Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Saturday, 21 July 2007

Student questions about CEPA

Help from 'end users' to make my lecture more useful. We often base our keynote speeches on what we assume the audience already knows and wants to know. To our surprise these assumptions afterwards mostly prove to be wrong. So by way of introduction to my lecture in the Summer Course “New Challenges to Environmental Communication” just outside Madrid, I asked participants to take two minutes to discuss in pairs what the main question was they would like me to answer in my presentation. The audience – graduate and post graduate students in environment related studies and professionals from local and regional government – came up with the following questions for me:

What is CEPA?
What international conventions related to the environment exist today?
What CEPA projects exist in Spain and elsewhere?
How to develop a CEPA project?
What are your practical experiences with CEPA in different parts of the world?
What techniques in EE and participation are really working today?
What is more important: communication or learning?
What is the relation between communication and participation?
What is the role of persuasion in CEPA?
What is the reason for the decline in interest in the environment?
What happens at the international level with regard to environmental communication?
Do governments have a real interest in environment or is it for them mere lip service?

Spending five minutes - of my two hour time slot - in collecting these questions and later in my presentation the re-energizing of the audience by an exercise ‘test your own CEPA knowledge’, was an investment that paid off: I did not lose my audience! Feedback of some students afterwards was: “you practice what you preach: two-way communication!” and “this was a very interesting new way of learning”. Who has more suggestions to make a lecture more user friendly?

Madrid airport, 21 July 2007

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