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Introduction to

Indigenous Engagement

At Cambium Indigenous Professional Services, we specialize in Indigenous Engagement and Awareness. We help businesses and organizations understand the importance of establishing the correct engagement protocols when establishing positive relationships with Indigenous Communities. For more information about how we can help with your Indigenous Engagements, please contact us at:'

Phone: (705) 657-1126


The following video on "Introduction to Indigenous Engagement" was presented by CIPS CEO, Mike Jacobs to the Indigenous Climate Hub. The video transcription is below the video.

By Michael Jacbos, CEO of Cambium Indigenous Professional Services

Transcription of the video below.

So, this is going to be a pretty quick introduction. What I'd like for you to get out of it in this 30 minute Introduction to First Nations Community Engagement.


It's not very long but what I wanted to do is talk about a few key variables and a few key things that can start to eliminate the anxiety that comes with our (Indigenous) engagements. Are people going to show up?

How do we start to look at some of the ways that we can do this in First Nations communities. Than I am going to talk about some virtual engagement and start to get, give you the ability to converse and maybe even look into some of these other software.


There (is) are software out there and Tiffany and I are going to do up a quick little example, a quick little ice breaker about one of those types of software (out there).

As I did in the welcome, I am the CEO of CIPS (Cambium Indigenous Professional Services). What we've done in our organization and over my career is we've done a ton of surveys, we've done community meetings, we've done Clicker style meetings (at community meetings for input), we've done high anxiety leadership meetings.


Meetings that are really intense or really hard thought through. We've done large scale community meetings where there might be multiple communities there or it might be the whole community at once. We've also done things that I call highly produced sessions where you have a producer on the side, you have the green screens and all the (high production) things.


We done those as well and we've seen a lot of different ways, alot of different methods and what we try and do is bring the top ones that would work into our First Nations communities, into our Indigenous communities to make sure that what we are doing is getting the best outputs.

So, today again, I want to give you some ideas and thoughts in today's world before you get onto your other meeting.

There are a couple of things in First Nations language that happens quite often. There are two different things. A lot of different projects require (Indigenous) engagement and may not require consultation.

Why is Indigenous Engagement Important?


In today's world, in the legal environment (the legal landscape), you've got the formal duty to consult. This is not what I am talking about today. There is a whole different procedure and policies, action items that have to go.


What I'm talking about is when you want to get your community involved. So, we got (Indigenous) engagement here. I'm talking about involvement in a project, involvement in opinion, involvement in how they go.

Calm (Indigenous) engagement is an important part of the consultation process but that's what I am talking about here (in engagement). I am not talking about "how do we do the formal duty to consult process".


That's a whole different training course and it requires a fairly sophisticated level of understanding of the law and what is required from our point of view as well as others.

What I'm talking about (Indigenous) engagement here (when I use the word engagement), I want you to think about "how to I get the community involved in what we are doing".


How am I going to get them excited, how am I going to get them onside with our project as we go.

One of the things that our First Nations often do, (that we get hired to do alot of engagements for) is that "we want to talk to everyone in the community". Our communities are small and we sho
uldn't be able to get an opinion from everybody and a 100% (Indigenous) engagement is not necessarily a good goal.


One, it creates a ton of anxiety for you. You know..."we only had 10, or 15 or 20 at this...I was expecting so many more". You want to start identifying how big these (Indigenous) engagements should be and "what" they should be. When you have 100% (Indigenous) engagement goal you forget about the people that just aren't interested.

Our approach to Indigenous Engagement and Awareness.


That's fine. There are people that don't care what you want them to be interested in. I'm not interested in, let's say "large cats" (as an example). I'm just not interested in that so why would I go to an engagement on that. I'm not in the target market.

People may be busy, maybe hard for them to get to places. People are people and they may just not show up. They may have a big opinion but just not show up to events or to (Indigenous) engagement sessions.


There may be personal reasons - People may just not like you. They may love to give an opinion but they don't want to go see them (because they dislike them).

When you talk about 100% (Indigenous) engagement, you have to refine that so now it is..."100% of what?". A 100% of the community is too much. - It's too impossible to reach. You will always set yourself up to fail with (Indigenous) engagement and that's a really important concept to understand.  

What you have to start to think about, and this is a statistical term (or a math term) that you learned about in math and statistics type courses but what you want to have is a viable representative sample. You want to have a sample of your community that is going to reflect the general opinions or the most part opinion of your community.


