…And I Approve This Newsletter – November Issue

Dear Valued Reader,

You can breathe now. The campaigns are over, you may now safely return to your television. Living in a key battleground state, I’ve enjoyed the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history and some of the most vitriolic and vicious ads for a whole range of offices that have ever been produced. It’s hard to imagine that 30 second commercials can sway many people other than reconfirming their pre-existing hatred for ‘the others’. So we’re asked to make consequential decisions based on a half-minute horror story – helluva way to market a democracy, eh?

It begs the issue of time – of which we all have too little. We’re living in an immediate gratification and relentlessly distracted world. Simple, instant Google-ish answers trump anything complex requiring much thought. As life gets more convoluted, people crave more simplicity and that makes con artists with simple, black and white answers attractive in a grey world. Our distractions have consequences. It’s not easy to get people to slow down, breathe, think and talk to each other, but that’s where the magic starts and the real answers are found.

Every day’s a school day. Stay curious,


PS: Gobble


Words Matter. Context Can Matter Even More.

Much has been said, written and accusations made about the use of words. There’s no question that words stir, inspire and enflame people to feel and act – history is clear. But it’s not just the choice of words, it’s the context of who says what and how those words are used.


Transformative Words

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” If you’re looking for the right words, try these.


People are Funny

We’ve frequently talked about facts versus perceptions in past issues of this newsletter, and how differently people tend to view the same things. As it was once said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Here are some things you’ll find interesting.


And it Turns Out That Some People Really Are Jerks

A pretty credible study concludes, in part, Teenage males were more likely than average to be self-centered, but this proportion decreased with age. These 18-year-olds are going to grow up, except some people don’t grow up, and they become senior political statesmen.


Memorable vs. Not Memorable

One of the outrage factors that we talk about in our two-day course deals with issues and events that people find most memorable. And the things that we find most memorable tend to be the more negative and emotionally sticky events of our lives.


Who Is Really Lying to You?

You’re reading this after the midterm elections and, thankfully, after the conclusion of this year’s onslaught of particularly ugly political ads. A lot of those ads claim that their opponents are liars. So, somebody’s obviously not telling the truth. The problem is that we’re (all of us are) terrible at recognizing real liars.


Ask for Help

In the craft of successfully engaging people in solving problem or resolving issues, asking for help from those people helps you considerably. Doing this is hard on the egos of CEOs and managers in public service, but it’s great for your projects. Just ask them.


Managing Public Participation, Opposition and (Re) Building Trust Training

We’ll help you succeed with the public. The Participation Company (TPC) facilitates, consults, coaches and trains civil service, NGO and business people about their community conflicts and building effective public engagement programs. We’ll help you make the disgruntled, gruntled. Our job is helping you do yours.

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

  • Salt Lake City – December 3-7
  • Phoenix, AZ – January 28-Feb 1, 2019
  • Arlington, VA (Washington DC) – March 4-8, 2019
  • Las Vegas, NV – March 25-29, 2019

IAP2 ‘Strategies for Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation’ (2-day) classes scheduled before the end of the year:

  • Denver, CO – November 29-30

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 look for more IAP2 and other original TPC courses coming up. We mostly work with a variety of public and private sector clients to customize in-house training, coaching and facilitation for their specific challenges. We’re your huckleberries.

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