Planning Your Next Big Project? Communication Tips to Remember.

It should come as no surprise that the art of communicating is critical when taking on a large project that impacts the public.

One such endeavor that is underway in Minot, N.D., is the Downtown Infrastructure Improvements Project. A three-year phased project, this undertaking impacts 26 city blocks, 200 businesses, approximately 150 rental units, and thousands of drivers and pedestrians. It goes without saying that this project sorely needs good communication.

In a recent North Dakota Planning Association Newsletter, we laid out some of the tips and lessons learned from the first year of the project.
  1. Allow yourself plenty of time prior to the first shovel being turned or first road closure sign being placed to communicate directly and repeatedly with your key audiences.
  2. Don’t assume that because you told one person the relevant news one time that they will remember and believe what you told them.
  3. Take the time to write down and understand your key talking points.
  4. Celebrate, appropriately, your successes and milestones during the project.
  5. Telling the truth doesn’t mean sharing everything and it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be happy.
  6. Respond evenly to your critics with facts and basic information to share about the project.
Now the challenge is to take these items, critically analyze your efforts in communicating with the public, and make improvements. We all deserve the best when it comes to knowing and understanding the latest information about high-impact projects in our communities. 

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