Once you determine that you want 100% (Indigenous) engagement of your representative sample, now you can get a bit more targeted, and a little better at it (engaging).

So, what is it (representative sample)? It is a subset of a population that seeks to accurately reflect the characteristics of the larger group. For example, there's 30 students in the classroom with 15 males and 15 females in the class. (Related:
5 Principles for Effective Indigenous Engagement)


A representative sample might be 6 students - 3 males and 3 females and decide that's a representative sample of my students. I don't have to get them all in so I am just going to ask these groups.

Technically, when you talk about math and talk about representative sampling in only requires whatever percentage the statistical population is necessary to replicate what you want. For example, if the population is a thousand and it's made up of 600 men and 400 women and you are trying to do an analysis by gender you only really need 3 men and 2 women to get a representative sample.


When you talk about statistics, you can always say I have a representative sample to council or leadership (that you are presenting to), to sound good but the reality is, it just doesn't seem right.


There just doesn't seem to be enough if there are a thousand people and all you got was 3 men and 2 women. Although it is representative of the make up of your community it's not necessarily representative of the community itself.

We want to make sure that your representative sample has a lot of different components to it.  

When we talk about First Nation representative samples and what we're going to be talking about, your community may be a thousand people for instance (and this is quite common) there might be 500 men, 500 women, 20 elders, 200 youth, 30 language speakers, 10 that are actually passionate about climate change, 80 that love Chief and Council, 800 that don't pay attention to Chief and Council at all, 120 that despise Chief and Council. (Related:
Why is Indigenous Community Engagement Important?)


You can have 12 core family groups, 6 different clans representatives, 600 off territory and 400 on territory. This is how our communities are representative. There are a lot of different component parts to our communities and when you say you want a community wide representation start to identify what you mean by that.

What do you mean by a representative sample? What is going to be a good number of people to engage with to make sure I get a representative sample of the people that I want. Someday you may have a representative of only the women in your community.


It may be the only relevant group that you have that you want to engage with. That is ok. It doesn't always have to be all the community. However, you want to understand that your First Nation has a number of different component pieces that all will bring some sort of element to it.

When you think about your viable representative sample of this group, it's not one from each bullet (in the slide presentation video above), meaning we want 1 man, 1 woman, 1 elder, 1 youth, 1 speaker and 1 passionate about climate change.


You start to think..."If I had that group that would really give me some good input and I would feel really comfortable with that". There is only about 11 to 12 people in your representative sample of your community.


However, you probably have a good sort of indication of a representative sample. You (probably) will get, from those 18 people a pretty good feeling of what it is you want to accomplish with your (Indigenous) engagement or what you want to find out.

You can always confirm what you find out after your (Indigenous) engagement. You say "here is what we heard from our representative sample" and you put it out and they say "Is it right? Is it good?". It can be one from each (bullet point from the slide presentation) or it can be a person from two bullet points.


For example, it can be an elder woman that speaks the language that is passionate about climate change. That represents 4 of your core components of your community.


You can start to see how that can start to skew it (sample) because you're really only getting one opinion and you're trying to get it around these opinions. That makes it a bit more difficult but sometimes it happens when we (CIPS) start to sample our First Nations communities.

Can it be from 3 bullet points? 4 bullet points? What is it? The other thing you might say is you only want people who care about this. In climate change, I don't need some topics, other topics are not the same, I only want to talk to the people that are in the community that are really passionate about climate change.


So, my representative sample here would be, I need as many of the 10 people as I can (that are there) and that's an ok representative sample. (Related: Doing Business with First Nations: A Beginners Guide)

Depending on what your objective is (what your goal is), it's really ok to do this. The thing is, you determine what your representative sample is.


You can run it by Council, you can run it by everyone but the person who is hosting the (Indigenous) engagement is going be the person that defines the representative sample.


If you do this, if you take the time to say "what do I really feel I need to be successful", very seldom (unless you want to spend 6 million dollars of your communities long term investments) do you require everyone in the communities' participation.

There's very few topics that require everyone's input. What you want is to understand the general feelings of your community and how they're moving forward. If you are moving in the wrong direction, people will let you know (outside of your representative sample) that you might miss.


If you do this, with your (Indigenous) engagements and your (Indigenous) engagement activities it's going to relieve a ton of your stress, pre-engagement.

(As an example) I'm coming on a Zoom call, I'm a little bit nervous trying to speak into a camera. That's already got a lot of anxiety for me to be the host (to be the host of this event).


