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Build Trust, Up Your Two-Way Communications Game

September 21st 2017

Some days it feels like the future really is now.

That’s how I felt when I first discovered PlaceSpeak, an online public engagement and consultation platform developed and based here in Vancouver, the centre point of some of the most hotly debated land-based decisions on the continent. 

I met founder and CEO Colleen Hardwick through a friend of a friend who knew I was interested in communications in the tech space. 

I was impressed by her vision, the thought that went into creating the very best solution for their clients and the team’s commitment to two-way communications.

This new, innovative online solution is changing the way governments, organizations and companies consult and engage with their communities, audiences and stakeholders. It is a key way decision makers will build trust in their decision making, which can only help as our regulators struggle with how best to consider all perspectives.

As someone particularly interested in energy and transportation infrastructure communications, I’m really pleased to see this tool gain traction because it means we can have more faith in the information we gather. It’s map-based, so you can see right away where people are based as you review their input. And everyone is authenticated. That means that they are real: organizations and regulators finally have proof that people providing input are not trolls and bots or people on the other side of the world.

PlaceSpeak integrates the IA2 Spectrum of Public Participation. For many organizations, they begin with “inform” – public information sharing – but as they build relationships, gain sophistication and expand their social responsibility, they move along the spectrum all the way up to “empower”. PlaceSpeak can help you activate a legitimate two-way approach all along this spectrum.

As we evolve our practices as communicators this is one toolbox to pull off the shelf when you are designing consultation programs. I’m excited to see how organizations can build trust and truly engage using it.

Tamara Little is a Communications Advisor to PlaceSpeak