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Sacred Nukes, Headline Writing and Techno-Babble

A survey of 1400 Iranians conducted a few years ago by researchers found that 14 percent of them saw their country’s nuclear program as sacred. Given the current U.S. political fallout over the Iran nuclear deal, that fact might get your attention.

What’s it mean? We’re currently working on a project with sacred sites as a major issue so we’re thinking a lot about the subject. The sense of sacredness and personal values are extremely important concepts and part of almost all of the courses that we teach. Click on the first article below…I think that you’ll find it interesting.

Godec

Battle Tested  

For the first time, researchers (including those at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford University) are examining the pathology of war the way that biologists study the pathology of disease. The science is starting to disprove things that “everybody knows.”

We usually think that the other side is abnormal, deluded, cruel, or just insane. But research now suggests that terrorists and insurgents are basically just like us. They don’t lack empathy – it just seems to be distributed differently.

Some of these new research conclusions are very similar to strategies that we’ve used for years in our work regarding conflict and emotional people. It’s also clear that acknowledgement and symbolic concessions (apologies) play incredibly important roles at every level of conflict resolution.

You won’t find all the magic answers here but it’s worth reading:

http://tinyurl.com/njk5bd6

Make Your Emails Less Rude  

Most of your work-related communication probably happens via email. You exchange information; ask or instruct people to do things, try to convince or work to build relationships with them.

Don’t take email for granted and don’t ignore the nuances and tone of your messages:

http://tinyurl.com/o6pz8zb

You Probably Won’t Read any Further than This…  

Five times as many people read headlines as read the accompanying copy. That was largely true even back before the Web. Headlines grab so that you can drag people in and keep them:

http://tinyurl.com/omqwxn2

It’s reported that Albert Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Translating tough science and policy into language that non-experts can grasp is a major part of the job. Here’s a very good article about making it simple enough:

http://tinyurl.com/odr663z

Successful screenwriters know story and audience. Following are some great lessons from Tinseltown….

http://tinyurl.com/qaqojow

Trust Me When I’m Talking to You  

Every time you open your mouth in front of an audience, you either grow or diminish in their eyes.  So let’s grow…

http://tinyurl.com/pnaqcmb

Navigating the wide world of techno-babble:

http://tinyurl.com/p5s8fhs

Don’t forget to breathe…

http://tinyurl.com/nm49s26

You’ll probably never go pro, but there are some lessons here:

http://tinyurl.com/nkpwq6t

Great speakers become catalysts. They inspire and create change in people’s thinking, motivations and actions. Pretty good goal, huh?

http://tinyurl.com/oyjxk5s

You Always Remember your First Time…  

If you’re getting this particular newsletter for the first time, I hope it was good for you.

In the past, you’ve received occasional emails from the League of Extraordinary Trainers. That collection of IAP2 trainers has technically disbanded but four of us – John Godec, Wendy Lowe, Marty Rozelle and Doug Sarno (plus Debra Duerr) — are also partners in The Participation Company and still providing world-class training so you’ll be getting occasional emails from us.

We hope you’ll stick with us. This newsletter’s been publishing for several years to provide real content that you can use. I think you’ll find something you’ll like in every issue. But, if you choose to do so, opting out is easy. Just know that we’ll miss you. Badly.

Great Training & Coaching  

If you or your crew could use a little coaching or a refresher in working with the public, we can help. Controversy and tough issues are our specialty.

* “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, and without question it was the presenter & participants who made it so!”

* “…class I attended yesterday was the most professional, interesting, and worthwhile … class I ever attended.”

The full slate of 2016 training dates and places is coming soon, but for the time being you can plan on the following:

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

* Chicago, IL: September 21 – 25, 2015

* Arlington, VA: February 1 – 5, 2016

The IAP2 Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation course:

* Orlando, FL October 28 – 29, 2015

Just click on http://theparticipationcompany.com for all of the details and to register.

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

Please forward this newsletter to anyone that you think might find it useful. We never, ever SPAM anybody and subscribing/unsubscribing is easy.

