Is there anything that people can’t influence? Be upfront and open about the parameters of any involvement.
There are lots of things to consider before reaching out to people and inviting them to get involved in your work. It goes without saying that clear roles and goals for people’s involvement is one of the most important. From the outset, people need to know where, when and how they can input.
But part of building an honest, successful working relationship also means being upfront about anything those that participate can’tinfluence. Is there any element of your work or project they’re involved in that is non-negotiable? Exactly what are the parameters of their input or involvement?
You might find that participants themselves have their own limits or boundaries: they might have limited time to offer, or only want to be involved at particular points. Remember, regardless of your agenda, people need to be able to be involved as much, or as little, as they want to. An important part in establishing a strong partnership is both sides being clear about what they can bring to the table. So, be upfront and open about what will be required for a given activity or role – this will help both you and them manage this effectively, and support them in feeling comfortable with how they engage.
To find out more, read our new book: Public Engagement Made Easy.
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