Effective Public Engagement – 10 Guidelines

The-WhitehouseAs I mentioned in my previous post, Fighting a Government Threat is both an academic case study topic in the March 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review and is a subject that is quite personal for my company. In this and several upcoming posts I will share lessons learned from my own engagement with governmental leaders, as well as recommendations from the HBR case study of the same title.  So, without further adieu, here are my Top 10 Rules for Effective Public Engagement:




  1. Pay close attention to the issues and government proposals before they become laws!
  2. Seek to understand both sides of the issue so you can provide a reasonable, balanced perspective.
  3. Work to document your company’s contribution to the local community.
  4. Engage your employees in the public debate as much as possible.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take a position and speak out about it.
  6. Don’t make idle threats.
  7. Try to offer reasonable ideas/counter proposals that both parties can live with.
  8. Don’t assume that your counterpart thinks the way you do or is influenced by the same consideration.
  9. Work to find points of convergence and show empathy for the goals of the Governor or legislators with whom you have a disagreement.
  10. Build a positive relationship with the news media over time.

Next post I will take a closer look at items 1-3.