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Constructive Candor

Use Duct Tape (Tip #6 in PI Toolbox)

Duct tape was originally invented to tightly bind together two objects. This tape was made differently from the standard scotch tape or masking tape. Developed to be durable, stronger and more reliable. You just couldn't break this tape. Did you know as a Public Involvement facilitator you may need to use duct tape to accomplish your job? 


Wear Tennis Shoes (Tip #5 in PI Toolbox)

Successful political campaigns depend on mobilizing people to vote.  According to the US Census Bureau, leaders running for political office shouldn't generally expect more than 60% of the constituents to vote.  So, aspiring politicians with the need to build name recognition among voters must resort to "door belling" -- a  concept I hadn't been introduced to until a couple of years ago when a friend asked me to door bell for a local community leader with political aspirations.  I believed in this leader's message and wanted to help share who he is, what he stands for, and why our neighbors should vote for him.  I door belled for 4 hours and I was exhausted.  I have to confess I can't imagine door belling every day for two to eight hours!  This is the truest form of grassroots politicking and commitment to a cause. 

While I knocked on doors, I met all kinds of people:  those interested in politics, those disgusted by politics, and those who didn't want to talk.  Ringing door bells allowed me to interact directly with my community.  You never knew who would open their door and what story they may be interested in telling if I took the time to listen.  My tennis shoes became an essential tool in completing my task.

In Tip #5 of our Public Involvement Toolbox, I'm going to emphasize the value of door to door stakeholder outreach to gather valuable public input.


Stakeholder Database Made Easy (Tip #4 in PI Toolbox)

One important element of your Public Involvement effort is keeping track of all your project’s stakeholders. This can be especially vital when project funding and environmental processes require specific public outreach notifications (ex: SEPA or NEPA requirements). This is a task that can quickly become overwhelming once you consider your complete stakeholder list and additional information you are wanting to keep track of, such as:

  • Personal contact information
  • Address and location information
  • Attendance at project events
  • Distribution of project collateral
  • Other correspondence or specific interaction

A thorough and consistent stakeholder database is key in order to utilize it as the vast information tool it is. A complete database is full of great statistics and facts regarding your project achievements as well as an important historical reference.  In the video below I share a database program that we use called Smartsheet that we have found great success in. It integrates well with Google Mail, can easily be exported into multiple other formats, and also allows for all of your project team to view the most updated information regarding your stakeholder outreach in real time. This feature can be invaluable, especially if you have more than one point of contact for stakeholders to reach out to with questions and concerns. 

I'd love to hear from you about tools you have used to track your stakeholder outreach.  Call, email, or message me on Linkedin.  

For more tips and trends regarding Public Involvement, see our Public Involvement Toolbox


Creating a Project Website (Tip #3 in PI Toolbox)

Keeping your stakeholders and the community informed of project status updates can be daunting; especially if you have several means of communicating with them:  i.e. social media, print material, agency website, etc. One great way to ensure consistent messaging while maintaining current real time information about the project to the greater community and stakeholders is to establish a project website.  This website can easily link to your agency site so that it’s easy to find.

In Tip # 3 of our Public Involvement Toolbox, I’m going to walk you through five misconceptions of this underestimated and valuable tool.  


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