Kerry-Ann (CIPS Environmental Co-ordinator) who's coming, a couple of people didn't answer, there's all that anxiety. If you know that you have got a representative sample and know who's going to come that will help relieve alot of your (Indigenous) pre-engagement stress' that you may have.

So, you get these beginnings. One of the things that I think we do in our Indigenous Communities (in particular, as consultants), is we say "let's put a notice in the community newsletter that we want to have (engage) people, send us information...let us know)".


What I think we need to move to or one that's going to be a lot more effective for you is by actually inviting people from your representative sample. If you invite 3 people from each of your representative sample groupings, you're going to start to get a more fulsome, a well rounded group of your community members.

I go to some communities and it (literally) is the family of the person hosting the event. The family is sitting there, you go to the event and the host is there and they say "c'mon we're going to have prizes!" and it's the family that shows up to support their staff person.


It's fine but when you try and report on the outcomes of that engagement it's very skewed and it's very one sided. There might be a bit of variance in opinions but generally you haven't got what you want.

We want to make sure that we do targeted, representative invitations. Invitations will also make people feel like their opinions are really important (which they are).

In this virtual setting, if you're invited to these meetings (invited to be a part), that helps people to say "someone is going to value my opinion, I am representing a part of my community". You get some sort of knowledge and understanding that you're wanted at that event. (Related:
3 Effective Ways to Communicate Technical Information to First Nation Communities)


When you do just the community notice, it's like (the person) says..."someone from the community will say what I want to say". If you get asked to go it's almost like you feel this obligation. If I get directly asked to do something, it's really hard for me to say no to someone when it's about helping your community.


It's kind of hard to say no to that so you kind of get an obligation and get tied to to attend (the event) as well.

You will also make sure that you have a set of voices out of there, to be representative.

You will start to (if you do invitations) get the communities standard response. I didn't know about...nobody asked me...I don't believe in the outcome because I was never a part of the process.


That's a part of our Indigenous Communities nature to say that we didn't know, we didn't hear about that, I would have liked to have done that. Our communities like to say that, and I've heard that...pretty much at every (Indigenous) engagement that I've been at (or any presentation of engagement materials that we've been out).

By inviting RSVP's you can actually reduce that feeling of distress and if you're worried about being selective you can add a line of invitation. For example, "if you know of anyone else that would like to come, let me know and I will forward an invitation to them".


This is an open community event feel free to RSVP as many people as you want. Just because you invite someone doesn't mean that it can't be an open letter. For example "we are inviting you, we are hoping you and any family members can attend".

These direct invitations are going to really help you out.

People don't get phone calls anymore and they say "wow, that is a lot of work". If you want your (Indigenous) engagement to be effective you HAVE to do this pre-work. Know who you want in the audience and work really hard to get them into the audience.


You'll be amazed at how successful your (Indigenous) engagements are, if you do that pre-work. Your report will write itself afterwards and you will save a ton of work time after because you're not trying to justify by who might be there and who might not be there.

You want to make sure that you really do this pre-work of:


  • Who's in the audience?

  • Is it representative?

  • Do I have the people that I want?

And...I have to ask them for their presence and sort of commit to them being there.

Community notices are always an excellent follow up and they allow for the inclusion of others so don't stop doing that. However, they don't often end up as representative samples. (Related:
Indigenous Awareness Training: A Foundation for Success)

If (your event) is during the day, you're going to get a certain group of people, if it's in the evening you're going to get a certain group of people. To me, this is the most important part of the (Indigenous) engagement process is this. It's making sure that you have a representative group of who's going to be with you and when.

So, we all know this and it isn't new to you at all. I don't want to go over "how do you do a survey" or things like that. If you want those types of sessions in the future, absolutely (potential topics)


  • How do you design a survey?

  • What's the best way to host a community meeting?

  • What is a focus group?


Talk to Kerry-Ann (CIPS Environmental Partnership Coordinator) about that more specific training in these areas and say "wow, I'd really like to learn more".

What's happened with Covid is that the (Indigenous) engagements still have to happen. We can't just go and do our work now and if you don't believe me, you can go and ask Doug Ford. He's got an ominous bus bill right now that our communities are saying "you didn't even talk to us!".


Now that this is going and moving forward and we don't know how to stop it and there was no engagement (or even a discussion). If you try and do your work without those (Indigenous) engagements you are going to run into those issues (problems).

You still have to do it (engagement) and now people are starting to learn about how to move engagement to an online opportunity. In First Nations communities, aside from technology it's actually really cool.


