One of the ongoing challenges for a P2 practitioner is to get people excited about a project, so they will give their input on its development – especially people who might not otherwise take part in the process. The solution is to take the mountain of facts and figures and find ways of grabbing people’s attention and inspiring them to give their input.
Jamie Harvie and Sam Beresky of JLA Public Involvement in Portland, Oregon, have worked on many P2 processes that involved mundane but very important subjects. The list includes transit infrastructure, a water pipeline that had to be routed through traditional Native lands and sewer stewardship.
Their recipe for making things interesting touches four basic points:
- Provide layers of information: don’t dazzle ‘em with data, but pick and choose the messages that will resonate most with your target audience (and aim for more than one target with different sets of information).
- Tell a story: anecdotes, local legends, testimonies – all bring a project home to people on a personal level.
- Create experiences that matter: come up with ways of hosting events in person or online that don’t seem like boring old open houses; include hands-on activities and opportunities for people to discuss what they’ve experienced with decision-makers and one another.
- Make it fun: think of games and other interactive experiences that convey the message and keep people engaged at the same time. Beer helps. Seriously.
Consider, for example, a comic strip for something like being kind to your sewers; animated videos to explain a situation and the proposed solution, and using a tool like Prezi to create interactive reports that can be re-purposed for different audiences without producing something new every time. And yes, it can be done on the average Public Engagement budget.
How, you ask? Watch the webinar and find out!
Also, download a fun, get-your-brain-cells-moving fortune teller tool referenced in the webinar: