Social Permitting is our specific approach to finding the right ways to engage the public in order to educate and gather support for your initiatives. Houda explains how the community needs to understand the goal that you’re trying to achieve. Houda also discusses the phases of the social permitting process: awareness, appeals and activation. She explains the awareness phase can include community input sessions and listening tours to better understand the community’s needs. In the appeals phase, you need to determine how you are going to make your case based on what you learned in the awareness phase. The activation phase is where you get the community to take action, like attending the grand opening of your project.
Houda also demonstrates how to turn protesters of your project to advocators. In some cases, protesters can actually be an opportunity for dialogue and to spread the awareness you need for your project. Houda explains how through storytelling and providing the right information, detractors may actually turn into some of your biggest supporters. However, if this isn’t the case, then it may be important to go back to the drawing board. If you receive feedback that something isn’t working or the community’s needs have changed, it’s crucial that you be flexible and adapt.