Welcome to the Newest NCDD Sponsoring Member: The Courageous Leadership Project

We are absolutely thrilled to welcome the Courageous Leadership Project to the Coalition as a Sponsoring Member! It is through the generous support of our members that we are able to thrive as a Coalition and work to serve you as best as possible. Huge thank you to Stephani Roy McCallum and the Courageous Leadership Project team for joining!

The Courageous Leadership Project helps people find their inner leader so they can have brave honest conversations and find solutions to the challenges they face in their lives, organizations, and communities. They offer several training opportunities to strengthen skills around having more challenging conversations and learning about the IAP2 Strategies for Public Opposition & Outrage in Public Participation.

The Courageous Leadership Project is generously offering fantastic discounts to NCDD members on their upcoming trainings, both in-person and online. There’s a special opportunity to enter to win free registration on their next month’s event, GATHER: 5 days of Brave, Honest Conversations ONLINE, happening May 13-17thWinners for this unique NCDD giveaway will be selected on Friday, April 19th, so make sure you enter ASAP!

We strongly encourage everyone to learn more the Courageous Leadership Project and these special opportunities in the post below, and explore their website here.


About The Courageous Leadership Project

At the Courageous Leadership Project we bring our expertise in leadership development, coaching and decades of experience in high stakes, high emotion engagement to create opportunities for better results. Stephani Roy McCallum is the Chief Storm Rider at the Courageous Leadership Project, where she harnesses the energy of conflict and high emotion and rides it to clearer skies.  Working around the globe we help leaders have brave, honest conversations™ about the challenges they face to find solutions – together.

Bravely leading is in you. You just need to find it. Build your skills & knowledge for Brave, Honest Conversations™ in your life, organization and community.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

ONLINE TRAININGS

Win one FREE registration to GATHER!

We’re thrilled to offer our membership the opportunity to win one FREE registration at GATHER: 5 days of Brave, Honest Conversations™ ONLINE May 13-17. Each day there will be a live webinar where Stephani Roy McCallum from the Courageous Leadership Project will walk through the day’s topic, what it is, why it matters and how to do it. You will get a chance to ask questions and get answers. At the end of each day you’ll have access to resources, exercises and additional work to dive deeper into brave, honest conversations. Click here to enter for this registration giveaway!

It takes courage and channeling a little #braveaf in your life to say yes to growing as a leader! If this sounds like an opportunity you’d be interested in, please click here to enter your name to WIN. Winner will be drawn on April 19 so don’t delay!

Watch this short video to learn more about GATHER. You can find information on the schedule, speakers, topics and more on our website.  Do you have questions? Check out our FAQs. Register here!

NCDD members receive $50 off. Use discount code NCDD50.

IN PERSON TRAININGS

Brave, Honest Conversations: Bravely leading challenging conversations

April 17-18, 2019 – Whitehorse, YT, Canada
July 18-19, 2019 – Victoria, BC, Canada

Brave, Honest Conversations™ are a way of talking together, working together and living. When we show up with courage, compassion and integrity the possibilities are endless. The world needs more leaders who dare to make a lasting difference.

It’s time to build your leadership skills – to practice courage, compassion and responsibility for impact. When you build your capacity to lead others, groups and the world around you, you create the momentum for positive change and the opportunity to move from stuck to possible. Foundational to leading others is the ability to lead yourself, to practice courage, compassion and kindness for yourself, and to make choices that allow you to bring your best self to the world. Learn new ways of being and showing up in tough conversations, and also find some new tangible, practical tools to improve your work in the world. Register here!

NCDD members receive $100 off. Use discount code NCDD100.

IAP2 Strategies for Public Opposition & Outrage in Public Participation

May 27-28, 2019 – Calgary, AB, Canada
July 16-17, 2019 – Victoria, BC, Canada

This two-day 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 engagement.

Development of this course for IAP2 was led by Stephani Roy McCallum in 2009, and an update of course materials in 2017 reflects the current context of today’s charged, polarized environment. The workshop is practical, hands-on participatory mix of video, lecture, group exercises and decades of real-world experience in engaging the public in high stakes, high conflict situations. Register here!

NCDD members receive $100 off. Use discount code NCDD100. 

FREE WEBINAR: Brave, Honest Conversations™

Some conversations are hard to have. Fear and discomfort build in your body and you avoid and procrastinate or pretend everything is fine. Sometimes you rush in with urgency, wanting to smooth things over, fix them, and make them better. Sometimes you go to battle stations, positioning the conversation so you have a higher chance of being on the “winning” side.

NONE OF THIS WORKS.

Instead, it usually makes a hard conversation harder; more divided, polarized, and disconnected from others. The more people involved, the harder the conversation can be. I believe that brave, honest conversations are how we solve the problems we face in our world – together.

In this webinar, we will cover:

    • What is a Brave, Honest Conversation™? Why have one? What can change because of a brave, honest conversation?
    • How do you have one? What do you need to think about and do?
    • How do you prepare yourself for a brave, honest conversation?

Join us on one of the following 2019 dates: March 6, June 12, July 10, and August 21. All webinars are an hour and 15 minutes long and start at noon Eastern Time. Register here!

You can learn more about The Courageous Leadership Project at www.bravelylead.com/.

Exploring the Impacts of Technology in Rewiring Democracy

As technology continues to grow at incredibly fast rates, those working to improve democratic practices are often left scrambling to keep up a with rapidly changing environment. NCDD member organization Public Agenda released the paper, Rewiring Democracy: Subconscious Technologies, Conscious Engagement, and the Future of Politics, a follow-up to the earlier-released Infogagment paper. Rewiring Democracy identifies several digital trends and each of their potential consequences on democracy. We encourage you to read the article below and find the original version on PA’s site here.


AI, Blockchain, VR, and the Complicated Future of Democracy

All kinds of changes, many of them driven by technology, affect how we live, work, vote, interact, and get information.

Too often, the people working to strengthen democracy have been caught flat-footed by the pace of new trends and innovations. All kinds of changes, many of them driven by technology, affect how we live, work, vote, interact, and get information. It’s always been difficult to understand the implications of trends in the moment, but it’s even harder today because knowledge is so vast and specialized with experts on each trend often isolated from one another, without an overarching map for everyone to see.

