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Diane Miller and I will be the keynote speakers for the Austin Coffee Party on October 9 at 1:00 p.m. at the Austin History Center. Below is the description of what we will cover.

Understanding Public Deliberation
Most people think of deliberation as something juries do after hearing all of the evidence. Juries are tasked to weigh the evidence because their decisions may have profound consequences on people’s lives.

In our personal lives, we often weigh the costs and consequence of our decisions – whether to accept a job in another town even if it means uprooting our family. We weigh the costs of one university and the value of the education we might receive against other factors, like location, proximity to activities we value, etc.
What if we applied that same thoughtful consideration to the decisions we confront in our public lives?
The goal of public deliberation is to frame the tough choices we face in our public life to reveal the costs and consequences of various options. We may prefer one choice over another, but how much do we really know about how our preference will affect others? Plus, our choices could have unintended consequences that we never considered. Shouldn’t we sort that out before we implement policies and actions, and are forced to live with an unforeseen and unpleasant outcome?
This brief workshop will introduce participants to the idea of public deliberation, the role that values play in how we form opinions and make decisions, and strategies for helping people find common ground with others who hold very different perspectives.
Diane Miller and Taylor Willingham collectively bring thirty years of experience in public engagement with a special emphasis on creating meaningful public dialogues.

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