Thursday, August 17, 2017

Engaging Your Community!

August 13, 2017 by Las Vegas Black Image Magazine  
Filed under Community

BY EVA MARTIN

EVA MARTIN

The biggest challenge for any community leader is the need to positively engage the community for involvement. It is one thing to get yourself involved in public policy and causes that serve to make your community better, and it’s another thing to inspire others to take action. The following are tips to encourage others to become active in their communities:

• Be Clear. Make sure the points you express are clear and relative to community interest.

• Be Open. Ask questions that inspire community members to respond creatively as to their solutions to correct community issues.

• Dig Deeper. Ask for rationale behind community opinions. Often the reasons behind the response are more telling and more useful than the response itself.

• Be Specific. Generic questions for engagement about a broad plan, programs, and policies anticipate too much knowledge and enthusiasm from those you wish to engage. It is your responsibility to reveal the changes you propose rather than expecting your audience to dig for them.

• Be Targeted. Unfortunately, when it is not obvious to the community how a particular group will be affected by a change, a generic question can end up targeting no one, resulting in limited conversation.

• Be Spatial. Many people have a strong affiliation with their neighborhood, town, or their favorite park. It is much easier to motivate involvement in a discussion if the question can be given a “place” of focus.

• Motivate Involvement. The passive voice is all too common in public sector report writing and this often spills over into the online environment. The active voice motivates contribution much like a good call-to-action does in an advertisement.

• Provide Context. Public policy discussions do not take place in a vacuum. Context is a key driver of both the need for the conversation and in channeling the direction that you want the conversation to take. Putting a question in context is therefore a powerful way to motivate discussions in a particular direction.

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