Listening is not just waiting for the other person to stop speaking

Just got home from the Listening to Communities Conference at Kent and wanted to capture my thoughts on it as its been a really interesting day.  There is a posterous site coming together around it so I recommend you have a look there at what people put up over the next few days.  the conference was organised by the Community Engagement team at Kent County Council and they did a fantastic job – largely orchestrated by @tomsprints who I am taking my hat off to right now – great job

I ran a couple of workshops on virtual civic spaces and am quietly pleased that I think I made a few people see the potential on civic activity online – you can’t always claim that after a workshop so I’m taking it as a win.  I’m going to post some thoughts about specific issues over at the posterous site so just one reflection here.

Change was very much in the air.  I’ve spoken at this conference before and really felt the audience didn’t want to listen – not rude but slightly complacent and very sure of their own place in the world.  This year the tone was very different – there was a sense of wanting to learn stuff and a shared belief that the world is changing rapidly and that government needs to change as well.  What’s more is that people wanted to learn – I had councillors and officers catching me all through the day wanting to know how to tweet or blog and asking how to get started  last year they wouldn’t have seen a need.

It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a feeling I am getting more widely from clients, Councils and the Police (more on that anon as we had a excellent day on virtual policing yesterday).  This feeling of change is something that feeds into the enthusiasm we feel about citycamp Brighton and the fact that I think there is a very real opportunity to try and do things differently.  I wanted to note this feeling as its a good way to end a week – and its good to note these positive things.  enjoy your weekends folks.

Here are the slides for anyone who is interested:

One comment
  1. busyhayley

    February 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Excellent conference and very inspiring, I have been a digital champion for the past 12months and it has been a battle to get myself heard, but agree finally now people are listening. It was interesting from one Councillor saying that “I don’t use technology or social media, but feel now I need to in order to do my job, which is to communicate and keep in touch with my community” @HayleySandG


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