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NCDD Listserv discussion featured on UK’s Sciencewise site

Thanks to a tweet from Edward Andersson at U.K.-based Involve, it was brought to my attention that the Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre for Public Dialogue In Science and Innovation (ERC) — UK’s national centre for public dialogue in policy making involving science and technology issues — featured a recent NCDD listserv discussion here on its website. The Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre aims to help policy makers commission and use public dialogue to inform policy decisions which involves science and technology.

Here’s the post from the Sciencewise site

How can you attract diverse participants to an event?

A question on the American forum, the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, about how to attract participants to an event, sparked a wide-ranging discussion from dialogue practitioners around the world. This is a crucial question for dialogue events. Although most people participate in their communities in some way, a small number of people still contribute the most and so have the greatest influence. Getting the planning and recruitment methods right for a participation event can play an important part in widening this pool of people.

Key ideas that emerged were:

  • Identify and communicate a good reason why people should attend. What difference will it make? Why is the issue important? What will the participants themselves get out of attending?
  • Get a diverse planning team together so that members can use their networks to  invite people to attend. Reach out to community leaders to act as ambassadors for the event.
  • Piggyback on other events with diverse groups of attendees.
  • Make it fun! Provide food, entertainment and childcare to make it easy and enjoyable.

You can read the full conversation here, and there’s also a summary of the discussion here.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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