Asking for "one thing" that can make or break success will always bring lots of opinions. We gathered our internal team and found that our answers were on opposite sides of the same coin, but still boiled down to the same idea: gain stakeholder trust.
Gain Trust by Keeping The Public’s Biggest Questions In Mind At All Times
Foresight’s Senior Communications Lead (and former Public Involvement Officer for TxDOT Beaumont District), Marc Shepherd, shares this insight:
“The message should always answer stakeholders’ question of, “What will this do for me?” and should be reinforced throughout the project.
“We can build trust by openly acknowledging that there may be some temporary pain points, but we also need to focus on what the project will achieve in the long run: relief from frustrating bottlenecks, safer intersections with fewer and/or less severe crashes, shorter commute times, easier access to businesses, etc. establishing trust with the public and reinforcing the need for the project on an ongoing basis – from planning through construction.”
Gain Trust by Sharing Often and Openly
Foresight's Planner and Public Involvement Specialist, Shannon Murphy had this to say:
"In my opinion, the one thing that makes the biggest difference is transparency with the public. This means sharing information often and openly.
"In one of our CEI projects, we learned about a ramp closure that would negatively affect many frontage road businesses in the area for about 6 weeks, potentially reducing their customers during that time. We needed to let them know about this closure as early as possible so they could make other plans. We went door-to-door with fliers that informed them of the modified route, closure duration, and our contact information.
"The businesses thanked us! They were grateful to know that our client cared about the potential impact to their business. We love it when our PI work strengthens our client's relationship with the public. Our clients really do care. This simple example is a reminder that everyone benefits when we proactively take time to reconnect the public with our clients and the project at hand."
Marc, Shannon, and the rest of the team love solving communication issues , and always look for ways to reduce/remove issues before they even become a problem. If you're looking for a PI teaming partner, give us a call.