Free community engagement tips and skills


Getting the most from your ENGAGEMENT practitioner

#1 Unsure about what your process will realistically cost?

 Ask a consultant  (or two) for a rough price range  for the type of process you're looking to deliver, then write the tender.  If your figure is way off base in relation to what your asking, you might face a low response rate or receive proposals that don't match your expectations. 

#2 Prepare a clear, detailed, high level framework

Set out a clear framework for your project, but don't design your methodology in detail. Putting forward key objectives, deliverables, timelines, milestones and scope is helpful.  However, detailing every activity is restrictive.  Stay high level, and your consultant or facilitator can co-design the methodology with you,  injecting their expertise, innovations and ideas into the planning process. 

#3 Don't be afraid to negotiate

 Love a tender or proposal you've received but disappointed because its too expensive?  Make sure you get in touch with the submitter and ask whether elements like price, timelines or budget are negotiable.  Most consultants submit a proposal that is really an educated guess based on limited information, and are happy to discuss changes and options.  

#4 Be realistic 

Clearly communicate your expectations, but also ensure they're realistic, particularly when it comes to budget, staff and time.  More consultants and facilitators will tender or submit a proposal for your job, and the consultant you engage will be able to give you more value and deliver a better process and return on investment.

#5 Stay flexible and open minded

An experienced consultant or facilitator will often be able to pinpoint a  new approach, creative idea or key change that will ensure your engagement process is truly effective (or to help you avoid a key risk).  If you're inflexible on every detail it will be challenging for your consultant to help you design the best possible process. 

#6 Collaborate as partners

Collaborate with your consultant.  Both parties should be actively involved in planning and delivery.  Identify skill-sets, clarify roles and and responsibilities, and move forward as a united front. 

#7 Bring them into the fold

Welcome your consultant in as a trusted team member.  While you may not work together full time, it's vital that you establish a close relationship that's built on trust and openness.  Provide transparent information, honest insights and be responsive and accessible - the more you bring your consultant or facilitator 'into the fold' the better they can do their job.





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