Community Engagement

Community engagement

Rob Carolane offers community engagement facilitation, training and advice. He has vast experience of, and sensitivity to, issues facing regional communities. He understands how country people link to ‘place’, history and their neighbours. He may not yet understand your community, but he knows that these perspectives impact on the way people interact.

Professional facilitators make community engagement look simple. Many people have natural aptitude for this work, however to be ‘consciously competent’ takes a lot of specialist skill and knowledge.

Every community engagement project has a clear beginning, middle and end. Rob will help you identify what’s at stake, and provide clarity about how and why you engage with partners, stakeholders, community groups and individuals in different ways. He will ensure people are informed so they can participate fully with you.

In the beginning, we are identifying stakeholders, clarifying aims, designing the process and creating safe spaces for discussion. It is important to ensure the community feels ownership of the purpose and process in which they are participating.

In the second phase, we think critically about the issues, explore assumptions and perspectives, understand interests and power relationships, and explore different ways to address the issue.

In the final phase, we make decisions and enable action. We also check back with the community about what we’ve done, build commitment to the decision and actions, and celebrate our success.

Rob is a member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and uses processes and tools consistent with IAP2.

Outrage management

Outrage is a strong negative emotional response to an issue or situation. Outrage often seems to ‘come out of nowhere’. There is, in fact, always a reason.

Often it’s businesses and inexperienced facilitators pursuing their own agendas, irrespective of negative community feedback, who find themselves in hot water. Outrage can lead to delays in project timing, cost overruns and severe loss of reputation.

Prevention of outrage is much more effective than dealing with outrage once it has been aroused.

In most cases, outrage is an emotional response to issues such as trust or fairness, not facts. Ignoring people or telling them to “calm down” doesn’t help. The way to calm anger and enable a more rational discussion is actually profoundly counterintuitive.

Rob Carolane is an outrage management specialist. He has trained and worked with Dr Peter Sandman, a world leader in outrage management.

Prevention of outrage is possible, practical and much more effective than having to reduce outrage after it occurs.  Outrage prevention must be built into your project communications strategy. It is a combination of the content of communication messages and the way they are delivered.

The keys to outrage prevention are:

  • Awareness of the potential for outrage, and
  • Planned community engagement messages that consciously anticipate a possible emotional response.

When issues arise, Rob has the skills and experience to dramatically improve dialogue between parties.  Better still, he has the skills to embed prevention of outrage into engagement planning.