Remember: We waste our time surfing the Worldwide Interweb so you don’t have to…

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Mad as Hell, Millennials & Workin’ It

Jerry Seinfeld has been talking lately about political correctness run amuck and he hasn’t been too kind to Millennials. He, Chris Rock, Larry the Cable Guy and a few others have stopped doing college gigs ’cause kids are now too PC.

In my line of work, I see growing evidence that people of all ages and from all walks of life are now working really hard to be offended. The source is usually something that they don’t really care about, but getting bent out of shape is all the rage these days so why not, eh?

I’m not talking about being perturbed or mildly offended here. I’m talking about getting worked up into the kind of lather that only comes from good old fashioned, self-imposed and self-righteous outrage. This usually fake tizzy is something that we’ll try to discuss in the future.

Godec

You’re Mad as Hell & You’re Not Going to Take It Anymore  

In managing people’s outrage, the objective is to encourage their willingness to talk about to their own self-interests. That’s where negotiation occurs, compromise is found and good things can happen. This is one of the best, brief essays on emotion and negotiation that I think you’ll find:

http://tinyurl.com/obuhm5h

If I wanted to write self-help blogs, then this story would be a dream come true. I don’t, but I think you’ll find it useful anyway. You know that anger is a manifestation of frustration. As such, it stands to reason that learning to stop being so frustrated is very useful in this frustrating business…

http://tinyurl.com/q6oyypb

By all accounts (and a recent bestseller), Steve Jobs was a brilliant dick. The following piece is about negotiating with people like him using your Emotional Intelligence:

http://tinyurl.com/ppyuzya

A Millennial Moment  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released their research on generational definitions, attributes and tendencies with a focus on Millennials. It’s detailed and enlightening:

http://tinyurl.com/lkrf3co

We’ve talked about this topic before…the art of human, civil conversation is slowly eroding. It’s worth considering from this perspective:

http://tinyurl.com/p4skuh2

Employee Engagement and Communication  

More clients are becoming interested in applying the public involvement skills that they’ve learned over the years to engage their own employees. Captain Obvious says this is a terrific place to start:

http://tinyurl.com/najkptx

According to the 2012 Gallup Employee Engagement Index, about one third of all employees globally are actively engaged; nearly 20 percent are actively disengaged and the rest -just about half- are on the fence…

http://tinyurl.com/pnkudu9

It’s pretty common for employers to want their people to feel like they’re engaged but still not really want to give up any of their power or control to them. Welcome to the dilemma:

http://tinyurl.com/oj8zou3

It’s about creating an emotional connection between your people, the services they provide and the people they provide it to…

http://tinyurl.com/nnwmvl6

Last one, I promise…here’s how Southwest Airlines does it. Ding! You are now free to move about the newsletter:

http://tinyurl.com/nozwdfy

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Genetics, Email Jerks & Government Social Media‏

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were the Washington Post reporters that broke the Watergate scandal that resulted in the resignation of a president. Bernstein spoke in Minnesota a few weeks back and pointed out that ideology and partisanship is keeping politicians, journalists and the public from looking for “the best obtainable version of the truth.” That’s a good, glib way of explaining most of the work that we do – getting to the best obtainable version of the truth.

Godec

That Explains Everything  

Here’s a study that has found a genetic variant in about half of all white people that explains how and why they react the way they do…

http://tinyurl.com/o99k3tg

Listen to This  

Getting through to people who are continually bombarded by other people trying to get through to them is a lofty challenge for all of us. This will help:

http://tinyurl.com/mthlgv6

And now that we’re on the subject, ask yourself how many “duologues” you’ve had this week…

http://tinyurl.com/ksj5t8t

Hi, I’m From the Government & I’m here to Help You through Social Media  

It’s everywhere and everybody’s using it so agencies are increasingly getting in on the act. This brief Washington Post story just says if you do it, do it wisely…

http://tinyurl.com/khmzgwh

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time  

That sentence is the kicker to a great story that each of us can tell. Some people have to reach back to our college days (and some of us only to last week) but everybody likely has a bad decision story to share…

Because most of our work is ultimately about making better decisions, here’s where the bad ones are born:

http://tinyurl.com/qbhcfh4

What was Your Name Again?  