Rewiring Democracy: Subconscious Technologies, Conscious Engagement, and the Future of Politics is an attempt to anticipate how the next set of changes will affect democracy, map the intersections of different trends and inform how we should respond. It’s a sequel to the Infogagement report, published by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement in 2014 and re-released with a new introduction, foreword, and commentaries in 2018. The original Infogagement described trends that later erupted into controversies over “fake news,” voter disenchantment with politics, and Facebook’s abuse of user privacy.

Like Infogagement, Rewiring Democracy is based on the assumption that transformative moments often happen when trends come together—when the wires of innovation cross. Think, for example, of how the combination of personal computers, credit cards, and the internet transformed how we shop, leading in turn to dramatic changes in fields like journalism, as newspapers lost the revenue that classified ads used to bring. Well known, slowly progressing changes like the rise in literacy rates or in economic inequality might interact with new developments like blockchain or the rapidly-growing capacities of artificial intelligence (AI).

There are great challenges and potential catastrophes at these intersections, but there can also be great benefits. The intent of the paper is to begin identifying how these trends present significant dangers, as well as opportunities, for democracy.

Many of these dangers and opportunities have to do with the interplay between two major forces. One is the growth of what we call “subconscious technologies,” driven by the new capacity of AI to make decisions and predictions, most of which are unknown to most of us, based on the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data we now generate every day. The other is the increasing determination among citizens to make their actions and opinions matter in public life, an impulse we are calling “conscious engagement.” These two forces are rampant, and the ways in which they conflict with or complement one another may be critical to the future of politics and democracy.

To explore these forces, we relied on expert interviews, conceptual mapping, and a broad-based systemic analysis to gauge the force of different trends, understand their potential implications, and show how they connect and build on one another. The experts we spoke with include:

  • Jaimie Boyd, Director of Open Government, Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Canada
  • Peter Eckart, Data Across Sectors for Health, Illinois Public Health Institute
  • Allison Fine, author, Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age
  • Nigel Jacob, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston
  • David Lazer, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University
  • Josh Lerner, Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Peter Levine, Academic Dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
  • Abhi Nemani, Ethos Labs
  • Darrell West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies, Brookings
  • Ethan Zuckerman, Director, Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

We also hope that this paper serves as an antidote for what seems to be the prevailing sentiment about the fate of democracy: deepening frustration and even resignation that our political system is ineffective and unpopular, without serious attention to how that system could be changed.

Collectively, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing about democracy, as if we were standing at the bedside of a slowly declining patient. We know frustration with American politics is higher than ever before. Trust in government and other public institutions has been ebbing for decades, and it has now reached unprecedented lows. Election after election, voters of both parties are attracted to “outsider” candidates who promise to “change the system.” The trends we describe in Rewiring Democracy bring with them tremendous implications, and they should prompt us to think more carefully about how people interact with institutions and with one another. They can help us decide how we might redesign democracy so that it fits the new expectations and capacities of citizens.

You can find the original version of this article on the Public Agenda blog at www.publicagenda.org/blogs/ai-blockchain-vr-and-the-complicated-future-of-democracy.

New Jobs & Internships in the Dialogue & Deliberation Field

Did you know that every week we compile the hottest jobs and internships related to dialogue, deliberation, civic tech, and public engagement work?! We work to stay up on the most recent opportunities and send them out at the beginning of the week on our Making-A-Living listserv.

While the Making-A-Living listserv is a benefit of being an NCDD member, we have been finding such a robust line-up of jobs and internships that we wanted to lift these up here on the blog. If you’d like to receive these weekly updates and are an NCDD member, sign up for the Making-A-Living listserv here. If you are not a member of NCDD, then we strongly encourage you to join! Learn more about the additional benefits of being a member by clicking here.

Remember if your org is hiring or seeking interns, to let us know by sending the postings to keiva[at]ncdd[dot]orgGood luck to all applicants!


Your Weekly D&D Jobs & Internship List: April 8, 2019

*NEW – The City of Fort Collins (Colorado) is hiring for two D&D related positions.

  • Public Engagement Specialist – read more
  • Public Engagement Specialist (resource development and fundraising) – read more

*NEW – CD&P looking to hire a Public Engagement Specialist. Read more here.

*NEW – The Center for Election Science is seeking a Director of Campaigns and Advocacy (Entirely Remote/Virtual Position). Read more: https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit-job/8e3c2895a8544153861abc34a268f0e2-director-of-campaigns-and-advocacy-entirely-remotevirtual-position-the-center-for-election-science-redding

Democracy Fund is hiring for several positions below (in DC) – read more: https://www.democracyfund.org/page/jobs

  • *NEW Accounting Manager
  • Director of People
  • Team Coordinator, Public Square Program
  • Senior Advisor Government Accountability
  • Senior Associate, Cybersecurity Policy
  • Senior Associate, Public Square Program
  • Staff Accountant
  • Communications and Network Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Elections Program Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Governance Program Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Public Square Program Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Strategy, Impact, and Learning Internship (Summer 2019)

Knight Foundation looking to hire for several positions… Read more: https://knightfoundation.org/about/employment/

  • *NEW Executive Assistant to the VP of Journalism
  • Assistant to the Vice President/Communities and Impact

*NEW – The University System of New Hampshire is seeking a Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Assistant. Read more: https://jobs.usnh.edu/postings/32202

**ICYMI – below are the positions we shared recently!

SFU Public Square is recruiting for Spring 2019 Event Volunteers (Vancouver, BC). There are opportunities between April 10-18th! Read more: http://www.sfu.ca/publicsquare/students/volunteer-program.html

Change Research is seeking a part-time Operations and Sales Support Specialist in their Berkeley, CA office. Read more here.

