Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is a key to effective consultation. Ways to ensure that you are communicating effectively include:

  • being proactive and positive
  • listening and acknowledging views: consultation is a two-way process
  • being responsive; follow-up as needed
  • avoiding jargon and acronyms
  • communicating information at the appropriate level of your audience
  • ensuring all written information is concise, in plain English and easy to read
  • not overloading people with too much information at one time
  • getting to know people and developing relationships
  • respecting tikanga Maori
  • ensuring that you are accessible and responsive by following through on sending out any promised information, responding to phone calls, and giving people feedback on their comments if possible
  • not raising unrealistic expectations about the level of influence that consultation may have on plan development and what a plan can achieve.

Several different approaches can be taken to consult and communicate effectively with different audiences. Some of these approaches could include:

  • running interactive workshops or meetings that facilitate free and open discussions
  • holding meetings of special-interest groups
  • developing discussion documents, and asking people to comment on them
  • holding meetings focused on particular issues
  • asking people simple questions to provoke responses such as "what do you like/not like", "what do you want to change"
  • carrying out perception or satisfaction surveys
  • using interactive websites or media
  • using participatory appraisal processes