In the business of human relations and interpersonal communication, it would help if I could remember who you are…

http://tinyurl.com/m39yqyc

Confirmation Bias  

We all tend to ignore or dismiss any evidence contrary to the things that we’ve decided to believe. Helping people understand and consider other points of view starts with some basics…like this:

http://tinyurl.com/lotlm6j

Stop Sending Jerk Emails  

I get regular, necessary business emails from someone (who shall remain nameless) who sounds like a real jerk, but who I also suspect might actually be a swell human being. When I write back, I try to use the proper name and employ professional but warm greetings, salutations and complete sentences…you get the idea.

In response, I get terse, clipped messages, chopped language or nothing. I don’t take it personally, but if this is how s/he emails everybody, then I suspect s/he doesn’t get many lunch or happy hour invitations…

http://tinyurl.com/o6pz8zb

 

 

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Oh, He’s Just Bat-Sh&t Crazy, Bless His Heart…

That statement (in the subject line) was the response that I got from a co-worker when I asked her to explain one of our goofier colleagues that I’d just met. This was my introduction to gracious Southern modifiers, shortly after moving to Little Rock, Arkansas for a job years ago. You can say pretty much anything about anybody if you followed it with, bless his or her heart which softens the insult. I’ve always enjoyed that because it works for the charm of the genteel South. So let’s have “fun with words.”

Godec

Huh?  

We are living in a time of constant outrage contrasted by political correctness run amuck with euphemisms, modifiers and descriptors. Language reflects the political mood of the country. At one extreme, people who watch and listen to info-tainers yelling on radio and TV learn that it’s OK to act like an ass in public. At the other extreme, political correctness has some people speaking in tongues and we have no idea what they really mean. Euphemisms are really useful until they’re not…

http://tinyurl.com/oh7mnyo

Them Are Fightin’ Words…  

Elaine Boosler once said, “When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping; men invade another country.” Gender differences also speak to how words either work or don’t depending on the audience. Guys typically use lots of sports and military metaphors that may not work well with women or specific cultures.

The following advice comes from Down Under and, although it’s a little hypersensitive for my taste, it’s worth considering:

http://tinyurl.com/ozeau95

But, if you just can’t shake military lingo, at least get it right:

http://tinyurl.com/k9krqew

No, totally!  Here’s what that means and where it comes from:

http://tinyurl.com/o7q9ar7

And apparently abstract language conveys power. Who da thunk…

http://tinyurl.com/l4bwccm

Making Sister Mary Mercy Proud  

Here’s a list of 40 words that we use wrong. It makes me wish that I’d paid attention in class instead of worrying about whether we’d get tater tots with the Sloppy Joes for lunch…

http://tinyurl.com/lab6wou

Sister also was a real stickler for pronunciation:

http://tinyurl.com/qjx3eak

A Simple Answer Formula for Tough Questions  

Most of the communication work that you do with the public involves their mistrust of you and concerns about your intentions. For their tough questions, here’s a really nice, simple formula for constructing good answers:

http://tinyurl.com/oa86bro

Deeper Thoughts  

What it might take to defeat ISIS…

http://tinyurl.com/pufzh5x

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Guys, Explainers and More Cowbell‏

Take heart, summer’s in sight! The boys are back in town with baseball’s spring training rolling out in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues and that brings us to the subject of men…

The Book of Guys by Garrison Keillor discusses ice fishing, beer and the fact that women are better than boys. The reason: boys had to go play outside like livestock while girls were allowed to play in the house where the books and adults were kept.

He’s right, of course. Oddly enough though, all of that hardscrabble Y-Chromosome training seems to work for men in this profession. Whenever some wild-eyed ranting dude is spewing testosterone onto everyone else in a meeting room, I and most other guys can usually relate in some way.

This is both disturbing and comforting, and I’m not proud of it. However, I hope that you’ll find comfort in the thoughts of these thinkers.

