Hearts, Heads and Humility

No public speaker wants to be known as the Official Presenter of the National Sleep Foundation (unless you actually work for the National Sleep Foundation) but I expect that you’ve heard candidates that could compete for the title. This month you’ll find some hints that will keep you out of that group.

Stay Curious,


Hearts and Heads  

In the early 2000’s of the Iraq war, the phrase winning hearts and minds was repeated by the U.S. military. It meant that actions were to be undertaken to regain the confidence and cooperation of the Iraqi people. That plan may have fallen short, but this idea now needs to be adopted by our government if it ever hopes to regrow trust and credibility with the people that it serves:


While writing this, I’m watching a news story about U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz being shouted down by a thousand of his constituents at a town hall in Salt Lake City. This kind of public reaction isn’t confined only to congressional delegates: government bureaucracy is a target-rich environment.

It isn’t easy dealing with the pressure of angry citizens, but it comes with public service gigs. Here’s some guidance from the pressure experts:


At some point in the past, public officials apparently decided that they needed to make people think that they had all the answers. Sometime later, people discovered that this wasn’t true. The result is the state of public affairs and credibility as we know it today where people have lost trust and faith in their government. This needs to be fixed and here’s a start:



Practically speaking, when you have an audience and you have an opportunity, the objective is to make a connection. This takes more than reading a report or announcing the words off of some PowerPoint slides. Here are the steps:


As George Bernard Shaw famously said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” It’s easy to take things for granted and communication is clearly one of those things. Don’t assume that, just because you’re talking, anybody is listening.  Do this:


And if you’re able to accomplish the following, you’re likely to be perceived as a pretty smart speaker:


Curious, Isn’t It?  

I sign the intros to these newsletters suggesting that you “Stay Curious.” Curious people learn a lot and engage people well when they go into it with the right intentions, the right questions and by listening…


Apparently, Humility is now a Character Flaw…  

As a kid, I vividly recall my ego being dismantled whenever I puffed up about an accomplishment. I don’t advocate it for everyone, but my chums who snorted about my victories and cheered my failures were probably good for my character. And, it seems that truly trustworthy people stay humble…


Maybe a little more evidence would be useful…


Hand-in-hand with maintaining a level of humility is a sense of organizational empathy:


Conflict Resolution Strategies & Conflict Resolution Techniques  

The Participation Company (TPC) partners facilitate, consult, coach and train public- and private-sector people with their community conflicts and public engagement programs. Our job is to help you do yours.

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You’ll also find a lot more original ponderings from Debra Duerr, Wendy Lowe, Doug Sarno and me at http://TheParticipationCompany.com/blog/.

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