• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

Engaging Opposing Views

Effective communication strategies include resources that help to address high emotions and, potentially, opposition. Local construction and industrial operations can inspire strong reactions from many sides. Feelings like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise become relevant to communicators who must respond to these reactions constructively.

  • To respond to opposing views, the act of engagement can demonstrate a good faith effort to understand the range of concerns and interests.
  • Traditional targeting methods teach marketers to ignore entrenched opponents. These opponents may be anti-nuclear or anti-establishment groups.

Some audiences may be unmoved by new information and committed to a predetermined course of action. Often, these groups reject evidence that contradicts their beliefs. In these cases, engagement may have negative consequences. Effective stakeholder involvement will not guarantee that new nuclear efforts will be successfully implemented; however, increased public participation is a necessary condition for public acceptance. Inviting diverse stakeholders to contribute to risk analysis and management is repeatedly shown to improve the likelihood that decisions will be commonly accepted.

For example, in 1998 the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe adopted the Aarhus Convention. This marked the first practical implementation of relationship building in nuclear science and technology programmes. The agreement, designed to acknowledge the relationship between people and governments in the context of environmental protection, formally addresses the rights of the public. With its ratification, countries have integrated principles of access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice.

Overcoming Rumours

Perceptions of risk are strongly influenced by memories of past incidents. Associations with previous infrastructure projects, prior corporate engagements or former government leadership may influence stakeholder attitudes before nuclear technology information is ever a factor.

  • Once project leaders and stakeholders have identified the priority concerns, communicators can help identify the most relevant nuclear science and technology information.
  • Public participation can also help communicators ensure they are solving the right problems with their outreach activities.
  • Strive to personalise the industry’s technical information. This approach can cultivate greater emotional impact.
  • Staying engaged with stakeholders is an effective way to intercept rumours and misinformation before they are widely popularised. By reducing secrecy and increasing transparency, practitioners in nuclear facilities can prepare audiences with facts to reduce the appeal of inaccurate information.

Since people find it hard to identify with or understand experts who speak in jargon, communicators’ roles are to help refine material so audiences can more readily identify with their own concepts, terms, modes of expression and values.

Stay in touch