Issue managers must do more than dispense facts. They must battle for trust.
Widespread skepticism is one of the biggest handicaps in trying to manage a public issue. You may have all the facts and figures, but if neighbors, community activists and even policymakers don't believe they are true, you are nowhere.
There is no formula for building trust, but there are some tried and true principles in the battle for trust. Here are some of them:
Tell Your Story — the Whole Story
You need to tell your story, but you gain credibility by telling the whole story. Better to hear it all — good and bad — from you than from your opponents.
Telling the whole story won't automatically build trust, but it establishes you are trustworthy, which is a very good beginning in the battle for trust.
Be Proactive, Don't Wait
Avoid the temptation of letting sleeping dogs lie. They aren't asleep. If your project, legislation or business model faces opposition, don't wait to address it.
Go to the source of opposition, listen and find out what the real problems are, then deal with them. Concerns you can erase by quick, decisive action make it harder for opponents to gain traction, while helping to win the battle for trust.