When facing a contentious neighborhood dispute, don't overlook the persuasive power of the plant tour.
In an age when social media, YouTube videos and infographics have more sex appeal, the plant tour offers the irreplaceable virtue of letting people see for themselves what you are doing. That's often all it takes to turn critics into advocates.
Plant tours have the distinctive quality of being something that virtually any business or organization can organize. There are always restraints – sensitive operations, tight quarters or personal privacy issues. But there are almost always work-arounds that allow your neighbors or skeptics to get a first-hand view of your factory, educational facility or medical clinic.
Nothing is more authentic than opening the doors of your facility and letting people talk with your employees and see where they work. It can change people's minds because it erases their fears of the unknown.