Godec

What We’ve Got He-ah is Failure to Communicate…  

A common problem famously quoted by Strother Martin’s character in Cool Hand Luke. Here are the seven errors of which we are all probably most guilty:

http://tinyurl.com/nkrujxv

Good Explainers  

Dr. Bainter and Mr. Swanson both had a knack for making complex, dry-as-dust data and detail palatable and interesting. It was enough for a distracted, short-attention-span punk like me to still remember a physics professor and high school history teacher even though both subjects were brutally boring at the time. Reagan was the “Great Communicator” and Clinton’s been called the “Great Explainer,” both of which are apt descriptions. Here are seven specific ways for us to get good at this:

http://tinyurl.com/kfc6jgu

Over the years, I’ve thought about what made these two teachers so good. They were both comfortable in their own skin and that quiet confidence made theirs stories and passion for teaching real, even to a dumb kid…

http://tinyurl.com/p92zs3y

Educators do it for a living and most people probably gravitate to that profession because they have passion and an aptitude for it. But if public speaking isn’t what you signed up for, this should help make your palms dryer:

http://tinyurl.com/nl8yw5s

We can even get sound advice from the marketing industry. You know, the people who brought us Doggie Stairs, the Clapper, Spray on Hair, and Tinkles the Toilet Cat…

http://tinyurl.com/n5hae7a

And if you’re already comfortable with working a crowd, here are some tips for polishing your act:

http://tinyurl.com/pf9yaxq

Pro Relationships  

It’s harder to hate people up close. Professionals and experts who need to deal with normal humans often find it really tough to do. But when you have to communicate, convince or influence, that requires building rapport…start here:

http://tinyurl.com/ko6g7lo

Then do this…

http://tinyurl.com/o8zoav3

Patience  

I just spent some downtime in a place where drivers and downloads both moved at the speed of Congress. This was not as relaxing as I’d hoped, but I did find an explanation for how our perception of speed has screwed up our brains:

http://tinyurl.com/ppgr2j4

Training With More Cowbell  

A good thought to leave with all of you educators and trainers:

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.”
– Peter F. Drucker

 

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Anti-Vaccers, Misremembering & Gravitas

When I was a youngish adult, chicken pox made me seriously sick. I got it from my four-year-old daughter. She jumped around looking spotted and cute while I whined in a cold-water bathtub for 10 days trying to keep the fever down. The new measles outbreak reminded me of those good times.

As the vaccine/anti-vaccine war rages on, both sides are digging in and hurling facts and beliefs at the other side. And Congress is all excited about it. It’s a quintessential case study in risk communication and neither side is convincing the other. We’ve brought you a lot of information about this phenomenon in past newsletters that are archived at www.GodecRandall.com and there’ll be more in the future.

The late Andy Rooney on CBS’ 60 Minutes put it plainly: “People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.” Once we realize that, we can work on solutions – but not before.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,

Godec

So Quit Yelling at Anti-Vaccine People  

Scientific data doubles every 15 years. In The Half-Life of Facts, Samuel Arbesman writes that the half-life of truth is about 45 years, meaning that half of what Docs believe to be true will be outdated in 45 years.

Evidence shows that vaccines work and save lives. But as facts and science grow, the truth becomes squishy and sanctimony makes things worse:

http://tinyurl.com/o79zg93

The World According to Brian  

The disappointing case of NBC anchor Brian Williams’ misremembering problem will remain a hot topic in media for a while. But as much as we hate to admit it to ourselves, it’s very human and entirely common…

http://tinyurl.com/mxlxt4a

Speaking, Gravitas and Colbert  

Being able to connect with people in delivering a message is imperative and a diminishing skill in an age of short attention spans and immediate gratification. Here’s help:

http://tinyurl.com/ppzbkd6

It’s not about the what, it’s about the why…

http://tinyurl.com/m5j7jex

Ad-Libbing It  

Just winging it is usually a stupid idea but sometimes you have no choice. The higher your profile and the more scrutiny you’re under, the more likely it is that you’ll have to think on your feet and deliver a speech off the cuff. Consider the following:http://tinyurl.com/lv3gyqkhttp://tinyurl.com/n4uceboQuestion Authority  

There have been times when Americans put their faith in authority — usually in the aftermath of a dramatic event (Pearl Harbor and September 11th come to mind). However, overall trust in authority by most people is incredibly hard to find. That has to be corrected…

http://tinyurl.com/qghl98l

Most of us have already learned just about everything we need to know about trust. Maybe we just ignore it in our so-called adulthood. Play fair and keep the promises you make…or imply:

http://tinyurl.com/ojh7jr5

The Wisdom of Drucker  

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.”
– Peter F. Drucker

We coach professionals and we’ll help you connect with the public and grow your trust and credibility. Contact us for information.