It's really, really good for our projects and it really is an opportunity. If you have the proper internet connections in your community, if you have the ability for people to commune and sort of sit in front of this (event presentation) for an hour, it's a lot easier to get (Indigenous) engagement out of your community members (online).

Sometimes, you say "really, I thought it would be more of a pain in the butt". The pain in the butt is the technology and once you got that figured out and once your community is sort of understands that what we need to go than I think you'll find it (useful).

There are these whiteboard platforms and one of the companies out there (its an online thing that we will show you later) is Miro. It's really neat and it can do all the things that you ever want to do at a community meeting but you can do it online in the comfort of your home. You can do as many of these as you like.

There are voting platforms out there and I know the
Ontario Aboriginal Land Managers Association as well as Curve Lake, they use One Feather to do a voting system. It's a pride voting system that you register with your status card once and than all your community can vote on certain things.


There's the voting systems that One Feather has and there are other ones out there for sure.
We've all done Google, Microsoft Teams, Zoom (like we're on now). We've all done Google Docs and Drop Box. Now, social media has become a way to do engagement as well.

(These) are (is) an opportunity to do engagement on platforms that people are already familiar with. I'm not going to do deep dives on all of them (at all) but for some of them you would like to there are professionals in each of these that can do a sort of session on how they work and how they might work in your community for doing your (Indigenous) engagement. I just want to put them out there so that you know it's happening.

When we talk about our success community meetings or focus groups or surveys I just want to give you a couple of things that we've heard that have been done.


One is obviously invitations (I spoke to that). It's a tough, hard working step but it really does work if you do invitations and RSVPS. If people commit to coming they feel bad for not coming.


They will actually get up (out of their chair) and go "...ohhh...I said I'd go". That's unfortunate but once they get there it's up to you to impress them but they will get out if they have been invited and RSVP'd.

We all know the value adds in our First Nations communities. We often use prizes, food and we rarely use entertainment (such as a comedian). For example, you do an (Indigenous) engagement than you have a comedian comes on and I've seen that work in certain communities but not something that has worked for us very well.


Then there is the idea of bingo (in Kerry-Ann's community), she can speak to that during her session. Kerry-Ann's (CIPS Environment Partnership Coordinator) community does a bingo that actually ties into the (Indigenous) engagement that you are having.


They have had alot of success with those as well. Especially on the climate change area so if you do want to talk with Kerry-Ann about GI (Georgina Islad First Nation) and about how they did that she can fill you in on those details. need to understand your timing.


  • Do you need to do two (Indigenous) engagements?

  • Do you have to have an afternoon and an evening (session) or a weekday and a weekend (session)?

  • Or anything like that? Do you do have to have two engagements to make sure you get to everyone?

  • You know what your sample is, you know what that group is, do you need to have that (two sessions)?

The last one here is really important. My wife is an event planner by trade, she works for a charity and she organizes events. We do meetings all the time and the more organized the event is, the more successful it is.


Now, all the organization in the world may be thrown out the window during the event but if it was organized at the outset then we know what's going to happen. If we've practices these Zoom sessions, that we practiced this platform than you actually build trust in your community to do it over and over.


They (the community) will join you because they go "those events are always well organized, they're done when the say they're going to be done, they talk about what they say they're going to talk about"...that sort of thing.

How do you do that?


You allow for goals and objectives to be met, you can test the technology before hand and just be prepared for your (Indigenous) engagement sessions. Again, being prepared reduces stress. If you thought about all this stuff ahead of time, you don't have to think about it on the fly when things go wrong.

Alot of use do surveys and in the online and covid world, I think we're going to have to do more surveys. We've always used Survey Monkey platform. It's an online platform, it's great and when you get your surveys in, you plop it right into a power point and away you go.


It's a very efficient way and so Survey Monkey training is something that we've done in GI (Georgina Island) as well, that you can take Survey Monkey training, learn how it works and be able to survey your community.

You can put them online or on your website as well and it's not really as time sensitive. This can be a good combination (offline and online surveys) because if people don't have the online ability to survey you can actually do it on paper and than put it into the computer and still have all the benefits of the computer behind it.


The one thing we've done in Georgina Island which I'd suggest (with anti spamming laws and if communities feel ok with it), a great example of this this is if you registered to receive emails than you are allowed to send emails out.


