The Most Dangerous Newsletter We’ve Ever Written

I know I’m pushing the envelope by bringing this up, but by most traditional measurements, I’m confident that Donald Trump is currently the hottest brand on the planet. I expect that the Trump brand is currently bigger than Coke, “Game of Thrones,” Google, “The Apprentice,” Nike or any random Kardashian — he has everyone’s attention. Love him or loathe him, people talk about him, and that’s the point.

Attacks or praise aren’t really that important…the only danger in good branding is suffering from being ignored. If you’re looking for the purpose behind the bombast, the swagger, the defiance and the non-convention, then ego and branding are at the heart of the matter.

And that brings me to my point: in the work that you do, which means involving the public and other key stakeholders, the first order of business is getting and keeping their attention.  Read on and…

Stay Curious…



I’m treading dangerous political ground by raising the subject, but — politics aside — there’s obviously something about President Donald Trump’s style that his committed supporters find incredibly appealing. It’s interesting to wonder about how a privileged billionaire can possibly create a sense of common ground with middle and low income Americans. There’s something to learn from his ability to connect by using his purposely unpolished, tough, everyday-straight-talk persona:

In his own unique style, Trump has a knack for creating stories, tension and constant message repetition – and that’s just Advertising 101:

Again, politics aside, it’s hard to argue with Trump’s effectiveness as a communicator. Can you say that your messages follow this formula?


If you’re reading this, then I’m pretty sure that you’re in the business of influencing, motivating and changing people’s behavior. Regardless of what you do, it requires pushing people to think or do…something:

People generally act differently now than they did 20 years ago, and we’re witnessing changes in public behavior and norms firsthand. These days, people are motivated far more by emotion than by reason.

It’s hard for “trained professionals” and highly evolved individuals to swallow, but there are reams of research to support this. And, if you’re looking for the granddaddy of motivators, then here you go:

I’ll presume that you motivate people for good…probably the greater good. However, if we want to learn from the best in the business, then we need to consider how the bad guys do it:


There is a bottom line here, and the headline of this piece says it better than anything else than I could think of…it doesn’t matter what you know if you can’t communicate:

So here we are, full circle, right back where we started at the beginning of this newsletter…it’s all about connection:

Dispute Resolution, Community Engagement & Meeting Facilitation Training  

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.

Open registration International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) classes remaining in 2017 include:

The IAP2 Foundations 5-Day Course:

* Orlando, FL: October 16 – 20

* Walnut Creek, CA: November 6 – 10

IAP2 Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation 2-Day Course (The newly freshened hands-on workshop — previously known as “Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation” – has an updated manual and is now gluten free!):

* Denver, CO: November 16 – 17

Facilitation for Public Participation Practitioners:

* Denver, CO: October 25 – 27

Click on to
to join us and watch for more IAP2-branded and other original courses in 2017. We continually work with a variety of clients to customize in-house training for their specific challenges.

You’ll also find a lot more original ponderings from Debra Duerr, Wendy Lowe, Doug Sarno and me, and an occasional guest at

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

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