* The new International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Certificate course is coming to Phoenix April 27 – May 1

* The IAP2 Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation course is in Phoenix May 14 & 15

We’ll also have classes in Boise, San Antonio and Santa Fe during the next few months. Just click on www.ExtraordinaryTrainers.com for more information and to register

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

Please send this newsletter to anyone that you think might find it useful.  We never, ever SPAM anybody and subscribing/unsubscribing is easy.

Remember: We waste our time surfing the Worldwide Interweb so you don’t have to…

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Homework in January‏

Listening to a call to prayer (adhan) while watching Scooby Doo reruns in Arabic sitting in a hotel room as I waited for the airport taxi was one of the more unique days of my extended Christmas season. I hope your holiday was relaxing, rejuvenating and rewarding.

Working in December with a mixed group of people in the Middle East, helped by two professional translators, really reaffirmed for me the nuance of communication. In addition to bouncing between languages and dealing with words that don’t have a counterpart, the differences between what people say and others hear plus all of the cultural and non-verbal cues was a priceless lesson in the concept of getting lost in translation. It was challenging and oodles of fun.

So most of this month’s newsletter is inspired in some way by last month’s experience. I hope you find something useful. Here’s to 2015, may it translate into everything you’re hoping for.

Je Suis Charlie

Godec

First, Getting Your House in Order  

Most often, the job that I’m hired to do is to help someone engage or communicate with people on the outside. Fact is, getting all of their internal people on the same page is almost always Job #1.

Most organizations are terrible at communicating with their own folks and that’s got to be fixed. It’s the beginning of a new year and a good time for self evaluation, so you might consider the following. This is one of the simplest, six-point employee communication approaches that I’ve seen in long while.  Don’t skip it:

http://tinyurl.com/p6c9e5v

The tough part, usually, is getting managers to even consider the possibility of a problem. Most often, everyone but the manager knows that a communication, morale and/or a productivity problem exists. Emperors with no clothes may be the most dangerous people of all:

http://tinyurl.com/mswvx2j

Smart managers who understand how important internal communication is know that pulling their people together to function as a cohesive unit is the real goal:

http://tinyurl.com/npyb3ev

This newsletter is usually about the words and actions but don’t forget the graphics:

http://tinyurl.com/m2g9ajo

Getting Trusty in 2015  

Keeping with our theme of getting your own house in order moves us to growing internal trust. This goes a step beyond mere good communication…

http://tinyurl.com/lk9m5ts

Here’s a slight twist to the whole subject of trust relative to dealing with criticism. The article points to “friendly fire” and internal criticism, but also works for responding to the kinds of personal attacks that you might get from outside critics:

http://tinyurl.com/jw964xw

The people who rage professionally on radio and TV should have another good year. It’s entertaining and cathartic for a lot of folks and that sells advertising. It’s also human nature to look for scapegoats — somebody to blame, but that doesn’t mean it’s smart:

http://tinyurl.com/kwc7toa

Deliver and Connect  

I get to work for and with some very gifted scientists and technical experts who planned their careers so they don’t have to deal with people and their irrational behaviors. Sometimes, I envy them. But the fact is that almost all successful people learn how to communicate and connect with others well:

http://tinyurl.com/ozx8ezk

There’s a lot of discussion these days about wholesale political attacks being waged on reason, facts and science. There is some truth to that, but at least part of the problem stems from the inability of experts and technocrats to connect with people. The first job is to get people’s attention:

http://tinyurl.com/ozeazc6

It’s fun to tease engineers about their warmth and cuddliness when it comes to human interaction. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has made several fortunes from it. But it turns out that there’s actually some science to the reason/empathy disconnect:

http://tinyurl.com/omfht8j

And when you finally get people’s attention, here’s what one of the masters did with the opportunity:

http://tinyurl.com/n59dqec%20

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Tough People and Global BS‏

Someone very wise once said that the five most basic elements in the hierarchy of human need are food, shelter, clothing, sex and the need to edit someone else’s copy.

