Coastal Training Program - Jacques Cousteau NERR & Barnegat Bay Partnership

Risk Communication

What is public engagement and why is it important?

Public engagement is a process in which officials and residents, as well as other stakeholders, work together to share information, ideas, and goals. This two-way process is a crucial component of your municipality’s information gathering process. This can be as basic as holding a public hearing or as complex as hosting a series of intensive multi-day workshops.

undefinedWhile the professionals in your government have a substantial amount of knowledge, your residents also know a lot about their property and neighborhoods. They can identify localized problems and propose solutions. They also are a crucial voice in helping shape your community’s future growth, development, and community character. In order for you to effectively engage your community, residents need to be informed about the issues. That’s where effective communication comes in.

What is effective communication and why is it important?

Communication is a part of the public engagement process. In order to be effective, your message must be heard and interpreted correctly. Effective communication means making the message accessible to everyone. It means not using jargon or language only experts understand. It also means repeating and reframing the same message so that more people have a chance to understand what you’re saying and why it matters. Without effective communication, you can’t fully educate your residents and that means they can’t fully participate in the public engagement process.

Next: How communication and engagement inform the resilience process


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