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