RepresentUS is hiring for several positions – read more: https://represent.us/careers/

  • Associate Administrative Director
  • Digital Content Producer
  • National Media Strategist
  • Online Campaigner
  • VP of Development
  • Communications Intern (Summer 2019)
  • Digital Campaigns Intern (Summer 2019)
  • Law Clerk (Summer 2019)
  • Organizing Intern (Summer 2019)
  • Political Intern (Summer 2019)
  • Statewide Campaign Manager
  • Statewide Field Director
  • Unrig 2019 Local Consultant

Democracy Works has several positions and internships available (various locations). Read more: https://www.democracy.works/current-openings

  • Chief Development Officer

Generation Citizen is hiring for several positions – read more: https://generationcitizen.org/join-us/careers-internships/

  • Senior Director of Development Strategy (in either San Francisco, New York, or Boston)
  • Program Associate (in NYC)
  • Development OneStar VISTA (in Austin, TX)
  • The FAO Schwarz Fellowship (in Boston, MA)

Race Forward looking to hire for several positions (various locations). Read more: https://www.raceforward.org/about/employment

  • GARE West Project Manager

Net Impact runs a jobs-internship board, find it: https://www.netimpact.org/jobs.

Democracy Fund’s electiononline has LOTS of positions in various cities across the country. Read more: https://electionline.org/jobs-marketplace/

Careers in Government has several engagement & communication-related opportunities. Use the keyword search at https://www.careersingovernment.com/.

April Tech Tuesday and the Weekly Online Event Roundup

Save the date! Yesterday, we announced our April TechTuesday featuring Ethelo for April 23rd at 11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern. Register for this free call and learn more about this digital platform which works to create better outcomes through participatory decision making and helps stakeholders work through complex issues.

This week’s roundup features webinars from NCDD member orgs  MetroQuest, National Issues Forums Institute, Bridge Alliance, and Living Room Conversations; and a reminder to consider hosting or joining one of the many events happening during the National Week of Conversation, happening this Friday, April 5th -13th. We also have online events from Campus Compact, International Associate for Public Participation, and International Association of Facilitators.

NCDD’s online D&D event roundup is a weekly compilation of the upcoming events happening in the digital world related to dialogue, deliberation, civic tech, engagement work, and more! Do you have a webinar or other digital event coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know in the comments section below or by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Online D&D Events: Campus Compact, Nat’l Week of Conversations, IAP2, MetroQuest, NIFI, IAF, Bridge Alliance, LRC, & April NCDD Tech Tuesday featuring Ethelo

Campus Compact webinar – Integrating Civic Outcomes Across a Major or Program: Curriculum design and mapping for civic learning

Thursday, April 4th
12 pm Pacific, 3 pm Eastern

In this webinar attendees will focus on identifying, articulating, and mapping civic learning and developmental outcomes (civic identity, civic-mindedness, civic agency, civic literacy, intercultural competency, etc.) for their program of study or major. A curriculum map is a tool to assure the content of a program of study or major is being presented and assessed, all content is linked to learning goals (e.g. institutional, accreditor), and that content is sufficient to reach learning and developmental goals. A curriculum mapping exercise can show gaps in learning, overlaps in content, and indicate where weaknesses or opportunities can and should be addressed.

REGISTER: https://compact.org/event/integrating-civic-outcomes-across-major-program-curriculum-design-mapping-civic-learning/

National Week of Conversation Happening April 5th-13th

NWOC is a bold annual occasion when people with diverse perspectives #ListenFirst to understand. Through in-person and virtual conversations exploring any topic of interest, people of all stripes intentionally convene with the goal of mending our frayed social fabric and revitalizing America together. We are encouraging everyone and anyone to reach out to neighbors, family and friends, and form your own conversations. To connect with this sweeping cross country movement, you can host or join a conversation during NWOC 2019, April 5-13. Use the #ListenFirst hashtag to invite others!

LEARN MOREhttp://ncdd.org/29312

IAP2 Monthly Webinar: Victoria Encore – “Creating Communications And P2 Roadmaps”

Tuesday, April 9th
11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern

P2 and Communications are closely related and yet not the same. Understanding the differences for these disciplines along with the overlaps can help us to do both more successfully. This webinar — a reprise from the session at the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference in September — looks at the way we design programs of communications and P2 that are truly integrated and play to the strengths of each discipline. You’ll learn how to create a roadmap for your communications and P2 planning that illustrates how they come together and when they diverge. Walk away with a tool that you can use for your own practice to enhance both your P2 and communications practices.

REGISTER: https://iap2usa.org/event-3167774

MetroQuest webinar – Celebrating Women | Balanced Engagement for Equitable Plans 

Wednesday, April 10th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (APA AICP CM)
Complimentary (FREE)

Online tools are a critical part of the public engagement toolbox. This webinar will help you optimize your online engagement for the best results. MetroQuest has become the most widely used online public engagement software and it’s time to learn from the best performing case studies. You’ll learn the critical success factors to help you replicate the exceptional results that agencies and firms have been able to achieve – unprecedented levels of participation, broad demographic reach, informed public input, and actionable results. This comprehensive session is the fastest way to get up-to-date.

REGISTER: http://go.metroquest.com/Optimizing-Online-Engagement-with-MetroQuest-2019-04-10.html

National Issues Forums Institute Deliberation Day

Wednesday, April 10th
Forums start at: 10am ET, 12:30p ET, 4p ET, 9p ET.

Join us on Deliberation Day, for four back-to-back Common Ground for Action (CGA) online deliberative forums during the National Week of Conversation. In each forum, we’ll be talking about the new NIFI issue guide “A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want?”.

REGISTER: http://ncdd.org/29451

*NIFI is also holding several college student CGA forum series during the National Week of Conversation, that we encourage folks to participate in! Learn more here.

International Association of Facilitators webinar – IAF Methods Library

Wednesday, April 10th
3 am Pacific, 6 am Eastern

Come and join us to learn more about one of the most practical resources the IAF has to offer: The IAF Methods Library. This library is a compilation of methods, activities and exercises curated and carefully reviewed.

REGISTERwww.iaf-world.org/site/events/webinars

Bridge Alliance webinar – Peer Learning Session: The Fundamentals of Fundraising with Take Back Our Republic
*this webinar is for Bridge Alliance members only – learn more here

Thursday, April 11th
11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern

The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is proud to host its next Peer Learning Session with Whitney Armentor of Take Back Our Republic! On April 11th @ 2 PM EST, Whitney will be covering the one subject that every non-profit is interested in — how to bring in funding. Specifically, Whitney will be teaching “The Fundamentals of Fundraising.” I’ll let her explain further: “Does the idea of asking for money make you break out in a sweat? Does the word “fun” being in fundraising seem wrong to you. Join us for a webinar on April 11th to learn how raising money doesn’t have to be intimidating. We’ll be discussing the demographics and science of giving, how the donor cycle works, and other tips and tricks to the trade to help you feel more confident when making the ask. “

RSVP for this peer session through the Bridge Alliance site member page sign-in.

