Civil, open minded conversations feel like relics of days gone by. People are welded to positions, opinions and beliefs in ways that are more steadfast and strident than in the past. The work that we all do is typically about pushing beyond just those hard and fast postures to explore answers that fulfill the needs… read more →
A sincere, well stated apology is the most important thing to deliver when you’re dealing with someone who has, or feels like they have been wronged or mistreated. If you’re dealing with someone or some group that has a real grievance, it’s the only way that you’re going to get beyond their animosity directed at you and your organization. Clients often have… read more →
Nobody changes the minds of others; people change their own minds. Nobody talks you into anything – you decide. Consensus and compromise are how big things actually get done and that comes about when people are able to collaborate and change their minds to some degree. This requires people with varying mindsets to come to… read more →
The most effective public involvement being done these days seems to be in communities where public services are already closer to the people using them. Urban planners are significant users of public engagement and many of them have asked us for some examples that are a little out of the ordinary. So we thought we’d… read more →
My colleagues and I have the privilege of working with lots of smart people and over the years we’ve seen inevitable changes supported by new research that shows we’re slowly losing some innate and critically important abilities. Interpersonal communication skills are waning in people who have been focused on pure science, technology or some other… read more →
Because it isn’t a business, it serves a different purpose and the goals just aren’t the same. Government can learn a lot from good companies and C-suite managers, but government isn’t a capitalistic enterprise and it shouldn’t be. Sometimes corporate arrogance oversteps wisdom when executives make the jump to the public side of life. It… read more →
Power and control usually manifest as arrogance and that makes people angry. We use different terms and euphemisms – reducing public anger and outrage, calming the waters, lowering the temperature, building trust – for the same basic goal: getting people to the point of having a reasonable dialogue or debate or interaction with you. If your goal… read 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.
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.
Most people working in public service come to it with advanced degrees. They’ve usually learned a specific way of presenting factual information and arguments. That scientific method works great for scoring good grades but not so much for public presentations and documents. Leading with the main point is important. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll… read more →