It’s Over…

And we survived this election. The sun rose this morning and it’s expected to set again tonight. Now we have work to do and repairs to make to our democracy. Let’s get started…

Stay Curious,


Picking up the Pieces of our Shattered Dreams  

Now that we’re left with the smoldering ruins of the ugliest campaign in our lifetime, the question remains, what’s next? We might start with this basic understanding of who we are: There’s credible research and actual science around the differences among people who tend to be conservative and others who tend to be more liberal in their thinking:

And, of course, we’ll still have to deal with those people. Here are some things to consider when you’re speaking to someone with whom you don’t agree…

Maybe the biggest known in marketing is the need to identify or create a problem in order to solve it. If I can convince you that your teeth aren’t white enough, your car isn’t cool enough or your shoes look like your dad’s, then I can sell you a solution. And when I can make you believe that the government is evil, terrorists are at the gate and your life sucks, I can keep you tuned in and provide the answer to your prayers. Here’s how it works:

Just like there’s a difference between perception and reality, there’s also a difference between what’s real and what’s true. When you’re trying to resolve conflict, it’s helpful to understand people’s understanding of reality and truth. They’re different…

Let’s Get Engaged  

Community involvement and public engagement is at the core of what we do. Employee engagement is an increasingly hot topic for lots of clients and for business in general these days, and this brief article takes a nice bite out of the subject. If you know public involvement then you’ll notice that it’s really not different:

This is one of the better articles on the subject of employee engagement that I’ve seen, particularly the points about employee satisfaction vs. engagement. The idea is comparable to the concept of implied consent vs. public participation. Read on…

The importance of relationships in business is paramount. If you don’t believe me, believe Wharton. And the public sector may be catching on:

Facilitation is Easy  

As a non-golfer, I enjoy telling people that I watch it a lot on TV so I’m sure that I’d be pretty good at it if I ever started playing.

Most people tend to feel that way about things like making presentations or driving or facilitating meetings. When you’re exposed to enough of something, you tend to take it for granted.

As we all know, however, to actually be good at anything takes time and effort. TPC trains serious facilitators but, for some basics on the craft, check out the following:

Another common idea is that just getting the right people in the room with the right information produces good results and decisions, and that they’ll just kind-of facilitate themselves, right? No, not so much…

When You Get Their Attention, Connect  

You know the old line about never getting a second chance to make a first impression? Well, here are some thoughts about that:

Unless you’re living in a cave or off the grid, you know that the amount of information that most people are exposed to and consume is overwhelming these days. When you have something important to convey, even in a brief encounter, try the following:

One of the challenges for experts is communicating with non-experts. When you know a lot about something, it’s difficult to explain it to people who don’t know what you know. Your facts and data don’t change minds and facts don’t stick well without context.

Stories provide context because they force you and — hopefully — your audience to empathize…

Most of our clients are professionals who sometimes make presentations for other pros at formal conferences. Public speaking is terrifying for lots of people, but these kinds of events can be less stressful because people are on the same learning curve. Nevertheless, there are good ways and bad ways of approaching it. Here’s a better way:

Conflict Resolution Strategies & Conflict Resolution Techniques  

The Participation Company (TPC) partners facilitate, consult, coach and train government agencies and businesses with their public conflicts and community involvement programs.  We’ve had success with some of the toughest issues around.

Open registration International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) classes include:

The IAP2 Foundations 5-Day Course:

* Salt Lake City, UT: December 5 – 9, 2016
* Phoenix, AZ:  January 23 – 27, 2017
* Arlington, VA: February 6 – 10, 2017
* Austin, TX: March 27 – 31, 2017
* Orlando, FL: May 1 – 5, 2017
* Denver, CO: June 5 – 9, 2017

IAP2 Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation 2-Day Course:

* Austin, TX: April 27 – 28
* Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ (pending)
* Denver, CO (pending)
* Arlington, VA (pending)

Click on to
to join us and watch for more courses in 2017.

You’ll also find lots more original ponderings from Debra Duerr, Wendy Lowe, Marty Rozelle, Doug Sarno and me at

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

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