Living Room Conversations webinar – Tribalism 101: Next Door Strangers

Saturday, April 13th
12:30 pm Pacific, 3:30 pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Tribalism. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include: Name one or more groups you feel at home or strongly identify with (where you find a sense of belonging and/or feel stronger together). What generalizations do you make about other groups? How do you evaluate or check the validity of your generalizations, if at all? How important is it to you that your generalizations are accurate? Some groups come together based on sharing a common culture, vision, or enemy. What is the commonality for your group? What need does your group fulfill in your life?
. Some of the questions explored include: What norms do you follow when expressing your opinion? I.e. do you hold back, attempt to persuade others, “let it fly” or ??? What do you consider hate speech? What rules or norms should there be at colleges and universities?

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-tribalism-101-next-door-strangers-5/

SAVE THE DATE: NCDD Tech Tuesday featuring Ethelo

Tuesday, April 23rd
11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern

Ethelo helps their clients to offer more transparency and participation on the hottest public issues in a way that creates better outcomes and stronger buy-in. Their participatory decision platform has been used by all levels of government as well as the private and non profit sector ensure inclusive, fair processes and defuse opposition. In this webinar, we will be joined by John Richardson, founder and CEO of Ethelo. John will give a quick overview of the software and walk through some real-world examples of how its been used by different clients to engage stakeholders in solving contentious, real-life problems. Read more in the blog post here. Don’t miss out – register today to secure your spot!

REGISTER: http://ncdd.org/29489

Using Our Superpowers and Engaging Curiosity

Our ability to suspend our judgments and engage our curiosity can have powerful ramifications in our personal lives and in the larger society. NCDD member Debilyn Molineaux discussed how our curiosity can be one of our many superpowers in the article she wrote, Rush to Curiosity — Judge Later, shared on the Bridge Alliance blog and reposted from AllSides. If you are looking for a place to get some conversational practice to strengthen your curiosity, then we recommend folks participate in the National Week of Conversation kicking off later this week. You can read the article below and find the original version on BA’s site here.


Rush to Curiosity — Judge Later

We’ve all done it. We see or hear something (like a news story or meme/tweet) and are outraged — we MUST respond. We. Can. Not. Let. It. Go. Unchallenged.

Besides, we know we are smarter than whoever is offending us, right? (Cue music of self-righteousness.)

Whew. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about it! I’m not often caught up in outrage these days, but when I am, it may take me days to calm down again. And there is so much to be outraged about — from dehumanization to nasty rhetoric to all manner of injustice. It feels more dramatic and heightened than ever before.

So I’m curious — what would happen if we looked a little deeper, both into ourselves and into our society? Outrage isn’t part of who I want to be. What about you?

Our rush to judgment is biological. Our survival as early humans was not certain. Our judgement served us — protecting lives, families and communities. Our quick judgement was required. Is our personal and individual survival still at stake on social media? In our daily lives? Sometimes. Most often not.

Many people are living on the social or financial edge. So when we flood our brains with images via social media and the news, we react from a place of survival. As a result, our country experiences a collective hair trigger, both metaphorically and literally. Our fear means we will shoot to kill (with guns or with words) instead of pausing to check our judgement for possible errors. Pausing could literally save lives.

We seem to have forgotten our superpower of curiosity.

Curiosity is the mindset we use to:

  1. Explore and have adventures
  2. Discover new things
  3. Create beauty
  4. Experience wonder and awe
  5. Question what we see

Wouldn’t our lives be better if we employed more curiosity? Wouldn’t our country be better? I think so. It’s my daily aspiration and choice. What is yours?

What we do next will matter a lot. We can pull the trigger and respond with outrage. Or, we can hit “pause” and engage our curiosity to research if our anger is justified. Most often, it is not. Most of what we hear or see has an aspect of truth, but is far from the whole Truth. Most often, facts are selected and an interpretation is presented to provoke a fearful response in us. As a people, fear makes us more susceptible to manipulation.

The good news is we have the superpower of curiosity within us. And with practice, our ability to use it gets stronger. It’s easy! Once the “fear button” is pushed, stop and ask:

  1. Why should I be afraid right now?
  2. Who wants me to be afraid and what do they get out of it?
  3. What is the rest of the story?
  4. What are the facts and what is the interpretation of the facts?
  5. What can I do about this that would break the spell of fear for myself and others?
  6. How can I contribute in a positive way today?
  7. What is the best use of my time?

And here’s the real secret to curiosity. Even if we decide we should be afraid, there’s still time to use our judgement and act. But the same cannot be said of judging first and being curious second. Curiosity provides more options for our future. Use your superpower!

Rush to curiosity. Judge later.

Debilyn Molineaux is a transformation facilitator. She works with visionaries and movements in support of a new national and global social contract focused on personal dignity and sovereignty. Her work highlights the relationships between individuals, institutions and governments for conscious transformation. Debilyn is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Bridge Alliance, representing over 90 organizations. She also co-founded Living Room Conversations and National Conversation Project where people can learn skills to mend the frayed fabric of our nation. She has a Center bias.

You can find the original version of this article on the Bridge Alliance site at www.bridgealliance.us/rush_to_curiosity_judge_later.

Finalists Announced for 2019 All-America City Award

Is your city on the path to becoming an awarded All-America City? The National Civic League, one of our partner organizations, recently announced the finalists for the prestigious All-America City Award! This year’s award theme seeks to recognize the communities working to improve health equity in their cities. These finalists exemplify some of the most impactful and innovative civic engagement efforts happening in our cities, who are working to address local community issues around health equity. Winners will be announced the 70th Annual All-America City Awards and Conference at the end of June. You can read the announcement below and find the original version of this on the NCL site here.


2019 All-America City Award Finalists

Announcing This Years’ Finalists! These 20 communities get the chance to be named an All-America City

The All-America City awards are an awards ceremony and networking event unlike any other! Through concrete examples, interactive discussions, and finalist presentations – you will walk away with the knowledge, skills, contacts, and inspiration you need to better strengthen your community.

