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Pull up a chair. Let’s engage.

December 3, 2010

Topic 1: Patient engagement vs. patient empowerment: What do these terms mean to you? How do they differ? #hcsmca

That was the topic that kicked off our December 1st #hcsmca chat. Our chat coincided with the Ontario Hospital Association’s symposium “Community Engagement in the Time of Tough Decisions and the Quest for Quality”. I encourage you to read the transcript of the #hcsmca chat and the #OHACE tweet stream for great insights.

When presenting your engagement strategy to your community, don’t use the word engage or engagement. Please! As André Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario, said in his presentation to the OHA symposium attendees:

“The lexicon of “community engagement” is pretty daunting for the average citizen. It’s full of phrases like ‘demographic diversity,’ ‘participatory culture,’ ‘communities of interest,’ and ‘levels of outcomes impact.’ It’s not easy to engage people with that sort of language.”

Good community engagement starts with ‘good’ language. By good language I mean language that is used by the people you want to talk with and get feedback from. As you prepare your engagement strategy and associated communications, take your mind’s eye out of the boardroom and the communication officer’s cubicle. Instead imagine yourself walking into my great aunt Lucille’s kitchen with its warn linoleum floor and a rocker in the corner.

Well I’ll be! You come right on in and sit down. Will you like a cup of tea?
So tell me, how are you?
Um… Ah really? …
I see … Tell me more.

That’s a more inviting way to talk with folk, isn’t it? Would that visual help change your engagement approach?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2010 10:27 am

    Hello Colleen. Thank you for this post again.
    I suppose you already know the leadership lessons from dancing guy, that are really appliable to community management ?


    • December 7, 2010 9:25 am

      Hi Tiphaine,
      Thanks for stopping by. I love this video and shared it with the inaugural #hcsmca participants. If they hadn’t joined the conversation, I surely would have been the lone fool dancing. Not only am I not dancing alone, I’m being shown many new dances!!


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