The Participation Blog

The More Effective Listening Level

Cable and online media have created a culture where everyone talks – or yells, and nobody bothers to listen. It’s as if the last person standing – talking … wins. Empirical evidence and research has taught us that one of the most effective first steps in dealing with adversarial groups ...
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The Cost of Zoom

“You’re on mute” may be the most used phrase of the times. We’ve spent nearly two years working with each other by way of Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Google Meet, Skype, or some other video conferencing/meeting platform. And it turns out a lot of people have learned to like it ...
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Building Public Trust

The solution to “unfixable community input” is learning how to fix it. Fixing it through collaborative governance isn’t just a feel-good theory; I think it’s becoming imperative to the survival of democracy, or at least to recreating credibility for government. Rebuilding public trust will require power sharing between government and ...
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Community Input Is Bad?

“The community-input system is unfixable and, more important, undesirable,” so says the accompanying article from The Atlantic. I say bull-cookies. With all due respect to the article’s author, they clearly don’t know what you and I know. Public engagement, done with authenticity, skill and creativity, is most desirable. The ...
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Impress ‘Em … in the Right Way

When you do the kind of important, greater good work that you do, talking about first impressions or last impressions might sound pretty superficial – not worthy of consideration by serious professional people. But I expect that you realize that public engagement and conflict resolution is at its essence … ...
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The History of Fake News

As I’m writing this, I’m watching a television report that Russian state media is labelling video and firsthand reports of civilian slaughter and atrocities in Ukraine as “fake news.” It’s a term that’s gotten a ton of traction since the election of the previous guy here in the U.S., but ...
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Engaging the Privileged

I recently started working with a municipality confronting the growing homeowner opposition to multifamily housing adjacent to or within established neighborhoods. I’m sure you know that home prices and rents are going through the roof (pun intended) – as is demand, especially for multifamily and more affordable housing. Cities, builders, ...
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