The award, given to 10 communities each year, celebrates and recognizes neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties, tribes and regions that engage residents in innovative, inclusive and effective efforts to tackle critical challenges.

2019 All-America City Award Finalists

in alphabetical order by city:

Battle Creek, Michigan

Clinton, North Carolina

Cornelius, Oregon

Doral, Florida

Dubuque, Iowa

Edinburg, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Gothenburg, Nebraska

Hallandale Beach, Florida

Livingston County, New York

Millcreek, Utah

Mission, Texas

Ontario, California

Pasco, Washington

Rancho Cordova, California

Rock Hill, South Carolina

San Antonio, Texas

Sumter, South Carolina

West Hollywood, California

Wichita, Kansas

“These finalist communities are building local capacity to solve problems and improve their quality of life. The National Civic League is honored to recognize these communities, and views their efforts as critical in addressing the challenge to communities issued by the 1968 Kerner Commission, ‘to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens – urban and rural, white, black, Spanish surname, American Indians, and every minority group.’” – The National Civic League’s President, Doug Linkhart

You can find the original version of this announcement on the NCL site at www.nationalcivicleague.org/2019-finalists/.

NIFI Events Happening During Next Week’s NWOC

In case you haven’t heard, next week kicks off the second annual National Week on Conversation (NWOC), an intentional week dedicated to elevating conversations across the nation to build deeper connections and relationships within our society. Our friends at the National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD member organization, shared several opportunities happening during NWOC that we want to encourage our network to participate in! During NWOC, there will be a full week of Common Ground for Action (CGA) deliberative online forums specifically for college students and on April 10th will be Deliberation Day, which will include 4 CGA forums back to back to encourage people to get talking together. You can read the announcement below and explore the upcoming events on NIFI’s site here.


NWOC Deliberation Day and NWOC College-student CGA Forums

College student CGA forum series
Like the idea of having your students deliberate but want to expose them to views and voices beyond your campus? Join us for a week of Common Ground for Action (CGA) online forums with students across the country deliberating on the new NIF issue guide “A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want?”  Forums will be organized to maximize geographic and campus diversity.

Dates and times: Monday April 8th @ 5p ET/2p PST; Tuesday April 9th @ 10a ET/7a PST; Thursday April 11th @ 7p ET/4p PST; Friday April 12th @ 12:30p ET/9:30a PST; Saturday April 13th @ 4p ET/1p PST:

For more information and to register: https://www.nifi.org/en/events/college-student-house-divided-cga-national-week-conversation

Deliberation Day
Join us on Deliberation Day, Wednesday April 10th for four back-to-back Common Ground for Action (CGA) online deliberative forums during the National Week of Conversation.  In each forum, we’ll be talking about the new NIFI issue guide “A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want?”. Forums start at: 10am ET, 12:30p ET, 4p ET, 9p ET.

If you’re new to online deliberation, Common Ground for Action is a simple, but sophisticated platform for deliberation that allows small groups to learn more about an issue, examine different options for action, weigh tradeoffs, and identify common ground, all with beautiful visuals that let participants see their conversation evolve in real time. It’s free to use.

For more information and to register:

April 10th @ 10a ET/7a PST: https://www.nifi.org/en/events/deliberation-day-cga-forum-1-house-divided

April 10th @ 12:30p ET/9:30a PST: https://www.nifi.org/en/events/deliberation-day-cga-forum-2-house-divided

April 10th @ 4p ET/1p PST: https://www.nifi.org/en/events/deliberation-day-cga-forum-3-house-divided

April 10th @ 9p ET/6p PST: https://www.nifi.org/en/events/deliberation-day-cga-forum-4-house-divided

Find all the upcoming NIFI events at www.nifi.org/en/events.

Online D&D Events This Week and More About NWOC

This week’s roundup features webinars from NCDD member orgs Living Room Conversations, National Issues Forums Institute, and Bridge Alliance, from Campus Compact, as well as, a reminder to consider hosting or joining one of the many events happening during the upcoming National Week of Conversation, from April 5th -13th.

NCDD’s online D&D event roundup is a weekly compilation of the upcoming events happening in the digital world related to dialogue, deliberation, civic tech, engagement work, and more! Do you have a webinar or other digital event coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know in the comments section below or by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Online D&D Events From: LRC, NIFI, Bridge Alliance, Campus Compact, Nat’l Week of Conversations

Living Room Conversations webinar – Free Speech, Hate Speech and Campus Life

Wednesday, March 27th
1:30 pm Pacific, 4:30 pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Free Speech, Hate Speech and Campus Life. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include: What norms do you follow when expressing your opinion? I.e. do you hold back, attempt to persuade others, “let it fly” or ??? What do you consider hate speech? What rules or norms should there be at colleges and universities?

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-free-speech-hate-speech-and-campus-life/

Living Room Conversations webinar – Social Equity

Saturday, March 30th
11:30 am Pacific, 2:30 pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Social Equity. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include: What does the concept of “social equity” mean to you? Are there “social equity” concerns in your community? If so, what are they? If not, should there be? When it comes to achieving social equity, do your values line up with the redistribution of wealth and resources? Is everyone entitled to a certain quality and standard of living?

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-social-equity-2/

National Issues Forums Institute – March CGA Forum Series: America’s Energy Future

Saturday, March 30th
4 pm Pacific, 7 pm Eastern

Join us in March for a Common Ground for Action forum on “America’s Energy Future” We’ll be talking about how to fix our broken political system in three different options: (1) Produce the Energy We Need to Maintain Our Way of Life: We must produce more of the energy we need, while making sure that as much imported energy as possible comes from stable, friendly countries, such as Canada; (2) Put More Renewables and Clean Energy Sources into the Mix: We need to find and use more sources of renewable energy. And, because we will inevitably have to move to renewables at some point, we should start down that path now; and (3) Find Ways to Use Less Energy: Energy produced by fossil fuels will, eventually, run out and, in the meantime, we continue to do great damage to the air, water, and earth that sustain us. If you haven’t had a chance to review the issue guide, you can find a downloadable PDF here.

