Communicate Positively to Ensure Community Participation
Liontos (1991) suggests the following communication strategies to ensure community participation:
- "Learn how your partners operate. Who is in charge, officially and unofficially? What are their needs, pressures,
and perceived roles? Remember that connections aren't with agencies, they are with people.
- Approach your potential partners positively. You might say, 'You have some things that are helpful to us.' Or, 'We
want to do a better job, to be a better partner to you.'
- Take a temperature reading. Say, 'What would you think if we did this?' Find out what each other's concerns and
- Acknowledge the person with whom you meet. Allow people to describe their experiences and perceptions.
When the other person talks, ask questions to be sure you have understood his or her point of view (instead of telling
the person what you think about the problem as soon as he or she is through talking). . . .
- Ask agency personnel if they have anything they would like to tell the schools. . . .
- Be willing to hear criticism. Ask, 'What would you like to be different in our school?' or 'What's your harshest
criticism of our school?' Discover what agencies would like to see done differently in any relationships the school and
agency might already have.
- Find out what would make working together a win-win situation." (p. 13-14)
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