The Participation Blog

We’re Losing Our Glue

Trust is the lubricant that allows families, friends, groups, societies, governments and economies to function. We know that the level of trust in institutions of all kinds has been falling for years, but now we see more evidence that trust is failing everywhere. It won’t be easy to reverse this trend, but we have no …

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Here’s Where It All Starts

Engaging and involving people starts with being able to communicate with them. If you can’t effectively accomplish that, don’t bother. The challenge starts with finding out who they are, understanding what they know and learning how best to reach them. The responsibility of communicating with them rests with you, not them. Get better at it …

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Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Professional propaganda and weaponized disinformation might be the biggest fundamental problem facing civil society and democracy. As the following story points out, politically slanted bulls#!t isn’t new, it’s been with us since well before Roger Stone was filling his diapers. But conventional media, alternative media and social media have given everyone a handheld megaphone and …

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Our Existential Threat

The pandemic has taught us a lot about climate change. More specifically, the public reaction to the pandemic has taught us a lot about how people are likely to continue to react to a changing climate, what they’ll believe, whom to blame and what, if anything, they’ll be willing to do and sacrifice – or …

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Compassion

For the longest time, the work that we do has been referred to as “soft” and I have to admit that’s always bugged me. Describing it this way sounds demeaning, and sometimes I know it’s intended to do so. The underlying attitude is that these soft skills aren’t really important traits and they don’t mean …

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Engaging Taxpayers

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) that passed in March in the U.S. is designed to be a game changer for reducing the national poverty rate, improving healthcare and bringing broadband access to people who don’t have it but need it badly. But like most government initiatives, the plan’s complex and not a lot of beneficiaries …

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Preserve the Relationship

In our coaching classes, we frequently talk about dealing with highly agitated, angry people and their aggressive behavior in public meetings and other settings. One of the strategies we employ helps facilitators and clients make sure that they do everything possible to preserve their relationships with those people. Anger escalates even more when people feel …

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Hakuna Matata

The past couple of years have generally sucked for most people. For a majority of us, it’s been a lousy period in our lives and for some of us, it’s been truly horrible and particularly difficult. But you know what, by way of the fact that I’m writing this and you’re reading it, we survived …

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Decisions, Decisions

If you’ve taken the IAP2 Foundations course from us, you’ve heard us say (until you’re maybe tired of hearing us say it) that effective, authentic public participation is about making better, sustainable, powerful decisions. Public involvement isn’t just a nice, feel-good thing to do to placate the unruly masses; it’s fundamental to democracy, engaging the …

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