What Georgina Island did (the Economic Development Department) is we went to the Christmas Bizarre with the sole intention of collecting emails when we have a survey, when we have a new report, when we have engagement sessions, would you like to be notified?

All it is, is a paper that says yes I would like to be notified and they sign up. Now we have a mail out list (emails) that we put into (email response software) is what we use, mailchimp is another one. Just by having that community list we now have 60 community members that get notified every time and with these mail out lists it actually tells you who's read it
and how quickly they read it. You can actually see how effective your (Indigenous) engagements are being when you are (e) mailing things out.


Related: Indigenous Digital Email Strategy Tip

They've (community members) have also said yes, I want to be a part of it and if you get a number one household (in a First Nations Community) that's usually going to reach two or three.


These mailing lists and getting a mailing list in an inventory that's separate from the First Nation that is particularly targeted, and I look at Beausoleil (First Nation) Education, it's great. It's a good way and you can actually monitor how well your emails going out are.     

We get those emails all the time and we just don't realize that we're getting them. We are on a (e) mailing list, like the shopping companies send to us (emails). It's a very good element for First Nations.


If they (email subscribers) don't want them anymore they can just unsubscribe just like any other (publication) and get off the subscription (if you're sending too many).

That capacity and the reason why I bring that up for (Indigenous) engagement is that can help you maintain a relationship. You can give them a quarterly survey that they are waiting for and it may only be 5 questions at a time.


The community gets used to receiving this and engaging in a certain way it will take community meetings and the stress out of it and if you have a 100 people you can do it.


You might do one and when you publish the results you can issue the next survey at the same time. So that way, the community is like "we did the survey and now we're getting the answers" so here's the next survey.

It's just like polling, we've done polling on our websites as well. Again, that builds trust because 1) We are getting asked these questions alot; 2) It gives you confidence in the workplace when you say "I have done a survey and I know what the community is feeling, in this way...I do a survey every month and it generally gets between 50 and 500 people, this one only got 10 people, why? Because no one cares maybe...because it's not a big a priority as we thought it may have been".

These types of surveys and opportunities for (Indigenous) engagement (online and in a virtual world), they can work in both. I think there's an opportunity there in First Nations to do this because we all do get our emails.


You can also send these out as texts as well (in Aweber), we can send out a text notification...all of those (email software) can do that sort of thing.

You may say "I'm not techie". It's not techie, you just need someone to set it up and it's an administrative thing once it's set up. (Related:
Digital Indigenous Engagement Guide)


When you send an email (instead of sending it from your email) you send it from the Aweber platform. It's not tough once you get the database set up to the way you want it.  

Now, I want to quickly move to virtual engagement. The online (Indigenous) engagement, it offers continually accessible communication channels. For the first time, instead of just having a community meeting that you cannot make it between 5 (PM) and 6 (PM), you can have these engagement sessions be open for quite awhile.


We're recording this video (presentation - this one) and that recording is actually going to have life beyond the event.

That's important so that people can actually record these things and understand what it is. For the first time, in the First Nations world, covid is actually (leading) us to the ability to do these.


To actually do this event and do these sessions with no time or distance constraints. If you're on vacation and this is a very important topic for your First Nation or in your community, you can actually say (while on vacation) "I'm going to take some time out and do this for an hour".

The distance constraints go away which really allows you to connect with out of territory members and that will help as well.  

In the green (from the slide), the positives and the reds, which are the negatives of your virtual engagement.

(In the green for positives) You can actually survey and monitor a larger group online. You will be able to get more access. For example, if you only get 10 people at your community event or your (Indigenous) engagement meeting, than you can actually really expand that.

A huge (positive) one, especially if there are consultants involved is the reduction in travel costs. I will give you an example of what happened with the Land Manager's Association on they're strategic planning.


When we were going to do this, we were going to have to travel to Niagara Falls and have a session after AGM (annual meeting), take that information and process it. Go to the board and do another session to say what the results were.


That was going to cost about $3,500 to $4,000 (travel and time).

The engagement has now been moved online where we're going to be able to take different representative samples so we'll be able to have geographical groups.


We're going to be able to have male/female groups, we're going to be able to have all these different groups, all these different representative areas and ask the same questions. We can see how this actually plays out and we can do 10 of those sessions for the same price!

Once we get this all set up (virtually), it's the same price and I don't have to go anywhere. When I (you) don't have to go anywhere, you save a lot of money on travel from consultants. For us to leave the office it's a thousand dollars.


For a consultant to leave the office it's a thousand dollars and why are you paying us that when you can do something online that's probably going to be as effective if we can get the communities used to it.

