Many contentious planning matters are determined in public forums by panels or committees. The ability of planners to present well in these forums is critical to procedural fairness and good decision making generally.
Our Managing Director, Marcus Rolfe, ran a seminar on behalf of the Planning Institute of Australia SA Division last week focused on the special skills required of planners when presenting in these forums.
We’d like to share our top tips for presenting to assessment panels:
- Dress respectfully and professionally.
- Introduce yourself and establish your bona-fides.
- Make sure you fully understand the proposal and the issues in detail.
- Be accurate and clear.
- Be brief – stick to the time limit.
- Make good eye contact with the decision makers.
- Speak with some compassion and understanding for representors/proponents.
- Be patient and polite with all questions.
- Be authentic – lose the jargon (find simpler ways to explain planning concepts).
- Speak to people, don’t read – it’s a meeting not a recital.
- Use repetition and/or flagging for emphasis.
- Use anecdotes and examples to show your experience or understanding.
Special thanks to Gavin Leydon (Norman Waterhouse Lawyers), Damien Dawson (Planning Chambers) and Sally Roberts (Alexandrina Council and the State Commission Assessment Panel) for sharing their wisdom and expertise with seminar participants.