When going into a public involvement meeting identifying when you lose your audience can be the difference between success and failure. Also essential is understanding your target audience and addressing their concerns visually, converting their objections. When you hear no at a public involvement meeting, do you think roadblock or opportunity?
If the aim of public involvement is to encourage purposeful input into the decision-making process, then this naturally opens the door to objections and outright no’s. However, with the right tools that inform and build trust, you can overcome obstacles.
In the transportation industry, for example, presenting urban design upgrades in a business district that addresses traffic calming, parking issues, accessibility codes and the creation of a pedestrian gathering place can be overwhelming to stakeholders. The use of well thought out support media such as renderings or animations can quell concerns and answer questions. However, what happens if a stakeholder asks about the design view from a particular location, such as their business window, that’s not covered in the available media? What if there are multiple alternatives that are being considered from that same unique vantage point? How does it affect your ability to communicate effectively with these potential objectors?
Here is where you can turn the potential negative into a positive by adding an additional visualization tool to your toolbox. This new tool (it’s actually not that new) is Immersive and Interactive Visualization. Responding to the stakeholders’ concern ‘on the fly’ will more often than not put them at ease since you revealed rather than concealed and answered their question. More often than we probably consider an objection is not necessarily rooted in a desire to derail the project rather stake a claim and be part of the process.
Using this additional technology in your public involvement presentations actually invites dialogue, and can be your early warning system and identify unseen concerns. Other advantages include transparency and immersion.
If you’re managing a large infrastructure project or trying to navigate a strict budget don’t look for the exit when you’re presented with a no. Instead, engage, immerse and interact with stakeholders to achieve real-time solutions and potentially convert an objection into an endorsement.