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Top tips

Below is a summary of the Top Tips from the planning section.

Top tips for Planning

  • Supporting lived experience-led activities requires a wholehearted commitment to the principles of influence and participation.
  • It's essential to recognise that people with lived experience have skills, knowledge, and experience to contribute equally with the staff at all levels.
  • It's critical to take an asset-based approach – focus on what people can do instead of what they cannot do.
  • Be clear about the nature of the work that people can get involved in. Be specific about what people can and cannot influence.
  • Focus on the outcomes you want to achieve and minimise all activities unrelated to these outcomes.
  • Adhere to the principle of reciprocity – people should get something back for putting something in.

Top tips for developing your opportunity

  • Use plain English, avoid jargon and avoid acronyms.
  • Aim to include all relevant information on 1 page of A4, any more than this, and people lose interest. If you need to give more information, direct them to a webpage or person explaining more.
  • Be clear about the skills and experiences you are looking for – having these listed as 4-5 bullet points makes it easier for people to see if they meet your criteria. Go to the Recruitment and selection page for more information.
  • Write a role description for all opportunities that will require several meetings or interactions. This description will clarify what both parties can expect in advance and outline the skills/knowledge you need of participants, thus aiding people to decide about taking part.

Top tips for recruitment and selection

  • Be clear in your promotion what skills and experiences people need to take part in, ensure they know how to explain these to you and that you will use this information to make your selection.
  • Try to select as diverse a group of people as possible you want to have a wide range of people and experiences influencing your work. Bear in mind that by making clear you are seeking a diverse range of people and will provide reasonable adjustments, you are more likely to attract a more diverse set of applicants.
  • Remember, not everyone will have internet access or will be able to use a computer; ensure there are various ways to apply, including postal and over the telephone.

Top tips for support to offer

  • Training (for longer-term roles).
  • Holding a pre-meet to discuss agenda items and answer any questions.
  • Reminder texts / e-mails / phone call.
  • Offer to support them to create a plan that details what to do / who they can contact if they become distressed.
  • Accompanying people to interviews or events.
  • Booking and paying for travel in advance in case the cost of this is a barrier to them taking part.

Top tips in Diversity and Difference

  • Ask other teams or people who have worked with marginalised groups for advice if there's anything you're not sure about.
  • Think carefully about who you need or want to take part in and what methods you'll use. Make sure your methods are appropriate and engaging for your participants.
  • Build relationships with influencers and key people within the communities you want to engage with.
  • Everybody has individual experiences and perceptions of what having a mental health problem means, which is sometimes called a model of reality. Work from within the community's model of reality; don't try to impose yours.
  • Being inclusive doesn't mean treating everyone in the same way. It is crucial to think about how You should adapt your activities or materials to be relevant for different groups you are trying to engage with.
  • Try not to make assumptions; it's better to ask questions than think you know what's suitable for somebody.
  • It's okay to ask people what they need and want.
  • It's okay to say you don't know.
  • It's okay to get things wrong; no one will expect you to know everything.
  • Make sure you plan thoroughly; never underestimate the scope of what you might need to factor in.

Tools in this section

Annual influence and participation planning

This tool can help you identify how people will participate in each stage of your work and ensure people can meaningfully influence your outcome at the earliest opportunity and beyond.

With instructions | Without instructions

Application form

This tool helps those interested to tell you about themselves. It will help you make informed decisions about who should take part.

With instructions | Without instructions

Creating a group agreement

If you're asking people to join a one-off focus group or discussion event, a group agreement lets everyone know where they stand and helps to create a safe space for openness and honesty. If you're setting up a regular forum, make sure you have some terms of reference in place to define expectations. 

With instructions | Without instructions

Developing your opportunity

To make sure you're taking everything into account when planning your activity, you might find this 'Developing your opportunity' template of use. It takes you through all the things you need to consider to promote your opportunity and attract the people you want to reach. 

With instructions | Without instructions

Identifying participants

You can use this tool to help you think about which audiences and particular groups you would like to take part in your work, the methods you need to use and who can help you do this.

With instructions | Without instructions

Invoice for involvement

You could use this invoice template as a guide when paying people to be part of your participation activity or develop your own.

With instructions | Without instructions

Thinking about your timeline

Use this tool to situate your influence and participation activities into the bigger picture of your work, which will help you run meaningful initiatives that have the maximum level of impact.

With instructions | Without instructions

How menu

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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