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Guidebook 9 The Communication Process 2 Chapter The Communication Process Communication can be a powerful means to Communicating value, or worth, is more than further your research agenda. Without it, your providing numbers, as in benefit-cost formulas. research may have little influence on public Decision makers frequently assess value in policy, provide fewer overall public benefits, and terms of how they perceive the importance decrease support for future research. Successfully and worthiness of the research outcomes. The communicating the value of your research invisible, intangible perceptions they form and generally leads to some sort of action, such as will remember can mean the difference between building support for or a better understanding funding a transportation research program or of the research. This result in turn can open the project or cutting it. door to new or additional funding and lead to the adoption of new technologies, designs, and structures in transportation engineering and "Successful communication construction projects. sends the right message in the What does "value" mean? Definitions include right medium. It also uses the "worth," "desirability," and "a suitable equivalent for appropriate messenger to deliver something else." Transportation research is often considered valuable when the result is perceived the message to the proper audience." to be worth an amount equal to or greater than the funds spent on it--the return on investment. Therefore, a key step in communicating the value You can inform and influence these perceptions of your research is helping your audience grasp with a skillfully applied communication process or this exchange. plan. The challenge is in anticipating, interpreting, and describing the social benefits that may come Communicating value means helping from your research results--the real value of transportation research--in ways that resonate your audience realize the benefit of your with your audience. research and return on investment. Research Investment = Value + Benefit