Great Writing, Clueless Communication & Classic Quotes

Welcome to Twenty-Twelve, a fresh, brand-spanking new election year. Strap your helmet on tight…it’s going to be a bumpy ride. I’m already looking forward to November: the next ten months of electioneering means we’re in for a bumper crop of soundbites. While we can only hope for a few “Ask not what your country can do for you…” inspirations, we can probably count on a few more Herman Cain-esque “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” statesman-like classics.

On that subject, and in honor of Time magazine’s 2011 Person the Year (The Protester) and the debate that it has spawned — consider a quote from Frederick Douglas in 1857: “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.”

We have a good crop of articles this month. I’ll continue to waste my nights and weekends surfing the Net so you don’t have to…enjoy!


Candidates Say the Darndest Things

You’ll find the best lines of 2011 below. Let’s hope that 2012’s crop isn’t notable just for its entertainment factor:


Great Tips from Some Great Writers

We all write for a living – blogs, newsletters, white papers, briefs, articles, books – and all with common traits. I hope you find this article as useful as I did. After that is a good piece from the Harvard Business Review on replacing meaningless words with meaningful ones. See if you agree:


I Have No Idea What You’re Talking About!

Admit it…how many times does this thought go through your head in the course of a week? Buzzwords, acronyms, meaningless phrases — jargon in government and business is rampant and getting worse. How can people trust what they don’t understand?!


Everything That’s Wrong in Washington…and How to Fix It

OK, that headline is a little presumptuous. However, I think the attached article is clearly worth reading:



Restoring Trust and Credibility

It’s been a remarkable few months for some very public examples of high profile moral failure and the destruction of trust by authority figures. The first two links are worthwhile reads on these subjects and for those who say “Show me a concrete example of a way to make it work.” The last is a link to one city’s citizen solution:


Eat Your Vegetables

No matter how bad you think you are at public speaking, no matter how much it terrifies you or how much you hate it, you really need to do it. Here’s a relatively painless way to start. Think of it as eating your first Brussels sprout. (Note: Author likes Brussels sprouts.)


Great Training:

Public Engagement Certificate and Dealing with Angry Citizens

I’m heading back to the Windy City to teach the five-day IAP2 Public Participation Certificate course April 30 – May 4. Ten thousand practitioners have now completed this course and most tell us it’s the definitive class for people in our field. Our host for this open class is the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) located in the Loop in the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. It’s a great location, a tremendous class and spring in Chicago is a special time.

We will focus on civility, angry people and managing opposition during the two-day Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation (EOP2) class. You’ll learn why people get so angry and what to do about it. It’s hands-on, immensely practical and never been more relevant.

The EOP2 class in 2012 is scheduled for Toronto, March 5-6; Calgary, March 12-13; Vancouver on June 4-5; Chicago, June 14-15 and Halifax on September 24-25.

For the U.S. classes click on:

For the Canada classes click on:

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