Byways 101

Part 3: Public & Community Involvement

Learning Objective #2: Developing A Public Participation Strategy

List important elements of developing a public participation strategy.

Develop A Participation Strategy

The types of meetings that you have, the ways and places in which you bring people together, the decision-making processes you use, the dispute resolution methods you practice, and the ways in which you allocate responsibilities are all elements of a participation strategy.

How you proceed in each of these areas depends upon the types of participants who are working with you. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Understand the lifestyles of the people you have involved. If people are retired, they may be able to devote more time. If they have children, and/or work full-time, their time may be more limited. Are they accustomed to night meetings? Do they already have too many night meetings?

Plan your meetings accordingly. Let people know when there will be a break between major tasks, and for those who are especially busy, ask them to attend particular meetings at particular times to maximize their contributions.

Offer alternative means of involvement and communication beyond attending meetings to maximize opportunities for interested participants.

Determine previous experiences and special skills. How much experience do they have with public service? Will writing up sections of the inventory be a chore or easy for these people? Are they comfortable with cameras? Are they comfortable with public speaking? Do they have the expertise to do gather and assess relevant data, or is it necessary to hire professionals in subject areas to help guide the group?

By considering these things and planning in advance, you can begin to devise a participation strategy that takes advantage of your group’s strengths.

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