To me, that's a big one for virtual (Indigenous) engagement that covid has really taught us. We thought we always had to be face to face with our clients, not so much.

Alot of data can be collected through polling and surveying the groups. Has the ability to allow more (people) to have their opinion heard. There's not the dominant voice in the room on virtual.


However, you will want someone who wants to be on camera all the time and on the other side you got shyness of people. The way we're going to show you it's not really going to matter on who's on camera we can do other events or other types of (Indigenous) engagements that way.

(Some of the negatives of virtual engagement)

It's hard to get the emotional connection to the community group. You don't really know me, I'm sort of this "head on a screen" so you don't really know who I am, how tall I am, or what nuances that I have. You don't get to know the facilitator as well or maybe the group.

You're also going to have children and pets walking into the frame all the time, which can be comical and entertaining so I don't look at that too badly.


The biggest technological challenge is the internet speeds and having enough computers and having the ability to do it online. Being able to make sure that your group, that your representative sample has that (capability).

When you talk about these (technology), people are going to have to have reliable high speed internet (the host will have to have reliable high speed internet). Not everyone (has that ability) as you can see Korey is offline and off mic.


She can hear fine but it's just like a TV coming through and when it's time to speak you can sort of do that and limit to what you are using in the space. The host has to have that capability (high speed connections and technology).

You also have to have multiple hosts. I would say, when there is a larger group you want to have (one host) per 25 digital attendees.


That way, everyone can listen and have someone paying attention to the engagement group.

You are going to have to have a bit different skill sets. The facilitator shouldn't be doing the IT (information technology) but needs to know the platform. It's really important for people to be confident that I know what


I'm doing that if you can hear me, if you can see me, if things are going smoothly if I am transitioning from platform to platform.

Finally, don't forget the intellectual stimulation, the emotional stimulation, the physical stimulation of these event has to be very similar to what you are doing. The reason why I want  to show you Miro is how do you get those, how do you ensure the presentation is accurate.


  • How do you get people to actually give you insights and reflections through a screen?

  • How do you get the physical stimulation?


You know, you can change the speakers, you can send out a pre-meeting snack bag as a reminder.

The thing about is that you've invited 25 people, you do up 25 snack bags and say "don't forget about our meeting tonight", this is for you to enjoy while we're chatting. Perfect! It's a simple snack bag, it could be a candy bag or a little something and everyone goes "wow, that was awesome".


Now they get there (the meeting) and everyone is going to eat their treats and it turns it (event) into a positive experience.

That's another type of thing that can be done. You can also offer different visual cues and platforms (which I am going to show you).

I'm going to jump quickly to talk about Miro which is a bonus of visual engagements and show you what you can do. You can design your (Indigenous) engagement and do a bunch of different activities.


You can vote, you can set priorities and have fun. The even can be recorded, so you don't forget (similar to this one). The images can be exported into reports.

Once you've done your engagements, there's this one big thing that virtual can let you just cut and paste your screens into your reports.


You don't have to retype them or do anything and it's the actual thing. The last thing is that it's an opportunity to document and save (in digital format), historical teachings and opinions. In 20 years people are going to say "why did we decide this? What we're we talking about then?".

Virtual engagements actually preserve that information over time if it's in digital format.

I do want to try and do a quick kind of virtual engagement. The input will be recorded virtually in one that I call the hybrid. It's going to be recorded virtually by Tiffany (CIPS Project Administrative Coordinator) but your comments will be facilitated by me.


I'm doing all the comments and all the whiteboard stuff you're not actually interacting with your screen but I'm going to ask you some questions as we move forward.

This is the platform for Miro. Some of you may be able to see that CIPS icon moving around. That's actually not me, that's Tiffany. Tiffany can move her mouse around and show you that she has got control and if we were all doing this together all of our mics would be on there. All of our mics (which you can turn off as well if it gets too crazy) but you can see people interacting with each other on the screen.

You may say "I don't know how to work it" but you do have some set up (Miro) that you have to do. You can see that I have 3 different sessions that I want to do today. All I really need to do is go to a certain frame and bring that up for you.


As you get that frame up you can see that you can do a normal presentation slide that you would do any other time.


Talk about the agenda for example we're going to do an Curve Lake strategic planning session. We're going to do a welcoming, work to date, we're going to have a Miro engagement, next steps and adjourn.

