be exhausting and I thought you might need a break – so here it is. Here’s hoping that you stick all of your Salchows and Lutzs this month.

Stay curious,



Expert Facilitation

OK, let’s just say really good facilitation. If you’re looking for some tried, true and methodical suggestions for handling groups, we think you’ll find this useful.

Being called an expert in anything always sounds a little blustery, but developing real expertise is always an honorable goal. Expert vs. expertise is probably just a case of toe-may-toe vs. toe-mah-toe, but achieving expertise in anything, including facilitation, requires an effort that looks like this.


Participation or Peddling?

Public policy and politics have vastly different objectives, but are now obviously mixed in the minds and perceptions of voters and citizens. Authentic public participation is the path to recovery.


Fear and Loathing in the Lunchroom

Engaging people starts with communicating and connecting and that’s just not easy or intuitive for a lot of people. You might think that it’d be easier to do with people that you know and work with everyday, but even that isn’t necessarily true, so imagine how tough it is for some people to engage with communities. I think this next story is worth reading.


What’d She Say?

What people think they’ve heard or read can be very different from what you think you’ve said or written and that’s where the trouble starts. Here’s a 10-step solution.


I Can Explain It To You But I Can’t Understand It For You

The title above is one of those cute, arrogant bumper sticker quips that people sometimes wish they could say to a difficult person they’re dealing with. Dumbing it down is a term that you hear from a lot of professionals describing the same basic process of reluctantly simplifying something complex for a non-professional audience. It’s different words but the same sentiment. This condescending attitude is part of the problem and not knowing the subject well enough to communicate to their audience is the other.


It’s OK, You Can Trust Me

Research and neuroscience is revealing more about the elements of trust, including the idea that we often make decisions about trusting others in as little as 100 milliseconds, and also what we can learn about trust from children. Trust is at the core of engagement and conflict.

Research shows that we believe we know more than we actually do – including our own inherent ability to spot a liar. Consciously, we’re not very good at knowing whether or not we’re being deceived, but unconsciously we actually have pretty good radar for spotting phonies. Think of it as the ‘butterfly effect of trust’; it’s all part of understanding the phenomenon of credibility.


Public Outrage, Involvement and Group Facilitation Training

Learn how and why agencies and municipalities succeed or fail in their dealings with the public. The Participation Company (TPC) facilitates, consults, coaches and trains public and private sector people about their community conflicts and public engagement programs. Our job is helping you do yours.

2018 IAP2 Public Participation Foundations (5-day) classes:

·       Phoenix, AZ – March 19-23, 2018

·       Arlington, VA – April 9-13

·       Minneapolis, MN – July 30-August 3

·       Chicago, IL – September 24-28

·       Orlando, FL – October 15-19

2018 IAP2 Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation (2-day) classes:

·       Salt Lake City, UT – March 26-27

·       Orange County, CA – April 19-20

·       Los Angeles, CA – April 26-27

·       Denver, CO – June 28-29

·       Minneapolis, MN – July 26-27

·       Chicago, IL – October 18-19

IAP2 courses from The Participation Company are eligible for Certification Maintenance (CM) credits through The American Planning Association (APA)’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). The Participation Company LLC is also a strategic partner and provider for the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

We work with our public and private sector clients to customize in-house training, coaching and facilitation for their specific challenges, as well.