Monthly Archives: August 2014

How NOT to run a community consultation!

I went to my Town Council sponsored "Community Consultation" workshop this week, advertised as "Your chance to set the Vision for the new Town Planning Scheme". Being a professional facilitator of workshops and community consultations, who uses words and the syntax of words as tools of trade, I was reminded at the workshop of the ability to use careful language in a manufactured syntax to obtain a predetermined result. The workshop was formatted as a scenario exercise or game. The first part of the game was set by a video presentation that showed a vibrant town centre and an explanation that in order to achieve such a vibrant town centre whilst in competition with other, nearby "attractive" shopping and cappuccino strip town centres, we needed to increase the population. We were then led to an exercise which asked us to prioritise four ways to increase population:- 1. Using the Town's history and stories; 2. Encouraging "adventurous" out of the ordinary shops to open there; 3. Creating interesting public squares and spaces; and 4. Organising street events like markets and festivals. This was an interesting exercise and everyone played the game by discussing and ranking the options into priorities. However it occurred to me that the language had...
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OTS Management