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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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Risky Business, Optics and Underdogs

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

– Professor John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Thank you, Robin.

Godec

The Conundrum of Risk  

In Atlanta working at CDC last week I was a little surprised at how calm and routine things seemed to be there in the midst of the breathless media and online chatter about Ebola. But the fact is, in the years I’ve worked on public and environmental health issues, I’ve learned from these gifted docs and scientists that outbreaks and pandemics will happen. The only questions are which ones, where, how big and how bad. And for me, how do we get people to pay attention, change their behavior to protect themselves and quite wasting time looking for somebody to blame:

http://tinyurl.com/mrhgps3

It’s been suggested that dealing with irrational fears, rumors and superstition is a third-world problem. Think again…

http://tinyurl.com/om3p97g

And, if you’re interested in digging deeper into this discussion:

http://tinyurl.com/pdnh4xo%20

Optics- The Role of What Seems to Be True  

The League of Conservation Voters has mounted a campaign to force Nestlé to stop bottling, selling and shipping drinking water from California in light of that state’s three-year drought. This isn’t to debate the facts, policy or business wisdom of the issue but to consider how things play to public perception and credibility…

http://tinyurl.com/lrawuuk

It gets more interesting when you consider how people on either end of the political spectrum view the other end. New research published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences identified something called negativity bias that they think helps explain your crazy old uncle:

http://tinyurl.com/ly5bjls

Employee Motivation & Leadership  

Way back in an earlier life, I worked for a guy who enjoyed starting his weekly sales meeting “contest” by announcing that the “winners gets to keep their jobs.” Luckily, I wasn’t a salesman.

Keeping good people happy, productive and motivated is a very big deal for employers. The rules have changed and it looks like Maslow’s wrong:

http://tinyurl.com/njotzvq

Of all of the social media success stories, Twitter might be the Beatles or Stones of the pack. Twitter’s founder, Biz Stone (cool name, huh?) has advice for leaders today…

http://tinyurl.com/k58t3gy

Size Matters: Bullies vs. Underdogs  

This article contrasts the perception, or public relations battle between Israel and Hamas in that terribly sad and difficult situation. I’m suggesting that a similar perpetrator vs. victim principle plays out regularly between government and citizens, and businesses vs. customers in a variety of ways.

There’s a clear lesson here: consider your bully position and don’t be one or you’ll deal with the consequences…

http://tinyurl.com/pj2rxyx

The public credibility of institutions, government or business, seems to be based, at least in part, on size. Bigger isn’t better:

http://tinyurl.com/k9tm2f9

Hands-on Learning

Godec, Randall & Associates and The Participation Company train, coach and work with government, corporate and non-profit organizations on engaging the public, managing wicked 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 and outrage 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.

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

– “Thank you so much for the excellent job of facilitating and recording our meeting.  You guys are fantastic!”

– “…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!”

In addition to customized in-house workshops for our public and business clients, some courses are open to everyone. I hope you can make one of these:

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

* The 2-Day (IAP2) Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation (EOP2) course is coming to Las Vegas on October 6 & 7, Austin on October 16 & 17 and to Chicago on December 4 & 5.

Just click on www.extraordinarytrainers.com to register or contact me for more details.

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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Altrocentrics, Fools and Adults Behaving Badly

Look, I’m really glad that you’re reading this and I’m truly grateful that people seem to like this little blog. But for your sake, I hope you’re reading it sitting on a beach; next to a cooler or a campfire or in an upgraded room just down the hall from the ice machine. Wherever your happy place is, is fine. CBS says Americans give up 429 million days off every year – we’re lousy vacation-takers.  I know it’s not easy sometimes when (self-confession alert) you’re generating your own paycheck, and the “do-more-with-less” business mindset does a great job of advancing the careers of cardiac caregivers. Europeans typically take at least six weeks off every year and my Aussie pals almost never actually work (ha ha)! So go get some sand in your shorts, America!

Godec

Altrocentric vs. Egocentric  

A federal agency manager contacted me last week looking for advice on a staff engagement plan — a popular topic these days. Egos are out and engagement is in. That, in a nutshell, is the difference between old style egocentric leaders and the new and improved altrocentric leadership style that demands less power and control and engages employees, competitors and customers better.

