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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

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