My name is David Fetterman, and I am President and CEO of Fetterman & Associates (with 25 years of experience at Stanford University). I work in many areas of evaluation including, as you may know – empowerment evaluation. One of my primary concerns is fostering collaboration in evaluation. I have presented a few FREE tools that I have found useful in fostering participation, collaboration, and empowerment below:
Cool Trick: Online Videoconferencing. Sometimes you just don’t have the money to fly over to see your client. What can you do to maintain the rapport and relationship? Talk to them – better yet – talk to them and see them while they are looking at you. Use one of the many videoconferencing tools now available on the Internet such as:
Hot Tip: Pictures. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. It also offers a lot of face validity. You can take pictures and share them with only your clients by posting them online using Picasa or other online digital photograph storage files. You can download individual pictures from the file. You can create videos or slides of the picture to make a slide show (and paste the code for the video on a web page). You can bring a group together and give them voice by letting them see themselves and listen to what they said during the last meeting. The site I generally use is www.picasa.com
Hot Tip: Blogging. Having difficulties writing up that final report or some new report that was not part of the contract, but your client needs it right away to save their job? Take a look at maintaining a blog. It keeps a running history of the group’s accomplishments. It also makes the group’s work transparent to others in the community.
I like to keep a blog for each of my projects to help highlight their accomplishments and give them greater exposure – which in turn attracts resources. They are easy to maintain as long as you take notes during the meeting and take some photographs or video. You can post them on the web in a format that looks like an email but looks like a nice web page once you post it. It is also a great way to network. http://www.blogger.com/home
I hope you experiment with some of these tools with your family to stay in touch and build strong healthy relationships. The more comfortable you are using these tools with your family the more prepared and comfortable you will be using these tools with colleagues and clients. Enjoy!
Want to hear more from David Fetterman? He is offering a demonstration of Blogger as part of AEA’s Coffee Break Demonstration Series on March 4, 2010. Click here to learn more and sign up: http://www.eval.org/demos.asp