A new study called Leadership 2030 considers how business is changing which is usually a precursor to changes in the public sector.  A lot of managers are gonna hate this:

http://tinyurl.com/kcwkgxe

Audience Connections  

I’m working with a client on a long-term, dicey and complex issue requiring the company to host a group of experts presenting technical and normally boring information to regular people. My task is to help my client communicate their information in the language of the people that they’re trying to communicate with. It’s not that it’s too hard to do…it’s convincing people who hide behind technobabble of the importance of connecting to real, affected human beings.

http://tinyurl.com/qgfaywe

Seinfeld pointed out that, just ahead of death, public speaking is most people’s number one fear. As such, you’re probably better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy. But when you connect with people, magic happens:

http://tinyurl.com/n259llj

And when you’re ready to step it up a little, consider the following…

http://tinyurl.com/o4j8mkh

Presentations are the bread & butter of this business… here’s the final sermon for this issue:

http://tinyurl.com/mxn47vd

What a Fool Believes  

Borrowing a Doobie Brothers title seems a fair way to introduce this NY Times story on a subject we’ve talked about in the past here, one that has huge implications in communicating and influencing science, policy and truth. A client of mine forwarded me this next story. At its essence, it says that providing evidence alone won’t change people’s beliefs if those beliefs are grounded in cultural and political views:

http://tinyurl.com/q3mqpyb

There’s another theory that beliefs on politically contentious topics are often rooted more in opposition to perceived attacks than anything else-an instance of “motivated reasoning.” This story was in The Atlantic…

http://tinyurl.com/mup7xxx

A friend of mine at CDC in Atlanta just shook his head when I asked him about how much damage he thought Jenny McCarthy has done to autism research and getting kids vaccinated against serious illnesses. Chalk it up to the unintended consequences of a Playmate of the Year using her celebrity status:

http://tinyurl.com/oojxzfu

Adults Behaving Badly

So often the stupidest things that people do are done in groups. My freshman year with my roommates Ritchie, Skeeter and Bugs suddenly comes to mind…but I digress.

I’m a big supporter of old-fashioned American public protest. But there are times when it goes off the rails like the recent Cliven Bundy gang showdown in Nevada or the more recent Murrieta immigration protests.  A quick explanation follows…

http://tinyurl.com/n5o8nbk

 

 

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Truthiness, Consequences & Wing Nuts‏

I was on a bike at the gym reading the paper yesterday morning (a little depressed from thinking that my plans of becoming an underwear model may never be realized) and found my horoscope with four and half stars and the comment: Don’t forget about the element of madness that should be factored into every human equation. Learning that the paper horoscope guy is a lot more sophisticated than the fortune cookie guy brightened my morning. As such, you’ll find this month’s newsletter taking various looks at risk communication, perception, engagement and other factors of human madness.

Godec

Truthiness & Consequences  

Twenty percent of adult Americans believe that vaccines cause autism. About the same number still think cell phones cause cancer. According to a recent report from the University of Chicago, 37 percent believe that the FDA withholds natural cancer cures because of drug company pressure. Add the moon landing, climate change, Area 51, gun control and the Kennedy assassination to that list of conspiracy theories and beliefs. Reason, facts, science and evidence have depressingly little to do with what too many people think.

http://tinyurl.com/oojxzfu

I probably don’t have to remind you that not everything on the Internet is true, but just in case I’ll remind you anyway. And yes, the University of Chicago study is also on the Internet.

http://tinyurl.com/na2an86

Which Wing Nut is Nuttier?  

It’s easy to place the blame on whatever side you’re not on. But, according to Politico, you would also be wrong. And yeah, I know, Politico is on the Internet.

http://tinyurl.com/kron9wb

It may appear that I’ve “jumped the shark” and gotten into politics but that’s precisely what I’m trying not to do. It’s bigger than that – it’s about ideology and hypocrisy.

http://tinyurl.com/q2f8hrj

The Question  

Spending several formative years in broadcasting with great teachers and role models gave me lots of opportunity to practice interviewing people – all kinds of interesting, dumb, mad, boring, sad, smart and scared people. I had no idea how much asking good questions would pay off later.

http://tinyurl.com/n3yopy5

So the moral of the story is that good journalists can make pretty good public involvement people and mediators — if they can stand to lose a little cynicism. Here is a useful interview story featuring a very good journalist.

http://tinyurl.com/ppqm97w

Huh?

The other critical piece is the listening part. It’s wisely said that “waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can start is not active listening.” Active listening fixes lots of sins in public involvement, resolving conflict and just connecting with your team:

http://tinyurl.com/pqa9oc8

Like anything else, you have to work at it to get good and stay proficient. This story is brief and pretty good:

http://tinyurl.com/l3ej8a7

Check this Out

I’ve done a little work on distracted driving campaigns for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) the past couple of years. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says texting and driving is now the leading cause of teen driver deaths – a huge problem! I found the following video and would like you to take a look. Tell me what you think.

http://tinyurl.com/pafwsaq

 

 

 

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