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6 Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations Best Practices in Achieving Effective Communications: 6 Keys Airport surveys, follow-up interviews, case studies, literature reviews, and professional experience were reviewed to identify the fundamental ideas that would help managers of air- ports of all sizes implement an effective noise communications approach. Managers may use these best practices to assess their own approach to communicating with the public about air- craft noise and determine where, or if, they could make changes that would improve public Airport Survey engagement. Comments Communication needs Build Trust Through "Good" Two-Way Communications to mean constructive involvement, not just a Trust and respect are the keys to a long-term relationship between the airport and commu- one-way thing. (LGB) nity groups. They require proactive involvement with the public and other interest groups using interactive techniques. Although the relationship may at times shift from collaborative to adver- sarial, efforts toward building trust and respect through engaged communications will ultimately result in an understanding of each parties position. A singular focus on educating the public will not build relationships, nor will it build trust. Regular attendance at Put Senior Leadership Out Front the Roundtable or Forum by the Airport When groups have something important at stake they look to an organization's leader for Director builds a cul- clues on its approach and as the ultimate authority on decisions and conflict resolution. Airport ture of the importance of noise abatement staff, user representatives, and the public will look to the words and attitudes expressed by the within the airport and senior airport management to guide their own attitudes and responses. The presence of airport encourages other upper level management brings other decision makers to the table, and can help in the resolu- important decision- tion of issues. makers like elected officials, tower repre- sentatives and users to Use Graphics to Illustrate the Message attend. (SFO) Advancements in computer software continue to allow visualization of real life and virtual Participation of the "What If" scenarios. A picture is worth a thousand words and animated pictures may be Airport Director and worth a million in effectively explaining the concepts of aircraft noise to a non-technical pub- the FAA can be impor- tant at big public lic. Audiences seem to better understand concepts conveyed through visual presentations, and meetings because of factual data that illustrates issues through charts, graphs and video clips. With graphics, their authority and audiences tend to become more positively engaged with the presenter and the issues. expertise. People tend to believe them. (LGB) Highly visual Have a Transparent Process approaches that are Public mistrust of the airport and its motives is at the foundation of most airport conflicts. Con- interesting and color- ful are successful in sistent openness and truthfulness, demonstrated by telling people what is known, as soon as it can communications on be told, in a transparent planning process, builds lasting trust. the web and written materials. (SFO) Select Staff for Service-Oriented Attitude (People-Skills) Keep each other informed. Keep every- An emerging realization, strongly supported by airports that have successful public commu- body in the loop. Be nications programs, is that a "public service attitude" and "people skills" are equally important open as much as possi- to technical skills among noise staff members. Community interest groups strongly agree. Air- ble; tell them things if at all possible. (Boston ports with no noise staff must work to see that all employees who might respond to noise con- CAC) cerns are sensitive to the public relations aspects of the issue.