REGISTER: www.nifi.org/en/events/march-cga-forum-series-america%E2%80%99s-energy-future

Bridge Alliance #DemocracyChat [on Twitter]

Tuesday, April 2nd
2 pm Pacific, 5 pm Eastern

On April 2nd, @BrdgAllianceUS will ask supporters questions on Youth Engagement. The event, titled #DemocracyChat, will give you and anybody else who is interested in this topic to have the opportunity to connect with Bridge Alliance leaders and become part of the conversation. So make sure to follow @BrdgAllianceUS and use the hashtag #DemocracyChat once the questions are revealed next Tuesday at 5pm Eastern.

Campus Compact webinar – Integrating Civic Outcomes Across a Major or Program: Curriculum design and mapping for civic learning

Thursday, April 4th
12 pm Pacific, 3 pm Eastern

In this webinar attendees will focus on identifying, articulating, and mapping civic learning and developmental outcomes (civic identity, civic-mindedness, civic agency, civic literacy, intercultural competency, etc.) for their program of study or major. A curriculum map is a tool to assure the content of a program of study or major is being presented and assessed, all content is linked to learning goals (e.g. institutional, accreditor), and that content is sufficient to reach learning and developmental goals. A curriculum mapping exercise can show gaps in learning, overlaps in content, and indicate where weaknesses or opportunities can and should be addressed.

REGISTER: https://compact.org/event/integrating-civic-outcomes-across-major-program-curriculum-design-mapping-civic-learning/

National Week of Conversation Happening April 5th-13th

NWOC is a bold annual occasion when people with diverse perspectives #ListenFirst to understand. Through in-person and virtual conversations exploring any topic of interest, people of all stripes intentionally convene with the goal of mending our frayed social fabric and revitalizing America together. We are encouraging everyone and anyone to reach out to neighbors, family and friends, and form your own conversations. To connect with this sweeping cross country movement, you can host or join a conversation during NWOC 2019, April 5-13. Use the #ListenFirst hashtag to invite others!

LEARN MORE: http://ncdd.org/29312

Celebrating Women Who Are Making Democracy Stronger

This week marks the close of March and Women’s History Month, which is an intentional time to lift up the vital contributions women have given to history and society. It is in this spirit of celebration and honor, we share this piece from the Democracy Fund, Celebrating Women Who Are Making Democracy Stronger, written by Anne Gleich, Jessica Harris, and Jessica Mahone. The article offers an incredible list of phenomenal women across the nation working to improve our election systems, political representation, journalism, and who are leading efforts to build bridges across divisions and combat hate. Shout out to Shari Davis of NCDD member org The Participatory Budgeting Project who was mentioned for her work! We highly encourage folks to learn more about the work of these powerful women and to join us in congratulating them on their hard work and impactful accomplishments! Read the article below and find the original on Democracy Fund’s blog here.


Celebrating Women Who Are Making Democracy Stronger

In the first presidential proclamation celebrating women’s contributions to United States history, President Reagan observed: “American women of every race, creed and ethnic background helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways … Their diverse service is among America’s most precious gifts.”

As pioneers, teachers, mothers, soldiers, journalists, inventors, lawmakers, laborers and so many other roles, women have and continue to make vital contributions to American economic, political, and social life. Throughout our history, women have not only advocated to secure their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but were also early leaders in the abolitionist, temperance, mental health, labor, and social reform movements, as well as the modern civil rights movement. It is not hyperbole to say that the United States has been transformed by these generations of women, and our democracy has been strengthened through their courage, creativity, and persistence.

As we commemorate Women’s History Month at Democracy Fund, we also want to take some time to celebrate our incredible women-led and women-focused grantees who today are continuing this long tradition of public service and leadership.

Women are leading efforts to improve our elections and make sure every vote counts.

At Democracy Fund, we believe that voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. Through our Elections Program, we are proud to support many innovative American women who are leading efforts to ensure our elections are free, fair, accessible, and secure.

Tianna Epps Johnson, founder of the Center for Technology and Civic Life, is building free and low-cost tech tools to help local election officials better engage with their communities and modernize elections. Electionline, run by Editor-in-Chief Mindy Moretti, is providing news and information about election administration and reform across all 50 states and has created a hub for elections officials to network, learn from each other, and collaborate on ways to improve the voting process.

When it comes to accessibility, many Americans still face barriers that prevent them from participating in the election process. Michelle Bishop and the National Disability Rights Network are educating election officials, equipment vendors, advocates, and the public on the need for fully accessible elections. Terry Ao Minnis, Democracy Fund Senior Fellow and Director of the Census and Voting programs at Asian Americans for Advancing Justice, is working to ensure a fair and accurate Census so that all Americans receive the resources and assistance they need to participate in our democracy. And Whitney Quesenbery and Dana Chisnell at the Center for Civic Design are bringing user experience principles to the design of forms and tools that will make voting easier for all voters. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg at CIRCLE at Tufts University and the historic League of Women Voters, under the leadership of Virginia Kase, are innovating new ways to inform and engage women voters across the political spectrum.

Jennifer Morrell, a former Colorado election official, is working with state election officials to develop and implement new testing and auditing procedures to ensure votes are counted correctly, and results are reported accurately. And Mari Dugas and the Cyber Security Project and Defending Digital Democracy has published several playbooks to help campaign and election officials defend themselves against cyberattacks and information operations aimed at undermining trust in the American election system.

Women from both sides of the aisle are working together to create a Congress that looks more like America.

Even though we just saw a historic election cycle where a record-setting number of women ran for elected office and won, we still have a long way to go until women are fully represented in the United States. That is why, through our Governance Program, Democracy Fund is proud to support many leaders and organizations that are working to equip women with the skills they need to participate in politics, run for office, and lead once elected.

ReflectUS, a nonpartisan coalition working to increase the number of women in office and achieve equal representation across the racial, ideological, ethnic, and geographic spectrum, is fostering collaboration among seven of the nation’s leading training organizations to help equip more women to run, win, and serve. The Women’s Public Leadership Network aims to increase the number of women under consideration for political and government-related appointments and is growing a network and support system for conservative women who are interested in running for elected office or participating in our political system. Latinas Lead, a new program from The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, helps current Latina state legislators scale the leadership ranks in their State Capitols, as well as recruit potential Latina candidates for state-level office.