I’ve been editing a lot of copy lately so I’ve been thinking about that. Admit it, you’re already thinking about how you’d edit this, right? That’s why I rely on my buddy Marc who gets the last scrub of this newsletter and sends it to you. He brings a different perspective.

A client recently told me that she appreciated the fresh perspective that I brought to a day-long training workshop for her firm. They edited their attitude, approach and language and got a greatly improved result. And I’m pretty confident that at least one of the following stories will change your perspective.

Have a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas and a terrific 2015!

Godec

Bill Clinton Is a Masterful Communicator  

Whatever else you might think about him, the guy’s about as good as it gets when it comes to connecting with people. Here are seven reasons why:

http://tinyurl.com/ky6t37o

One hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Most remains obscure but some goes viral. Those that do have one thing in common and it’s one of Clinton’s greatest traits….communicating successfully requires an emotional connection:

http://tinyurl.com/oml778y

Tough Times & Tough People  

Most of my work is about tough issues and dealing with tough people…those who can be hard to get along with. Here are five simple, ethical tips for dealing with those people:

http://tinyurl.com/mtfdxov

No matter what we start out discussing in these newsletters, we inevitably get back to trust at some point and this issue’s no different…

http://tinyurl.com/o8x75qw
Some of the toughest times and people these days live in Ferguson, Missouri. Trust has to start somewhere, and it started a few weeks back with one cop:

http://tinyurl.com/qhcgkgv

Hey Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone  

Elizabeth Lauten, a GOP staffer, is unemployed this week because she went after the Obama kids on Facebook. When she finally realized that she’d screwed up, she pretended to apologize but didn’t quite get it right:

http://tinyurl.com/nv7cndp

It’s been suggested that people are sick of apologies and that’s probably half-true…I think we’re sick of lousy apologies.  I also think this guy’s right that true apologies need true engagement, analysis, humility and confession:

http://tinyurl.com/psnc7y6

Global BS  

I work with a lot of scientists from various disciplines who look at the world trying to figure out how climate change might affect things. They almost always dismiss people who dismiss the existence of global warming or climate change.

The evidence, they point out, is irrefutable and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional but will figure out the truth soon enough. This study doubts they will:

http://tinyurl.com/k83yhwl

Someone at a recent gathering referred to global warming as The Great Liberal Con which speaks to this article on how con(fidence) artists actually persuade seemingly intelligent people to do dumb things. I’m not advocating for the con, but there is some learning in this:

http://tinyurl.com/l2cvc4k

A Perfectly Good Waste of Time  

Tom Maggliozi died last month. Tom and Ray, the Car Talk guys on NPR, had the most entertaining program on radio for the past couple of decades. Luckily, the show will be in repeats for the foreseeable future.

The show couldn’t be replicated because Tom & Ray can’t be duplicated. In a politically correct world that takes itself very seriously, these guys never did.  I’ll miss them…

http://tinyurl.com/m4zead9

Next Generation Coaching  

Godec, Randall & Associates (GRA) and The Participation Company (TPC) train, coach and work with public sector and business clients on authentic public involvement; on managing tough issues and moving projects forward. We train and facilitate customized, hands-on workshops and courses related to conflict resolution, public participation, facilitation, anger and opposition management as well as risk, crisis and technical communication, presentations and collaborative decision making. We’ll help you connect with the public and grow your trust and credibility.

* Thank you for a great opportunity to learn – it is rare nowadays to walk away from a learning experience and feel enriched not only as a professional but also as a human being. Thank you for enabling a truly a powerful experience!

