Sometimes, Over Communication is Key
Nothing can be more frustrating than hearing during the final hour that your residents are upset about a development proposal, a master plan, or any other long-term project, especially when you have spent considerable time trying to reach and engage them. Unfortunately, in today’s world, there are more segmented groups than ever. Doing everything you can to reach these groups and get their input is key.
Partnering for Parker's Progress (P3) experienced this situation first hand when a small group derailed a development proposal in the final hours. To combat the ongoing issue of miscommunication in Parker, and to try and avoid this same result, this time they have implemented several different solutions to engage their residents early, answer their questions and get their input during the process.
To engage those who are online posting to social media and NextDoor, P3 has created a website dedicated to engaging residents. On this website, they can ask questions about what residents want to see developed in Parker, provide answers to frequently asked questions, share each step of the project, and host important documents to help residents understand the project.
This online website is key for those groups who use the Internet to get their information. Easily linking from social media, email newsletters, and providing documentation is a great way to spread information to the digital savvy residents.
For the residents who aren’t as comfortable taking surveys online, P3 has made sure to engage these residents as well. First, each month, P3 promotes the website in the Town newsletter with an article update about where the project is, and the kind of engagement residents can expect when they visit the online website.
For those who are still interested in sharing their opinions, but are really uncomfortable going online, P3 has created a poster that will be displayed in Town Hall. This area will feature many of the same engagement opportunities in paper form. Even in 2018, it’s important to remember that not all your residents are comfortable online. Whether it’s age or connectivity issues within your Town, make sure you provide engagement opportunities for those who shy away from engaging online.
Throughout the summer P3 also plans to piggyback on popular local events and have a presence there. These in-person opportunities allow for real conversations between those working for the Town and residents and will give them a chance to air their concerns.
As you work on the communication efforts for you development proposal or master plan it may be easy to focus on a single media. It’s important to always consider every way you can connect with your residents. Just because you prefer to connect in a certain way doesn’t mean that everyone shares your preference.