About the Workshop
An engaged community is crucial to a healthy democracy, but leading effective community conversations about difficult issues can be tough — and when public meetings go badly, they can generate mistrust, polarization, and stagnation.
From questions about public art to conflicts over racial and ethnic differences, our framework has been used to improve social cohesion, collect valuable community input, and encourage the mutual trust that is a precondition to solving problems in a democracy.
This workshop helps participants apply Essential Partners’ Reflective Structured Dialogue framework to design community meetings and facilitate constructive public conversations about difficult and divisive issues.
- To learn how EP’s Reflective Structured Dialogue framework can support more constructive public engagement;
- To apply EP’s dialogue framework to design constructive meetings that address significant differences within a community;
- To practice methods of speaking, listening, and asking questions that foster more productive public engagement;
- To learn to intervene during particularly difficult or heated moments.
As a result of this workshop, you will be equipped to:
- Design a productive public discussion of divisive community problems;
- Manage challenging moments with more confidence;
- Diffuse “us” vs. “them” dynamics in a public setting;
- Foster a more resilient community that embraces its differences and diversity of views.
Who might participate:
- Elected officials and candidates
- Campaign staff and organizers
- Municipal employees
- Civic leaders and advocates
- Nonprofit managers
- Clergy and lay religious leaders
- Community engagement professionals
Travel & Lodging
There is ample free parking in the lots outside our offices, but traffic in the area can be extremely congested. If possible, we recommend taking the MBTA Red Line to Alewife. Essential Partners' offices are a short (10 min) walk from the station.
If you are planning to travel to the Boston area for a workshop, we recommend booking a room at the adjacent Freepoint Hotel, which offers a corporate rate for our attendees. Click Here for more information.
If you must cancel, please do so as far in advance as possible. Cancellations are subject to a $25 administration fee plus an additional $25 to process credit card refunds (if you paid by credit card). To receive any refund your cancellation must be made at least 2 weeks before the course date. Essential Partners is under no obligation to offer any refund or credit if you cancel within two weeks of a workshop. If you need to cancel due to a medical emergency, your local weather conditions, or any other reason please call Sara Ostrovitz at (617) 923-1216 ext. 10.
In some instances, Essential Partners must cancel a workshop due to low enrollment, faculty illness, or weather. In the unlikely event that we have to cancel a workshop due to low enrollment, we will give you at least 2 weeks notice. If we cancel due to faculty illness or severe weather, we will contact you as far in advance as possible. If there is a severe storm warning in the area of the workshop venue, we will cancel by 4:00 pm the day before.
If the workshop is canceled, Essential Partners will issue you a full refund of the registration fee, with no additional administration fees. Essential Partners cannot be responsible for travel losses.