The value of communicating infrastructure projects to communities

Communicating the value of a project can feel daunting at the best of times. This has only been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the community in many different ways. Recently, the Australian infrastructure sector has received additional Federal and State funding. This is to boost jobs and growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While this provides much-needed relief for the infrastructure sector one of the biggest challenges faced by the infrastructure industry is being able to communicate the value of projects to stakeholders during a time that feels uncertain. Should you require more information on stakeholder engagement view our perspective on An agile approach to stakeholder engagement for the COVID-19 era Here are three ways to communicate the value of a project to your stakeholders.

1. Describe benefits using accessible language

An integral part of communicating with the broader community about a project is ensuring that the projects information is accessible and easy to understand. Sometimes, when you are a subject matter expert it can be easy to forget that technical terms may be uncommon or have different meaning in everyday language. For the community to value the project the community must understand:

  • what the project is
  • who the project is run by
  • how the project benefits the community.

2. Provide consistent messaging

Consistent messaging is vital for maintaining the support from the community. From a stakeholder perspective, receiving inconsistent messaging about a project can:

  • cause confusion
  • frustration
  • potentially lead to reduction in trust.

For a project to be valued and understood by the community, the narrative and objectives must remain the same throughout the duration of the project. One key way of delivering consistent messaging is to ensure project information is consistent across all platforms, and communicate when and where changes have been made. Should you require more information on stakeholder engagement view our perspective on 7 Building blocks for authentic stakeholder engagement.

3. Plan information sessions

Community information sessions provide a great opportunity for stakeholder collaboration. Having the community actively involved in projects establishes a strong rapport between the project team and the public.

Good information sessions offer:

  • two-way communication allowing for new perspectives to emerge
  • proactive decision-making and delivery that can better address the needs of the community.

Lastly, although the methods through which community information sessions are delivered may be different in light of COVID-19, they remain an instrumental tool for generating shared value among stakeholder groups.

Are you looking for support?

Should you require support with your stakeholder engagement and consultation on high-profile, contentious, and politically sensitive projects please contact our Group Executive Director Sarah McCreesh.