Forums

If your product or service in some way impacts on local residents (perhaps you are a haulier whose vehicles travel through a residential area, or a manufacturing company generating emissions) it is probable that you will ‘bump heads’ with the local community from time to time.  Providing a regular platform for communication can only serve to improve this situation, as it demonstrates to the public that you take their concerns seriously enough to offer a forum at which issues and potential remedies can be aired.  Agree a timetable for forums (quarterly is fine) and if possible, try to hold them at your own premises, so the residents can see exactly what your business does, the number of people it employs, and the positive impact it has on the community.  Invite the local residents, listen to their concerns, and keep calm when presenting your own views.  Invite representatives from your local Council or Environment Agency to mediate, if you think this would be beneficial.  Post short minutes of the meeting on your website so that residents who couldn’t attend can read about what was discussed.  You don’t have to agree with their point of view, but listening to their concerns (and giving them an opportunity to listen to your own views) is essential in developing a long-term working relationship.