September’s Engineer Joke

The Renaissance, Dark Ages and Age of Enlightenment – if you pay any attention to the news these days, it feels like we’re in another noteworthy period of human history, one that might be remembered as the “Age of Willful Ignorance.” But the truth is that it really may not be that new.

Isaac Asimov once said, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life; nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” What seems to be different now is how much conventional and social media amplifies blowhards and gasbags.

Finding ways to get truthful knowledge into people’s heads is still the primary goal. These stories should help.‏


Extroverted Engineers  

Do you know the difference between introverted and extroverted engineers? Extroverted engineers stare at your shoes when they’re talking to you! I always enjoy using that knee-slapper with my techy pals, but I’ll probably have to rethink that joke based on the winner of the 2015 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking. Mohammed Qahtani, a security engineer in Saudi Arabia, has some terrific tips:

You can’t force knowledge into people’s heads…it has to be pulled in. That requires the right language, existing knowledge and perceptions that are already in their heads. Next time, try metaphors:

I’ve attended two conferences since the last newsletter and I’ve seen and heard a lot of people speak. Some were good; some, not so much. So on the subject of presenting, here’s a checklist that you might like:

Getting the Public in the Door  

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it: You can’t involve people who don’t get involved, so getting them in the door and into the process is critical. Here are 10 tips for that important first step:

In spite of the progress made over the years, public involvement still means a thousand different things to a thousand different people. In some cases, you’ll find it being done really right…

The business world is increasingly focused on engaging their customers. You can find useful principles that translate well to the public sector, like these:

Another Day, Another CEO Apology  

Volkswagen was caught doing something remarkably stupid and destructive to their credibility this week. As of this writing, their stock price is down about 20 percent and still falling. Time will tell just how bad this turns out to be for the company and the people who depend on them for a living. I’ll let you be the judge of the response from their U.S. CEO:

On that same note, and you might think that this is ridiculously obvious. However, there’s a lot of chatter these days among academics and leadership gurus about the renewed interest in character. Edward R. Murrow, the late, great journalist once said, “To be persuasive, we must be believable; To be believable, we must be credible; To be credible, we must be truthful.”

Training & Coaching, Basics to Advanced  

If you or your folks could use help in working with the public on tough issues, we’re here:

* “…The most professional, interesting, and worthwhile … class I ever attended”

* “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” 

Currently scheduled classes include:

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

* Fort Collins, CO November 3 – 5, 2015 (Planning)

* Great Falls, MT December 9 – 11, 2015 (Planning)

* Chicago, IL: December 14 – 18, 2015

* Arlington, VA: February 1 – 5, 2016

* Fort Collins, CO February 2 – 3, 2016 (Techniques)

* Fairmont, MT February 25 – 26, 2016 (Techniques)

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

IAP2’s newer Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation course:

* Orlando, FL October 28 – 29, 2015

Just click on for all of the registration information.

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

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