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5-Principles Graphic

Through good engagement, RCAs can enable a balanced conversation where all voices are heard and perspectives are more informed.

The Transport Agency has created five principles for positive engagement based on a review of successful engagements in communities around New Zealand and an action plan to help you engage:

The 5 Principles of Engagement are included in the Speed Management Guide.

1. Lay the groundwork, and take your time

    • Plan. Don’t rush and you’ll see the benefits
    • Think about who you need to speak with to make sure you connect with the right people right away
    • Map out your milestones. This will help you identify opportunities to engage and interact with your community, including local media
    • Anticipate your community’s concerns before you engage. This will make it easier to respond in an open, clear and direct way
    • Be clear about why it’s important to engage with your community, and how it can help

2. Listen, really listen

    • Put your ear to the ground – find out what’s going on in your organisation, analyse media coverage, conduct community research, and build an understanding of your community before you engage
    • Pay close attention to what your community is saying to better understand their concerns
    • Demonstrate you’ve really listened by adapting your programme to reflect their views and show them what you’ve done

3. Engage many voices

    • Generate interest and support for your proposal by sharing messages and communications widely and in a variety of ways
    • Identify and train your spokespeople to be ‘advocates’ for your programme
    • Try to be the first person to spread any news about your programme

4. Get out there, tell the story

    • Talk, and talk some more. Don’t walk away from tough conversations
    • Help the media tell your story by working with, and regularly updating, them
    • Go where the people are and make it easy for them to come to you e.g. hold community meetings, drop-in sessions or knock on doors
    • Connect in a way that is suitable for the audience you’re trying to engage e.g. social media for younger people, flyers at the library for older people
    • Tell the right story to the right audience and in a timely way, e.g. if it’s about a residential road, focus on the residents and give them time to think
    • Keep it simple: use clear messages, provide strong, neutral facts, use plain English to explain your proposals, steer clear of jargon

5. Keep it up

    • Engagement can be the difference between success and failure. So, start engaging well before you begin to consult, and keep it going throughout
    • Seek out and include a range of views. This could lead to solutions you might not otherwise consider