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Thread: Presentation to planning commissioners

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Presentation to planning commissioners

    Hey All,
    I am doing my first presentation to Planning Commission tonight on my inherited 150 acre mixed residential density neighborhood master plan. From what i have been told by my client (the city) they are an "inexperienced" planning commission since the majority of them have been appointed this year, and this project has taken now over 3 years (it was suppose to be an 18 mo job at the height of the boom). Any insight you guys can give me for this presentation and how to speak or answer questions. I will be giving a power point overview discussing mainly focusing on the design guidelines and how they differ versus the city's zoning ordinance (this master plan will override the city's zoning ordinance for this new neighborhood). My main "theme" is the pedestrian orientation of the new neighborhood (dedicated ped/bike trails along the project boundaries and centralized paseo, park feature of 7 acres, adjacent new high school, large pocket parks, and use of roundabouts). Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    have one slide that gives some history to the project - what happened over the last 3 years - what kind of support there was - nothing worse than having the new guys saying "wth is this?' to you - so head that off early in the PowerPoint and then have a few more points in your back pocket for the inevitable noted question

    also, a quick 101 of why mixed use is considered good planning and why it will work is also a good reminder, especially due to the deviaiton from the bylaw - noting to say "you folks supported this because _____" make eye contact with the previous supporters to thep lan when you say it too -

    don't speak for more than 20 minutes or you lose your audience (10 is best, but that will be hard)

    let us know how it went!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Thanks for the pointers. The commission meeting has only 1 agenda item, ours. The City wants to make this an information session to the commission because 3 more master plans are in the Pipeline. The Planning Manager will be covering the history of the project. In addition, the mixed use isn't mixed use per say. It is more a mix of residential densities (i.e. high, med, low).

    I am concerned about the time. I have about 100 slides so far, so i may need to just hurry through some slides and elaborate on others.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    I have about 100 slides so far, so i may need to just hurry through some slides and elaborate on others.
    yes, break them up a little - some photo's some maps, some Microsoft word graphics - 100 is a lot and you want to keep them focused -

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Raf, when you have the time pick up a copy of Successful Public Meetings: A Practical Guide APA: 2000. I started a program in my firm where we do mock public meetings so co-workers can develop good public speaking skills. I shared my experience from speech team (extemp and impromptu for all you speechies out there), public meetings, debate, and short form comedy improv.

    1. People have limited attention spans: I think it's the 15 minute mark when people start losing focus.
    2. Maintain eye contact with everyone in the room.
    3. Don't read the powerpoint: people can read it themselves.
    4. Use bullet points: 7-10 words max (anything longer and it might appear tedious or oversaturated with info).
    5. Develop your own speaking style: this does not happen overnight.

    I can probably rattle off a hundred other points, but hopefully that will give you some direction.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Practice with an audience. Even if they give you no helpful feedback, you will probably learn something from doing it beforehand.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Because you mentioned this will be somewhat of a designed-focused overlay plan, I would come with photos of similar projects that show the type of design you are talking about.

    There's nothing better than seeing something that has already been built, as opposed to just renderings of the project.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    If they ask you a question, and you don't know the answer, don't just say "I don't know." Instead tell them exactly what you are going to do to find out the answer for them.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    Hey raf,

    Is it too late to have a workshop with them first? Public hearings usually go much better if you have had a chance to meet with them and discuss things in a slightly less informal setting first. Nobody wants to look uneducated in front of an audience, so a workshop lets them get all the "silly" questions out of the way. It also means that you usually hear the same questions at the hearing so you are prepared to answer them, thereby having the additional benefit of making you look like a star consultant. Good luck!

    Heh, and don't forget the cookies!
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  10. #10
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    This is probably late and you won't get it in time, but for future presentations always remember "knowledge is power". Always know your subject. You could have the best presentation in terms of graphics, pictures, etc., but if you don't know your subject well, the exceptional Powerpoint is useless.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
    - Metallica

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's suggestions. PC went great. Presentation was only 30 minutes and positive feedback from commissioners and City Staff. Item was continued, so i will die another day!
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

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