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2 Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations noise issues that have been identified at domestic and international airports. This chapter intro- duces the airport manager to the Guidebook and how public engagement, as opposed to one-way communication techniques, can benefit all sizes of airports; posits that a culture shift toward building relationships is necessary; provides a list of six best practices that characterize an effec- tive communications program; and provides basic information about noise and its abatement to assist in responding to public inquiries. This document is intended for all airport managers who seek to better their relationships with surrounding communities. This Guidebook suggests tools useful to initiate a new or upgrade an existing program of communication with public and private stakeholders about noise issues. Purpose of the Guidebook This document is intended to be a guidebook designed for airport managers and sponsors to help them improve their communications with the public about issues related to aircraft noise exposure. Communications involves an "exchange" of messages, ideas or information. An exchange implies two-way activity and can be achieved through various means: speech, writing, graphics, electronic media, and even by tone of voice and body language. Airports may fail to effectively communicate with the stakeholders about aircraft noise if they use only "one-way" techniques. For improved communications, airports must proactively engage the public in a two-way flow of information. Engagement creates opportunities to deliver improved understanding. It establishes a more consistent framework for both airport staff and policy makers to make more informed decisions about important issues. It fosters enthusiasm and excitement about best planning practices, and involves the public in important policy considerations. Engagement improves communication by advancing the airport staff's credibility and contributing to an atmosphere of trust. The pub- lic comes to feel as if they are part of the solution rather than being manipulated through a series of required procedural steps. As planners and managers engage a community, their capacities for brainstorming and knowledge are extended, and they grow as providers of public service. How to Use the Guidebook The intended audience of this Guidebook is managers of all sizes of airports. · For small airports staffed perhaps only by the airport manager, it provides ideas to consider and basic direction for a communications approach that can be successful immediately and also evolve as the airport grows. · For medium-sized airports, there is not only basic direction, but also suggestions on staffing and basic communication techniques. · For large airports, there are ideas for refinement of the basic approach, as well as ideas for improv- ing techniques or strategies that may already be in place. For every airport, the first three chapters provide the fundamentals of: · What techniques are identified as the best practices in airport communication, · Why building a relationship with the public can be beneficial to the airport as well as the public, and · What outcomes an airport should expect if it does build a good relationship with the surround- ing community.