Engaging Your Public

By Rod Gould and Ashley Trim

As a local government practitioner, you’ve heard a lot about public engagement during the past few years. You probably have your own public engagement success stories and your own stories about failing to properly engage residents.

These lessons learned have no doubt given you a sense of what is appreciated and works with stakeholders and what simply wastes everyone’s time. We live in an exciting era of innovation and experimentation, but there is no secret formula for public engagement.

Some new policies and approaches work in some situations (and some communities) but backfire in others. It is trial by error and by fire in some cases, but there are certain characteristics that engaged organizations share. As you take proactive steps to strengthen resident and business involvement, do you know how you measure up?

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