Like an Arsonist Working as a Firefighter: June Newsletter

Dear Valued Associate,

Paying attention to political news these days likely causes many of us to believe The Gods Must Be Crazy. In a time when facts, truth and reason seem to be twisted and manipulated in ways that we’ve not seen before, using tools that weren’t available before, we need to keep some things in mind.

Successful public sector professionals, communicators, and campaign-winning politicians know that people are moved far more by their gut than by reason. And that poses some serious challenges to people working with the public in fields requiring evidence-based decision-making. I hope this newsletter sheds some light on that challenge.

Stay curious,



Our Digital Challenge

What can you do in one minute? Well here’s what happens in 60 seconds online:

The volume of digital communication is staggering. We need to talk about the quality of communication, so let’s start with this.

Electronic communication is different and at its best it remains two-dimensional — we are three-dimensional creatures.


Conversation Craftsmanship

Good communication and engagement starts with connections and that typically requires conversation. Our focus on tools and electronic media has resulted in our degraded skills in interpersonal communication. It really is a craft and here are 10 rules for getting better at it.


Can You Hear Me Now?

You might have noticed that listening is one of the 10 rules in the previous Ted Talk, so these next two dig a little deeper.

You’re a bad listener, here’s how to remember what people say.

When listening isn’t enough.

There are reasons why we hate to listen, but there are real purposes for doing so.

There’s even a cool term for one lousy-listening habit that a lot of people suffer from.


Public Outrage, Involvement and Group Facilitation Training

Learn how and why agencies and municipalities succeed or fail in their dealings with the public and moving issues forward. 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.

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

·       Lakewood, CO – July 23-25 (Planning only)

·       Minneapolis, MN – July 30-August 3

·       Boulder, CO – August 1-2 (Techniques only)

·       Chicago, IL – September 24-28

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

·       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).

Click here to join us and watch for more IAP2 and other original TPC courses coming up. We also work with our public and private sector clients to customize in-house training, coaching and facilitation for their specific challenges.

You’ll also find more original ponderings from Debra Duerr, Wendy Lowe, Doug Sarno, me, and other very stable geniuses at at our blog.

The Participation Company LLC is also a strategic partner and provider for the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).