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Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation

People around the world are more suspicious and distrustful of large institutions than ever before. Global populations have lost trust in government, business, media, and even non-governmental organizations. People who don’t trust institutions often come to public processes upset, frustrated, and angry. Angry people can’t represent their interests very well in participative processes. Ignoring their skepticism isn’t productive. Neither is shouting over them or limiting how much they can participate.

Strong emotions and outrage can challenge public participation practitioners and decision-makers – and limit how communities can participate in public engagement processes. Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation will give you the right tools to help you work more effectively in this changing world.

Going far beyond just another conflict resolution training class, Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation helps you understand the human behavior and emotional intelligence of working with angry and cynical people in tough circumstances. Working with people, no matter what emotions they bring to the process, is foundational to the practice of public participation.

In these challenging times of environmental, health, cultural, economic, and social changes, Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation will enhance your practice and enable you to fully support your clients. The learning you take away from this course will equip you to enhance quality public participation outcomes where communities are emotional or outraged. This course will help you plan for and implement strategies you can use whenever emotions are strong. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate of completion from IAP2.

During this two-day course, you will discover:

  • Six practical strategies for managing outrage
  • New behaviours you can immediately apply in your own practice and your own organization
  • A new, more productive approach to thinking about and analyzing outrage
  • New ways to plan and implement public participation projects where people are outraged

This class is designed to help you:

  • Identify outrage and assess its causes
  • Identify and evaluate strategies to reduce outrage in public engagement
  • Select and implement strategies to reduce outrage both during planning and in the moment

By the end of the course, you will leave with a new way of thinking about and analyzing outrage. You’ll have enhanced skills, knowledge and behaviours to apply in your next public engagement challenge.

Who should take this training?

This two-day course is designed for any practitioner dealing with the tough issues facing our communities now and in the future. Anyone in communities facing complex challenges — from outreach coordinators to consultants and elected officials — will benefit by learning meaningful best practices to assess and address outrage in your public participation.

This course is based on the theories of Dr. Peter Sandman, creator of the "Risk = Hazard + Outrage" formula and a preeminent risk communication speaker and consultant. The course is highly interactive and uses a range of adult education methods including case studies, videos, public participation tools and techniques, and times set aside for personal reflection, and group discussion and application of strategies. Participants receive a student manual that will be a helpful reference and resource after the class.

Upcoming training sessions

    • 16 Feb 2022
    • (PST)
    • 24 Feb 2022
    • (PST)
    • 4 sessions
    • Zoom
    • 18

    This  training course combines the work of risk communication expert Dr. Peter Sandman with the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) core concepts for meaningful and effective public participation and stakeholder engagement. In these challenging times you need strategies and behaviours to work together more effectively when communities and stakeholders are outraged. This course is recommended for seasoned practitioners who have practical experience working with the public. The workshop is practical, hands-on and participatory with a mix of video, lecture and group exercises.

    PLEASE NOTE: International IAP2 members require a code to register. Please contact info@iap2canada.ca to obtain it.

    This online course will be offered in four, three hour segments over the week.

    Just like the face-to-face training, we expect all participants to attend all sessions listed in the event. To find out the time the training takes place in your time zone you can use this link

    Cancellation policy

    Learning Objectives

    Participants who complete this course will gain skills that result in:

    • How to identify and assess the root causes of public frustration, anger and outrage.
    • Understand 12 reasons for reactions and be better able to predict and prevent public anger.
    • Learn 6 strategies to prevent or reduce public outrage so more effective public engagement can take place.
    • Specific tools and techniques for working with the angriest people.
    • How to address internal resistance to trying new ways of engaging with the public.
    • How to ask questions and engage meaningfully with value and empathy.
    • How your attitude and behaviour impacts public anger, and how to show up more effectively.
    • A new way of thinking about public outrage, and enhanced skills, knowledge and behaviours to apply in your next public engagement challenge.

    Trainer: Stephani Roy McCallum

    Stephani Roy McCallumStephani is Chief Storm Rider at the Courageous Leadership Project where she steps into the storm of high emotion and conflict, and rides it to clearer skies. She is an internationally-recognized trailblazer who has worked on five continents facilitating tough conversations on high stakes, high emotion issues. As a trained co-active leadership coach, she brings 25 years of public engagement experience in bringing people together to build new perspectives and collaboratively create brave solutions, growing their own leadership and capacity. Steph has been the recipient of multiple awards for her work, including and IAP2 International Award for Project of the Year. Stephani sees a world where a new kind of leader is needed, willing to have brave, honest conversations about the things that matter most. When leaders show up with fierce courage, open-hearts and a deep commitment to integrity groups can move from stuck to possible. Stephani believes that brave, honest conversations are how we solve the challenges in our world, together.   

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