- Do the research! Analyze the concerns. Evaluate the values underlying the comments and questions. Frame clear and specific answers to the best of your ability.
- Create an event summary or What we heard report and make it publicly available (perhaps on your organization’s or a local stakeholder’s website). Be sure to include the key questions and insights (positive and negative) the community shared, as well as updates on the process.
Make the time for personal connections with stakeholders as the opportunity arises.
- Have transparent announcements about which process is currently underway (perhaps an update on a website).
- Follow up with additional sessions.
- Keep momentum by spacing out the sessions. Don’t set too much or too little time between sessions and follow up consistently with feedback.
- Be supportive and encouraging of community efforts to engage.
- Do not ignore feedback gathered in the meetings.
- Reflect periodically with both developer and community voices on the process; how is it working and what are we learning?
Have a communication plan that includes those who have not attended; seeking to encourage their participation.
- Create a clear picture of how you organized and used input from previous sessions. This shows community members how and where what they shared has influenced the journey together.
- Have a person who can be the consistent face for the project—someone who is available and can answer questions, even over a cup of coffee.
In the next sessions:
- Verbally (and in writing!) report back what you heard and the answers to the questions. This shows you listened, you did your research and you have made a meaningful effort to address people’s concerns.
- If people submitted an idea, share (or at least be prepared to share) why you did or did not use it.