Once women are elected, the National Foundation of Women Legislators provides resources and opportunities to develop leadership skills and build professional and personal relationships across the aisle through regular conferences, state outreach, educational materials, and more. The Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, lead by Cindy Hall and a bipartisan board of female former legislators, has been bringing women policymakers together across party lines to advance issues of importance to women and their families for over twenty years. With our support, they have also launched several programs to foster women’s leadership on Capitol Hill through the Congressional Women’s Caucus and the Women Chiefs of Staff Program. We are also supporters of the Congressional Women’s Softball Game— a yearly event to foster bipartisan relationships between women Members of Congress and their counterparts in the D.C. Press Corps.

Women journalists are holding our leaders accountable and creating opportunities for the next generation of reporters.

Women play a vital role in holding leaders accountable once they’ve been elected. Although the majority of journalism and communications graduates are women, the majority of newsroom workers, particularly leaders, are men. Holding leaders accountable to all Americans requires a news industry that is inclusive and represents all communities, which is why, through our Public Square Program, we are proud to support organizations and leaders that are working to change America’s newsrooms and create new resources to inform and serve their communities.

By pioneering innovative new methods that newsrooms can use to better listen to and collaborate with the communities they serve, Bettina Chang at CityBureau and Sarah Alvarez and an all-woman staff at Outlier Media are rethinking how journalism is done. The Obsidian Collection, led by Angela Ford, is working to promote the importance of Black media in the United States, preserve the stories of Black communities through archiving, and build a blueprint for future generations in Black media.

Founded by Nikole Hannah JonesThe Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting is dedicated to increasing the number of and retaining reporters and editors of color in the field of investigative reporting by providing low-cost regional trainings in the use of advanced technology, open records laws, advanced interviewing techniques and other investigative techniques. The Ida B. Wells Society partners with organizations such as the National Association for Black JournalistsInvestigative Reporters and Editors, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide access to journalists and aspiring journalists of color who want to sharpen their investigative reporting skills and broaden their professional networks.

Take the Lead’s 50 Women Can Change the World in Journalism training program harnesses the collective power of women in journalism to build a more just and equal world, advance their careers, and work together to re-envision journalism. According to co-founder Gloria Feldt, Take the Lead’s goal is “nothing less than gender parity by 2025.”

Women are leading efforts to combat hate in America and build bridges across our divides.

Like many who care about the health of our political system, we at Democracy Fund have been alarmed by increasing tribalism and extremism across the United States, including the implementation of policies targeting immigrant and minority communities and the rise in hate-crimes against communities of color, and Jewish, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities. We’re partnering with leaders and organizations that are working to ensure the resilience and safety of targeted communities through our Special Project on Fostering a Just and Inclusive Society.

Grantees like Sherrilyn Ifill at the NAACP-LDFKristen Clarke at the Lawyers Committee for Civil RightsMarielena Hincapie at the National Immigration Law Center, and Aarti Kohli at the Asian Law Caucus are leading efforts to protect those whose civil rights and safety are endangered in this volatile political moment. Purvi Shah and Movement Law Lab are incubating projects that combine law and community organizing to protect, defend, and strengthen racial justice movements. To inform national conversations, Meira Neggaz and Dahlia Mogahed at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding provide case studies and data on the day-to-day challenges many Muslims face, as well as actionable recommendations for breaking the structural barriers that hinder the American Muslim community from full inclusion and participation. And Samar Ali is leading the Millions of Conversations campaign to engage communities across the country in changing the narrative about Muslims in America.

In this blog, we could only highlight a few of the remarkable women leaders whose organizations, programs, and projects Democracy Fund is proud to support. We hope you’ll take some time to explore the complete list below. By working to improve our elections, hold our government accountable, combat hate, and open doors for the next generation, these women are making their mark on American history right now—and our democracy will be stronger because of them.

ELECTIONS

Bonnie AllenChicago Lawyers’ Committee

Pam AndersonConsultant for Voter Centric Election Administration

Michelle BishopNational Disability Rights Network

Mitchell BrownCapacity and Governance Institute

Jamie ChesserNational States Geographic Information Council

Dana ChisnellCenter for Civic Design

Kristen ClarkeLawyers Committee for Civil RIghts

Lisa DanetzNational Voter Registration Act Compliance Consultant

Mari DugasBelfer Center Cybersecurity and Defending Digital Democracy

Tiana Epps Johnson, Center for Technology and Civic Life

Rebecca GreenWilliam & Mary Law School eBenchbook

Astrid Garcia OchoaFuture of California Elections

Kathleen HaleCapacity and Governance Institute

Karen Hobert FlynnCommon Cause

Shanna Hughey, ThinkTennessee

Sharon JarvisMoody College of Communications, University of Texas

Virginia Kase, League of Women Voters

Kei Kawashima-GinsbergCIRCLE at Tufts University

Kate KrontirisVoter Turnout consultant

Nsombi LambrightOne Voice

Susan LernerCommon Cause New York

Amber McReynoldsVote at Home

Gretchen Macht, RI VOTES at University of Rhode Island

Mimi MarzianiTexas Civil Rights Project

Terry Ao MinnisAsian Americans for Advancing Justice

Mindy MorettiElectionline

Jennifer MorrellRisk-Limiting Audits consultant

Katy Owens HublerCommon Data and Elections Process Model consultant

Katy PetersDemocracy Works

Wendy QuesenberyCenter for Civic Design

Ashley SpillaneImpactual

Wendy UnderhillNational Conference of State Legislatures

GOVERNANCE

Erica BernalNALEO Educational Fund

Danielle BrianProject On Government Oversight

Louise Dube, iCivics

Mindy FinnEmpowered Women

Sylvia Golbin GoodmanAndrew Goodman Foundation

Rosalind GoldNALEO Educational Fund

Dr. Mary GrantEdward M. Kennedy Institute

Cindy HallWomen’s Congressional Policy Institute

Cherie HarderTrinity Forum

Marci HarrisPopVox

Dr. Carla HaydenLibrary of Congress

Audrey HensonCollege to Congress

Lorelei Kelly, Beeck Center

Sheila KrumholzCenter for Responsive Politics

Frances LeeUMD Interdisciplinary Polarization Research

Dr. Carolyn LukensmeyerNational Institute for Civil Discourse

Tamera LuzzattoPew Safe Spaces Project

Maya MacGuineasCommittee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Angela MansoStaff Up Congress, NALEO Educational Fund