That's always there. I can always switch (the frame) out. This may seem complicated but it's not (really). Two clicks and we're already into our next survey element.


Tiffany (as you can see) has put up the instructions on the board. She's going to bring in the dots and if you have ever been to one of your community meetings where you put a dot on something that you like.


Tiffany is going pull up some dots and put them on the scree for us.

As you can see, all of our names are on there. If you pre-invited people than Chief Cory will have a blue dot, Councilor Molly will have a yellow dot, Councilor Nancy...You can actually identify who says what (if you want) or it could be the green, yellow and red. A green dot means I love it, a yellow dot means I'm not sure and red I hate it. You can do a lot of different things with your dot voting.

What I'm going to do now is, work with Ted. Ted is orange (dot) and Ted (first question), cat vs dog? What is yours? (Ted says) dog. Ok, that was kind of fun but if we do that across the board and it wasn't hybrid where we invited you and we're doing all this on the same platform, you would just do this with your own mouse. It will take two seconds where Ted can actually move something (or I can do it) or Tiffany has done it. Now this is me doing it and I've chosen Cory as a cat person and you're going to have a number of dots over a particular question.

So, Molly, I'm going to ask dog or hamburger? Veggie burger! (Mike) we didn't have that so that's a good one so veggie burger so not a veggie dog, we'll say that. We have reading vs TV for Nancy. (Nancy answers) TV.

Cory, I'm going to ask you daytime vs nighttime? (Cory answers nighttime). Kerry-Ann, beach or the woods? (Kerry-Ann answers the woods). For me (Mike) Coke vs Pepsi it was always diet coke. So you can see how you can do a virtual engagement now fairly easy.


Yes it takes some set up and yes it takes some understanding of some software but if you thought about your climate change questions and what you wanted to do you can have a community now actually drop dots.

Do that dot exercise, virtually. It's here for you now and this, now what you can do is that this is always digitally saved. You will always be able to refer to this and people will say "where does this go?".


Always have that platform. You say "ok, that's great but no one actually got to talk to me or do anything".

Ok, let's go to the next one. The next type you can have is an input session. We've all done it where we write on sticky notes and went to the board and put it on the wall. You can ask the question "did you do the sticky notes?".


This is absolutely something that we can do. What I'm going to ask everyone is what you like for Christmas and we'll go around again. We'll start again with you Ted and he is the purple. Ted, what would you like for Christmas? (Ted) I want a new guitar for Christmas.


Molly, what would you like? I'd like a covid vaccine. (Mike) There we go, good one.


Nancy, what would you like? I need a vaccum. (Mike) Very good. Cory, what would you like for Christmas? I was also going to say a vacuum but a Roomba. (Mike) Nice! Alright...It's also a great example.


Kerry-Ann, what would you like for Christmas? I would like to be on a beach somewhere. A vacation! (Mike) Good.

Now, you know, you got all these people and again this is a hybrid that I am asking you the question. We're putting them in when you're actually working together and have a group of people, you can be typing these in yourself and do 5, 6 or 10 or whatever you want.


Tiffany is sort of you showing right now (can you show us how you dropped in a new one). It's a drag and drop and there's a new one that you can add.


You have your colour and afterwards you can have a discussion.."ok, everyone thinks that this is what we like for Christmas but vacuums are actually the most popular".  

Everyone put on their notes, vacuums are the most popular and you can start to analyze these things. Right now, there's a lot of different software that do very similar things and I'm only showing you one.


I don't get paid by Miro (I don't get paid to do that), this isn't a sort of a sales pitch. What I want you to realize is that there is opportunity to do your (Indigenous) engagements the way you done them before as long as you can get your people online, on the phone and communicating.


This is two people, Tiffany and I working together and she's grouping them together quite easily and quite quickly. At the end, we're actually going to have a visual display that can go right into your report.

Usually what we do now is take a picture using our camera. Now we want to have it the other way, where you can have what looks like a nicely produced element out of this.

I just wanted to show you that quickly as a little end to my spiel before you get into your meeting. There are other elements and more depth that we can get into and engagement and how you do it but I think (in times of covid)


I just want everyone to know that there are other options. There are ways to make your engagements more effective now and historically and into the future (I think) so Kerry-Ann, I'm going to pass it over to you to monitor a question and answer that would be great.

Otherwise Tiffany and I will stop here and let you go to your other meeting.

(Kerry-Ann CIPS Environmental Partnership Coordinator) Sure Mike, that was awesome. Thank you! I even learned something new (I always learn something from you!).


