Unsociable, Phones and Rule Changes‏

The Dog Days of summer are upon us, so I wanted to get a slightly abbreviated version of this tome from the range* out before the U.S. Labor Day weekend. Dreading or craving the end of summer probably depends on how far north or south you live. Wherever that might be for you, I hope that your summer dreams come true.


* I readily confess to stealing that line from “Tome on the Range,” a downtown bookstore in Las Vegas, New Mexico

Antisocial Media  

Social media might be the most important (grassroots) organizational tool invented by humankind since we first learned to grunt ideas at each other. When it sparked “Arab Spring,” the whole idea of its power took on an air of nobility and righteousness. Nobody knows where it will go, but the amount of good that technology and the social media movement can do by allowing previously powerless people both self-expression and a way to connect, engage and organize may be limitless. But there’s a dark side to it that we have to admit and learn, somehow, to deal with – public shaming.

You’ll remember these stories when they were viral, but you may not know the backstories and consequences. Jon Ronson explores the phenomenon in a recent book:


Phone Home  

The social media that you probably grew up with makes you a dinosaur…


Fact is, your cell phone kinda sucks as a phone:


Changing the Public Speaking Rules 

We often talk here about better presentations and speaking to groups more effectively. Audiences are changing and so are the rules:


“The Biggest Problem in Communication…  

…is the illusion that it has taken place.” That enduring quote from George Bernard Shaw comes to my mind almost daily. Good decisions and good judgment come, in large part, from having made bad decisions and poor judgment. This will save you some time…


Most of the useful stuff that’s written about communication typically focuses on business managers and CEOs, but these lessons are extremely useful to government folks communicating with the public. It’s the dynamics and psychology of people who have more power communicating with those people who have less. Here’s what Wharton says:


As a big fan of sarcasm — shocking, isn’t it? — I appreciate its creativity and humor as well as the edginess and attention that it can bring to communication. However, it can be dangerous. I finally found a good, brief explanation on how and when to use (or not use) sarcasm:


Training & Coaching, Basics to Advanced  

If you and your people need help or just a refresher in engaging the public, we can help. We’ll show you what we’ve learned from our own failures as well as our successes. This will save you a lot of aspirin…

* “As government employees we have our fair share of training. Not many rise to the level, as this one did, where you can say that it is one of the best courses you’ve ever taken.”

* “That was definitely one of the very best training experiences I have had, and without question it was the presenter & participants who made it so!”

* “…class I attended yesterday was the most professional, interesting, and worthwhile … class I ever attended.”

The full slate of 2016 training dates and places is coming soon, but for the time being you can plan on the following:

* The newly updated International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Foundations course:

* Chicago, IL: December 14 – 18, 2015

* Arlington, VA: February 1 – 5, 2016

* Phoenix, AZ: February 29 – March 4, 2016

* The IAP2 Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation course:

* Orlando, FL October 28 – 29, 2015

Just click on http://theparticipationcompany.com for all of the details and to register.

The Participation Company LLC is a strategic partner and provider for the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

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