Public Agenda Series: Ten Key Talents for Better Public Participation
Are you looking to hone your P2 skills?
To supplement the book Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy, Matt Leighninger, former IAP2 USA Board Member and Director of Public Engagement at Public Agenda, and co-author Tina Nabatchi outline 10 skills and capacities foundational to deeper and broader public participation at the Public Agenda blog.
In this Series
Part 1: Ten Key Talents for Better Public Participation – These skills and capacities – or talents – can contribute to a system where public engagement processes, tools and technologies are not just “civic hacks.” Rather, they are qualities and characteristics of a political system in which people have a wide variety of ways to participate on a broader range of issues and decisions, June 22, 2016.
Part 2: Building Coalitions and Networks – Finding and connecting with other potential participation leaders, and strengthening those relationships in coalitions and networks, is an important step in planning and sustaining public participation, June 28, 2016.
Part 3: Cultural Competence and Engaging Youth – In both coalition building and recruitment, participation leaders should think explicitly about youth involvement. Engaging young people can galvanize all kinds of public participation efforts, July 6, 2016.
Part 4: Recruiting Participants – Participation is more likely to benefit the community as a whole when it involves a broad cross-section of the community. And interactions will be more lively and rewarding when there is a diverse mix of participants. In this case, diversity not only means demographic diversity, but also diversity of views, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, July 12, 2016.
Part 5: Communicating About Participation – While the media landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade, some basic communication skills are useful whether one is working with traditional media organizations, such as newspapers and television and radio stations, or new media organizations, including hyperlocal and purely online outlets, July 19, 2016.
Part 6: Managing Conflict – Although public participation projects rarely include formal conflict resolution processes, a general sense of how to manage conflict can be invaluable for building coalitions and facilitating meetings, July 25, 2016.
Part 7: Providing Information and Options: Issue Framing – Getting people to the table is not sufficient for improved public participation. The table must also be set in a way that gives citizens more of what they want (problem solving, civility and community) and treats them like adults in the process. This requires participation leaders to think more deeply about how to provide information and describe options, August 1, 2016.
Part 8: Providing Information and Options: Sequencing Discussions and Writing Discussion Materials – Many participation processes require some kind of agenda or guide that establishes a helpful, flexible structure for addressing a particular issue or problem. From years of experimentation, a successful sequence has emerged for these kinds of guides and the discussions they support, August 9, 2016.
Part 9: Managing Discussions, Blog 1 of 3: Facilitating Face-to-Face Groups – The basic definition of “facilitate” is to make easy or easier. Within the context of public participation, the word facilitate means to lead (and make easier) a group discussion. This is done, for example, by guiding conversations, asking questions, mediating between opposing viewpoints, ensuring that all participants’ views are heard, reflecting and summarizing what is said, following the agenda and keeping time. The facilitator’s main task is to create a safe environment where each participant feels comfortable expressing ideas and responding to those of others, August 15, 2016.
Part 10: Managing Discussions, Blog 2 of 3: Recording and Online Moderation – Ensuring that participant interactions work well for everyone requires a number of key skills centered on managing discussions, including facilitating face-to-face groups, recording, moderating online forums, setting ground rules and giving feedback, August 22, 2016.
Part 11: Managing Discussions, Blog 3 of 3: Ground Rules and Feedback – Today, we close out our exploration of managing discussions with two critical skills: establishing ground rules and providing feedback, August 30, 2016.
Part 12: Helping Participants Generate and Evaluate Ideas – A common practice in all kinds of participation settings is generating, refining, evaluating and ranking ideas. Two skills are particularly helpful for supporting these activities: brainstorming and visioning to generate ideas, and using ABC standards to evaluate ideas, September 6, 2016.
August 2015 IAP2 Learning Webinar: “Meet the Authors – Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy”