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City of Darebin - Courageous Conversations

Darebin Council have a range of potentially complex and emotive community consultation projects to deliver in 2022-2023. Prior to ‘going out’ to engage with the public, the community engagement team were keen to equip staff required to engage, with the skills and confidence to interact with their local communities in a range of settings (e.g. online workshops, phone calls, pop up stalls at markets, etc).

How we solve it:

Serious Woo was invited to work with Australia’s largest community engagement consultancy Capire, to design a practical one-day workshop that helped practitioners identify their communication style, understand their individual blindspots and how to manage them as well as learn practical skills to ensure community members feel heard and supported. 


Participants were then invited to put these skills into practice through a number of “real life” scenarios with Serious Woo actors transforming their theoretical understanding to the confident “knowing I can do this”.

Project teams who don’t often interact with the community in their day to day work can be reluctant or nervous about engaging on a topic that is potentially going to be complex or emotive. The training was designed to provide real live scenarios in a supported environment to understand and prepare for their own response.

The outcome:

Approximately 40 staff from across a range of disciplines came together over two sessions (one online and one in person) to undertake the training and prepare themselves for future consultations. Participant feedback – 

 “The use of actors as residents was great, and doing active role play was an invaluable way of testing the techniques we had learnt.”
“I thought the emphasis on learning techniques to help control and manage a difficult conversation were really useful.”

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