The Participation Blog

Whhaad They Say?!

Thirty plus years ago, I shifted to a mostly public sector career from a reasonably successful one in media, and then advertising and public relations. At the time, I was astonished by government’s ineptitude in conveying information to the citizens that it supposedly worked for. The people that I worked ...
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Basics of Empathy

Empathy is linked to our best relationships with people and our own well-being. Empathic people tend to be happier and enjoy less stress. Empathy is a big topic these days because research and empirical evidence suggests that empathy is in serious decline. The University of Michigan found that college students ...
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Another Case for Public Engagement

Right now, being a citizen in the U.S. feels unsettling, daunting and frustrating for people who follow the state of politics. Participating in the affairs of government seems like the last thing people might want to do. But put that in perspective: there are 500,000 elected officials in the U.S., ...
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Use Your Words

If your job requires you to work with the public, at some point you’ll probably get a face to face or Zoom to Zoom audience with those people. They’ll give you their time and attention and you’ll have them in front of you or on camera. You’ll have this one ...
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Here’s Where the Solutions Start

There are no instant fixes to (re)building trust and there are no magic, automatic answers … but there are answers. At the risk of sounding like a shameless self-promoter, the courses that we teach all move the needle back in the direction of trust. (Re)building trust in leadership, science, ...
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We Have a Trust Crisis

Trust in expertise, academia, power and institutions of all kinds (particularly government) is at an all-time low. Research suggests that most people truly believe that business and government leaders are purposely misleading them. If that’s the case, how can a representative democracy function? This vacuum of trust opens the ...
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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times said, “When one is accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” I think that explains much of the opposition that we see to the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ rights, and most other social struggles that people are … struggling with. Diversity, equity, ...
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When the Public Becomes the Press

500,000 local elected officials control more than $2 trillion of taxpayer money. And every day an estimated 1,500 public meetings are held in the United States, many of which relate to what happens to that $2 trillion. Local newspaper (and radio and TV) reporters used to tell us who said ...
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