Delivering Effective Comments
In order to present your comments on an environmental impact report in a way that is most effective and professional to your audience, PCL Foundation has created a list of simple reminders.
After analyzing the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project through research based on some general questions about each impact category, you are ready to deliver your comments. In order to present your comments in a way that is most effective and memorable to your audience, be aware of these simple reminders:
Become a Local Expert
Become an expert by stating in your comments your background, and where relevant include your education, training, experience, community standing, and any appointments or offices you hold. By doing this, you distinguish yourself as an expert participating in the process which can leave a more lasting impression on your audience.
Content of Comment
Reference the project by name and State Clearinghouse Number (SCH#) at the beginning of your comments. Be fact-based in your comments and include the sources you used to gather any technical data or information.
Use proper English (no slang), proper punctuation and proper grammar in both written and oral presentations. Be clear and concise with your comments being sure your take-home message does not get buried underneath excess words.
Structure of Comment
Comments should be structured in the standard introduction, body, conclusion format. Using this format will assist you, as well as your audience, organize your thoughts and follow along easily.
The introduction includes introducing yourself and introducing your position on the issue(s). The body of the comment is where you will explain your position using fact-based information from your research. If addressing multiple impact categories, separate these in different sections. In the conclusion, you reiterate your position from the introduction as the take-home message. Use page references throughout the comment letter.
Presentation of Oral Comment
When presenting your comments orally, be aware that your appearance and demeanor will be the first impression you present. Remember to dress professionally, acknowledge the governing body, and be prepared (write a speech). When it is your turn to speak, limit your focus on the topics being discussed, be courteous and polite, consider your tone, use facts and examples, and adhere to the time limits. When you are complete, thank the governing body and submit the speech for the record.
Items to Avoid
Aside from the obvious items such as insulting the governing body, staff, or project applicant, be careful not to swear, wear inappropriate attire, ignore the rules of the hearing, or partake in name-calling and threats. Please remember to avoid taking things personally. You can still be passionate in your comments without being emotional.