* I’ve heard great feedback from several staff members!! Many shared how pleased they were with your presentation and came away with great information. I couldn’t believe how fast the time went by… I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

* I just wanted to say thank you for presenting such a captivating seminar last week…I thought the material was fascinating and your presentation was compelling and succinct.

GRA and TPC customize in-house, hands-on workshops of varying lengths for a variety of public and private sector clients. Contact us for more information.

The Participation Company LLC is a strategic partner of the Center for Management Strategies (CMS), the provider of International City/County Management Association (ICMA) leading practices for local government.

Please send this newsletter to anyone that you think might find it useful. We never, ever SPAM anybody and subscribing/unsubscribing is easy.

Remember: We waste our time surfing the Worldwide Interweb so you don’t have to…

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Not So Superficial, Fail-Mail and Good People in the S%&t‏

BOO & Happy Halloween from Chicago, America! (A brief salute to Fiddler fans). I’m working in The City of Broad Shoulders this week and guess what—it’s windy and getting colder — every cliché fulfilled.

Chicago is my all-time fave major metro; it sits right next to my rural roots, (On Wisconsin!) Buddy Guy & Second City live here; it’s got a Great Lake, and it’s more than alive…NYC w/o the hype — I love it.

This is an extra-short monthly newsletter…a client project, training and travel schedules are “robust” right now. But I hope that you’ll appreciate the following few stories, and as usual, thanks for coming along.

Godec

This Story Really Isn’t As Superficial As It First Seems  

The title of the article sounds like it might have come out of Teen Beat or Cosmo. Keep in mind that there’s a book being hawked here, but the basic principles are very sound, albeit brief:

http://tinyurl.com/l4tpjf9

Email or Fail-Mail?  

Like you, I’m bombarded with email and I do, indeed, get the irony of you reading this email about email. Obviously it’s a fact of work & life and we’d better learn to make the most (and best) of it…

http://tinyurl.com/okljff8

In the S&%t  

I’ve been working recently with a public-sector client that has been under serious public and political fire at the national level. As my military buddies like to characterize it, this client is largely “in the s&%t.”

As a result, my client’s people are terrified, traumatized and many have shut down. It’s absolutely normal, understandable, forgivable…and unacceptable.

My client needs to engage these people more skillfully and compassionately so that they’re able to do their jobs. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:

http://tinyurl.com/lm7qr7c

What They Didn’t Teach You in Grad School  

Godec, Randall & Associates (GRA) and The Participation Company (TPC) train, coach and work with government, corporate and non-profit organizations on authentic public involvement; in managing tough issues and opposition, and moving decisions and projects forward.

We train and facilitate customized, hands-on workshops and courses related to conflict resolution, public participation, facilitation, anger & opposition management as well as risk, crisis and technical communication, presentations and collaborative decision making. We’ll help you connect with the people and stakeholders that you serve.

– “John was the best speaker of the workshop. He kept the audience engaged and really thinking about the message we needed to discover for back home.”
 
– “…after the great job you did with our class last week. Thanks again for the hard work you invested in making sure we had a valuable learning experience!”

– “John, your participation in the conference was invaluable and absolutely added to the success of the event! I sincerely thank you for all of the preparation that you did prior to the conference and the excellent job you did at the conference – we knew we picked the best!!”

GRA and TPC customize exclusive, in-house one-to-five day workshops for a variety of public and private sector clients. Contact us for more information.

The Participation Company LLC is a strategic partner of the Center for Management Strategies (CMS), the provider of International City/County Management Association (ICMA) leading practices for local government.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone that you think might find it useful. We never, ever SPAM anybody and subscribing/unsubscribing is easy.

Remember: We waste our time surfing the Worldwide Interweb so you don’t have to.

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Ad Libs and Your Upcoming Engagement

I’ll be out on an adventure for most of this month so this newsletter’s a little early…

I tweeted a Globe and Mail story last week that’s worth repeating here because it’s the root of what I try to do with this blog/newsletter. New research at a group of business schools reached the same conclusion that, when hiring, employers value one skill above the rest: the ability to communicate clearly. These schools rated the importance of the ability to communicate above the ability to manage by 2 to 1 margin – two to one!

