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 a 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