Trust, Empathy and Smart Community Engagement, with Melissa Dark

The Smart Community Podcast show

Summary: In this episode of the podcast I have a brilliant conversation with Melissa Dark, a communications and stakeholder engagement consultant. Melissa is the Chief Collaborator at Common Place Communication and the Co-Founder of Busting Silos, and she is passionate about how we involve people in the decisions that affect them. Now, like all the recent episodes on the podcast, this conversation was recorded before Covid-19 changed the world, however I think it's fair to say that communications and stakeholder engagement has only gotten more important since then-as we say at the end of this interview, communication skills can be really undervalued until they're really needed, and that's exactly what we're seeing play out in the world today. If you are wanting more up to date pandemic related content, I am doing a series of interviews on YouTube with previous podcast guests that checks in with them to see how their organisations are changing or not during this time, and how the Smart Community space is approaching Covid-19. In this episode Melissa and I talk about what we can learn about community engagement from organisational change management research, and why trust is the absolute key factor in successful engagement in both communities and organisations. Melissa tells us what engagement actually means to her, and the relationship between integrity, empathy and authentic engagement. We talk about the challenges and opportunities that digital technologies have brought to the comms and engagement space, and the fundamental things that haven't changed. Melissa shares with us that she believes the emerging trends in the engagement space are not in fact tech related but actually the return of old school human approaches. We finish our chat discussing Melissa's work with Busting Silos helping integrate through and across boundaries in organisations, both internally and externally. As always we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it. Find the full show notes at: Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn or via either of her websites, or Connect with me via email: Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.