My Top 5 Engagement Tools

by Tanya Zwahlen

This is what planning nerds talk about at lunch. I ate alone today, so I’m posting to the blog. Here are my top five favorite public engagement tools, in no particular order.

​1. This A-frame sign 

I’ve wanted one of these beauties since I saw a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) public meeting A-frame sign in Buffalo in 2013. It draws people into meetings. It also helps meeting attendees find their way to a certain entrance to a building or to the right room. You may notice the sign is also a shameless promotion for our firm. Dual purpose.

2. 3M paper products

In the olden days, we had to use tape to display paper notes on the wall. And it was tricky. Not anymore. The paper goes right from the easel to the wall. Both the large easel paper AND the sticky notes are included in this category. I used to use sticky notes primarily to remind me of things at my desk. Now I don’t leave for a facilitation session without a pack.

3. Roll of brown paper

Draws the kids in. Every. Single. Time. I like to ask them to draw a picture of what they’d like to see in their town, village or city.

4. Textizen

We are all fans of the survey, because it reaches people who can’t attend or aren’t interested in attending a meeting. But email surveys are easily overlooked. Textizen makes it easier to reach people using the technology they use most: their cell phone.

5. Maps

Tried and true. They help people orient themselves. They give people new perspective. They help them make connections.  I always see the world differently after I’ve studied a map.

What did I miss? Email me if you have an opinion about this.

Coming soon on the blog: my top five favorite facilitation exercises. I know you can’t wait.

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