With that being said, Does anyone have any questions that they want to pose to Mike about what he's put forward here in regards to community engagement?


Like he said, he's been in this, the community engagement world for many, many years. He's very, very good at it and if you have any questions for him, please fire away.

(Nancy) I have a few comments. This is all new to us but in our community. We just opened our school and we had 5 community engagements before we opened our school. Some of this stuff you were talking about we did do.


Trying to get that population and we got a really good turnout for our schools so we got about, in total 20 parents. It's been really, really good and I enjoyed your presentation though. It gave me more ideas moving forward with this particular project. (Mike) Great. Thank you Nancy.

(Kerry-Ann) Ted or Cory did you have any comments or questions for Mike.

(Mike) Ted, it looks like you jumped on first. (Ted) I'm a little bit curious about, when you do this Miro do you do it in combination with a video chat service?


That doesn't have it's own (multi platform). You're using Zoom plus Miro.

(Mike) Yes, Miro has it's own video platform.

(Ted) Oh, it has it's own video platform?

(MiKe) Yes, you would have to invite people to Miro. I just didn't want you all to have to register. You have to sign up for Miro and do an account but you would do a Miro engagement in Miro.


I'm doing a shared screen and they (Miro) do a lot of the similar things with shared screen but absolutely it's a video platform itself.


(Ted) A sort of follow up (question), we're actually about to do some meetings in the Northwestern part of Ontario where they want to meet in person but I will be here in Toronto, not in person and I can kind of seeing this working because the note taking can be something that I can see and that they can see. Can you see this working, in that kind of way?


(Mike) Yes, absolutely. They can have tablets, they can have a computer and you can be running this screen. As people respond to you and I think this is important to have a Tiffany (CIPS Project Administrative Coordinator) in the back.


While you're talking you got someone typing and managing the platform. It's just like any other whiteboard, right? You're putting things up on the whiteboard. You have to really think out what questions you want to ask but each question will have it's own sort of response rate.


You can do voting on this as well. There's alot more to this and I want to show you that you can do your old ways in a new way too. Your Chief and Council has done this 800 times and you go "I know what I'm doing here, I put my sticker note here and know what to do".


Yes, absolutely I see this working and again, planning is the big part because you need to know what your report needs to look like, you need to want the progression of your questions and the open ended things.


You'll be taking notes just like any other facilitated session because what I would ask you now is "vacuum cleaners, so what's the best kind of vacuum cleaner that you might like?" and somebody else might be taking notes that's outside of Miro platform.


What gives you a visual is much more interesting than you being in front of that great big screen. It really is. Like I said, if you do it well you can see these things happening, you can see Tiffany just sort of moving around and showing how easily things get maneuvered and it looks great.


We've been working on this for about a week so we're not experts in it at all. We know how to set up an engagement so setting up frames for us is pretty easy. It's just intuitive for us so I think that's important for you Ted.  

Cory, I think you had something to say as well?

(Cory) I just want to say thank you so much for sharing this. It's a great presentation and I learned alot from it. It looks like a super fun way to interact. It's very colourful and you know, and it also caters to different peoples learning types so some people are more visual learners. It can keep them engaged and sometimes I feel that people sometimes struggle with the online interaction. I think this is great and I want to thank you so much for sharing. I am definitely going to dig into this a little further to see how it may work with my program.

(Mike) Obviously there is a subscription fee with it and you get an organizational subscription. We find it to be reasonably priced for us. I think it has some good value that way and you can see the notes and you can make it look pretty. It looks professional and compared to my hand writing this looks way better, right?

(Kerry-Ann) Lloyd, did you have any comments, questions or anything like that?

(Lloyd) Thanks Mike, that was great. Definitely eye opening for someone like me who is learning all these technologies and certainly great pointers around engagement in general which hopefully I can apply in my work as well.


(Mike) Obviously, engagement is huge and there is a lot of different things that we can talk about. In this short time I wish you got a bit of information and if you'd like more there's more, if you need help, there's help. Just reach out to Kerry-Ann and she'll be able to point you in the right direction.

I do appreciate your time and pass it over to Kerry-Ann and Tiffany and I will say bye.

Does your organization or business need help with Indigenous engagement or awareness? Please contact us, we have 30 plus years of direct experience developing Indigenous Engagement strategies and protocols. To book a Zoom meeting with me, Mike Jacobs, CEO of Cambium Indigenous Professional Services, please click here. I will be more than happy to talk with you.

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