Sadly, those skills are in short supply. As the volume of data and information that’s generated and delivered has exploded, skills in listening, deciphering and translating that data into what’s truly relevant has been lost in the shuffle. Organizations are moving from a top-down (command and control) culture to a flatter, inclusive way of operating. That means people have to communicate quickly and clearly, build trust and nurture relationships.

You can read the full story at http://tinyurl.com/oxtysyn and this issue’s devoted to the topic.

See you in October…I hope.

Godec

Ad Lib This  

The other day, a colleague and I were talking about the importance of thinking on your feet and, when necessary, speaking off the cuff. It’s partly a matter of developing the instinct, like finding a doorknob in the dark, so that when the occasion arises you know where to reach. We both know a lot of really smart people (some who are experts in their fields) who just can’t deal with ambiguity or communicate when they haven’t fully prepared and memorized their presentations.  So, in honor of those poor folks who come off as stilted, unapproachable, bureaucratic and boring, here are five tips for winging it without, actually, just winging it…

http://tinyurl.com/mxw4mce

And when you can prepare – which should be almost always – here are a few simple steps to make your presentation a little unforgettable:

http://tinyurl.com/ow9zdvb

And when the going get’s tough and the questions come flying, the ability to think on your feet, maintain composure and answer with skill will help you grow a nice business, community, agency and career. Here are six simple things to consider:

http://tinyurl.com/ppx6ht4

Two words…that’s all it takes:

http://tinyurl.com/lss7t6j

Engaging Your Own People  

I’ve mentioned before that we’re helping more organizations than ever to better engage their own employees. The cultures of business and government are changing (see the opening Globe and Mail story) and long-time bosses and managers need to change with it. Engaging your “Millennials” is essential; it’s the only way you’ll keep the good ones and here are ten ways to do it:

http://tinyurl.com/lg6zy75

Back in the Dark Ages, companies and even government agencies that I worked for were hardly democratic, and my old bosses would have gotten some kinda hoot out of the idea of “engaging” me and the rest of my cannon-fodder coworkers. Here are some interesting thoughts on workplace democracy:

http://tinyurl.com/k4xc3x3

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success.” Hank was an interesting guy…a bundle of contradictions but he apparently saw the value of finding, keeping, paying (a controversially high enough wage that his workers could afford to buy Fords) and engaging good people. Here’s a quick three-part argument:

http://tinyurl.com/p88npuj

Skills and Tools You’ll Use Immediately  

Godec, Randall & Associates and The Participation Company train, coach and work with government, corporate and non-profit organizations on true public involvement, managing tough issues and opposition and moving decisions and your projects forward.

We train and facilitate customized, hands-on workshops and courses related to conflict resolution, public participation, facilitation, anger and outrage management as well as risk, crisis and technical communication, presentations and collaborative decision making. We’ll show you how to better connect with the people and stakeholders that you serve.

– “John was the best speaker of the workshop. He kept the audience engaged and really thinking about the message we needed to discover for back home.”

– “…after the great job you did with our class last week.  Thanks again for the hard work you invested in making sure we had a valuable learning experience!”

– “John, your participation in the conference was invaluable and absolutely added to the success of the event!  I sincerely thank you for all of the preparation that you did prior to the conference and the excellent job you did at the conference – we knew we picked the best!!”

We do customized, exclusive, in-house one- to five-day training workshops for a variety of clients but the following courses are open to everyone. Join us!

* The new International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) Certificate course will be delivered in Chicago October 20 to 24 at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). A great class and a terrific time to be in the windy city.

* You still have time to register for the 2-Day (IAP2) Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation (EOP2) course Las Vegas on October 6-7, Austin on October 16-17 or Chicago on December 4-5.

Just click on http://www.extraordinarytrainers.com to register or call me to explore the options.

The Participation Company LLC is a strategic partner of the Center for Management Strategies (CMS), the provider of International City/County Management Association (ICMA) leading practices for local government.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone that you think might like it. We never, ever SPAM anybody and subscribing/unsubscribing is easy.

We waste our time surfing the Worldwide Interweb so you don’t have to.

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Posted in General