The Participation Blog

Culturally Speaking

Inclusion, diversity and equity are a renewed focus of our public participation initiatives. Our profession has always professed to being open and inviting across cultures and people, but we’re all reexamining our effectiveness of actually walking the talk. If you’ll indulge the plug, The Debra Duerr Memorial Scholarship Fund is designed to actively promote inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and …

Culturally Speaking read more →

Engaging Vaccine-Hesitant People

One of the biggest challenges of our time is convincing people that it’s a good idea to keep themselves and each other alive. Sounds ridiculous to say that, doesn’t it? But engaging and influencing people to do what’s in their best interest is often the task of professionals working in the public – greater good-focused – sector. The …

Engaging Vaccine-Hesitant People read more →

Getting People to Read What You Wrote

Readers read, on average, 20% of the words on a webpage, according to the Nielsen Norman Group. Attention spans are getting shorter while demands on our attention are getting greater and louder, which makes it imperative for us to write better.

The Game Changer

People who are engaged in the practice of public engagement come to it from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives – communication, the sciences, community planning, engineering, sometimes politics – but those that are most successful almost always have one universal trait in common: the ability to truly empathize. If for no other reason than – as Alan Alda (Hawkeye) …

The Game Changer read more →

Virtually Helpful

The pandemic has changed all of our lives personally and professionally. The way that we now have to do our jobs with people has been the most obvious change. This profession, which has always been a generally high personal touch business, has transformed into a mostly no touch approach. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that …

Virtually Helpful read more →

It’s All About the Problem

You can’t really solve the problem if the problem you’re trying to solve isn’t really the problem. (Huh?!) Understanding the needs, behaviors and beliefs of the people who will interact with the final product, service or policy that you’re trying to deliver – the problem you’re trying to solve – is the key to success. 

ZOOM Isn’t the Answer — It’s Not Even the Question

A state government agency head that we’re acquainted with recently announced that all of their public meetings will now be held only on Zoom; no longer in person. A pretty dumb policy in our estimation. Online engagement has grown the reach of government exponentially – no doubt it’s changed the game in terms of the …

ZOOM Isn’t the Answer — It’s Not Even the Question read more →

Slooww Dowwnn

Public speaking is the single biggest fear for most people – people tend to list public speaking as more frightening than death. When most people get in front of a group, nerves tend to shift your brain into overdrive and your speed increases without you being consciously aware of it. And when experts speak to …

Slooww Dowwnn read more →