Meredith McGeheeIssue One

Darla Minnich, National Issues Forum Institute

Joan MooneyFaith and Politics Institute

Jennifer NassourReflectUS

Beth Simone NoveckNYU GovLab

Michelle PayneCongressional Sports for Charity

Rachel PericWelcoming America

Lisa RosenbergOpen the Government

Laura RosenbergerAlliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund

Sonal ShahBeeck Center

Suzanne SpauldingDefending Democracy Initiative, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Michele StockwellBipartisan Policy Center Action

Jody ThomasNational Foundation for Women Legislators

Sarah TurbervilleThe Constitution Project at POGO

PUBLIC SQUARE

Sarah AlvarezOutlier Media

Bettina ChangCity Bureau

Heather ChaplinThe New School for Journalism + Design

Meredith ClarkUniversity of Virginia/ASNE Diversity Survey

Sue CrossInstitute for Nonprofit News

Gloria FeldtTake the Lead

Leslie Fields-CruzBlack Public Media

Angela FordThe Obsidian Collection

Martha FoyeWorking Narratives

Lackisha Freeman, WNCU

Sarah GustavusNew Mexico Local News Fund

Elizabeth GreenChalkbeat, American Journalism Project

Andrea HartCity Bureau

Hadar HarrisStudent Press Law Center

Rose HobanNC Health News

Deborah Holt NoelUNC-TV Black Issues Forum

Janey HurleyAsheville Writers in the Schools

Paola JaramilloEnlace Latino North Carolina

Nikole Hannah JonesThe Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting

Mollie KablerCoast Alaska

Regina LawrenceAgora Journalism Center

Sally LehrmanTrust Project

Joy MayerTrusting News Project

Stefanie MurrayCenter for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University

Tamiko Ambrose MurrayAsheville Writers in the Schools

Amy NilesWBGO

Angie NewsomeCarolina Public Press

Suzanne NosselPen America

Erika OwensOpenNews

Tracie PowellDemocracy Fund Senior Fellow

Angelique PowersField Foundation

Kristy RoschkeNews Co/Lab at Arizona State University

Melanie SillSenior Consultant for North Carolina Local News Lab

Sheila SolomonSenior Consultant for Chicago

Michelle SrbinovichWDET

Talia StroudCenter for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin

Katie TownsendReporters Committee for Press Freedom Litigation Program

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood, Asian American Journalists Association

Mary Walter BrownNews Revenue Hub

Nancy WatzmanColorado Media Project

Journalism and Women Symposium

JUST & INCLUSIVE SOCIETY

Samar AliMillions of Conversations

Rachel BrownOver Zero

Kristen ClarkeLawyers Committee for Civil Rights

Marielena HincapieNational Immigration Law Center

Sherrilyn IfillNAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Aarti KohliAsian Law Caucus

Dalia Mogahed, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Meira NeggazInstitute for Social Policy and Understanding

Catherine OrsbornShoulder to Shoulder

Purvi ShahMovement Law Lab

Shireen ZamanRise Together Fund (formerly Security and Rights Collaborative)

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Shari DavisParticipatory Budgeting Project

Rachel KleinfeldCarnegie Endowment for International Peace

Melissa RodgersImmigrant Legal Resource Center

Prof. Susan Stokes – Bright Lines Watch, University of Chicago

You can find the original version of this article on Democracy Fund’s site at www.democracyfund.org/blog/entry/celebrating-women-who-are-making-democracy-stronger.

Recognizing Silence for Deeper Engagement

Some of the most challenging aspects of being in dialogue with someone is the ability to hold space for silence, yet not all silence means the same thing or has the same impact. Katie Hyten of NCDD sponsoring member org Essential Partners, recently wrote the piece, Positive and Negative Silence: Notes from the Field, which offers some distinguishing examples. We encourage you to check out the upcoming trainings on their website and remember that NCDD members receive special discounts on these workshops listed here. You can read the article below and find the original version on Essential Partners’ blog here.


Positive and Negative Silence: Notes from the Field

When I first trained as a mediator, I was awed by a demonstration from one of my early instructors: he would listen to people argue, he would ask a question or reflect something back in fewer than five words—and then he … waited. And waited. He waited until the people in conflict felt they could respond to the question.

Embracing silence lets people take ownership of the conversation, gives them time to think before speaking, and helps them be more intentional. It’s also one of the hardest things we ask of people in a dialogue.

Negative Silence: Awkward & Excruciating

Most people are familiar with awkward, uncomfortable silences, the kind of silence that means no one came prepared, or that people are unwilling to respond to a question. People are also all too familiar with the silence of being ignored. I think of these as negative silences.

Negative silence happens when I ask a question that doesn’t feel right to people, either because it doesn’t connect or because they aren’t ready to respond. Those moments can be excruciating, and endless—although they happen to every facilitator once in a while.

But I’m reminded of my first mediation coach’s advice: “negative feedback is more information.” Negative silence tells me how much work there is left to do. It tells me I need to adapt to meet the needs of participants, and lets me begin to collaborate with them on what needs to be done. Negative silence is tough, but it can be a learning moment.

Positive Silence: Care & Openness

There is also a positive silence, though: the silence of composing oneself before speaking, of being intentional about what to say. It’s a positive silence when others are taking in what someone else has said, the silence of committing to enter a tough conversation as your best self—or of waiting long enough to ensure there’s space for quieter voices.

This is the positive silence EP teaches people to cultivate when they’re facilitating difficult conversations about the differences that make a difference to their community.

Positive silence allows the toughest conversations to unfold intentionally and with care. It makes space for all voices, not just those who are most comfortable speaking up. It’s important to recognize positive and negative silences as we work to foster deeper engagement and trust in all our relationships.

If you’re struggling to hold the space for positive silence in your facilitation, consider joining us for our upcoming Advance Facilitation Skills workshop.

You can find the original version of this article on Essential Partner’s blog at www.whatisessential.org/blog/positive-and-negative-silence-notes-field.