An engaged and impassioned community strengthens our democracy, but leading effective community engagement meetings has become increasingly difficult, and when derailed, can lead to chaos. Our highly polarized politics contributes to a “win-lose” mentality, limited resources heighten the stakes, and a frayed trust makes tackling public issues fraught. Designing and facilitating effective community meetings requires coolness, clarity, courage and skill, as well as a clear and effective meeting structure. This workshop applies Essential Partners’ time-tested dialogue work to community engagement settings, helping participants hold constructive public conversations.
The workshop runs from 8:30 - 4:30.
- Achieve clarity of purposes and expectations for a meeting.
- Understand and practice preparation and design for more impactful meetings.
- Learn processes for establishing constructive group norms.
- Understand how to construct “safe-enough” space for open-hearted engagement across the aisle and beyond.
- Develop confidence in your ability to facilitate through challenging moments.
As a result of this workshop, you will be equipped to:
- Design an environment for the productive discussion of divisive community problems.
- Anticipate and plan for possible problems in order to avoid disruption during the meeting.
- Facilitate through challenging moments with more confidence Diffuse “us” vs. “them” dynamics by establishing a baseline of mutual understanding.
Who might participate:
- Non-profit or institutional leaders seeking to establish constructive working relationships with between their organizations and surrounding community.
- City officials or legislative aides looking for more effective ways to plan and facilitate community meetings for sharing information and getting the public’s input.
- Facilitators wanting to refine their skillsets in order to meet the heightened emotions, and ideological differences that can emerge when the public is engaged.
- Advocates planning a community dialogue on a public issue.