Being Consulted And Knowing You’ve Been Consulted
Most community professionals are good at consulting with community members before making big decisions. They use polls, discussion threads, e-mail newsletters with responses, and other tools.
It's not the feedback we want (although this is often useful), it's the buy-in we gain from those whom feel they were consulted and their opinion listened to.
The problem is most members will miss the consultation opportunities. They won't read the newsletter, see the news posts, or participate in the discussion threads.
In short, they might still be angry they weren't consulted (even if they were).
The solution is to tell the community they have been consulted. In the newsletter, news posts, discussion threads, be sure to inform the community they were consulted – do this before they can express anger about not being consulted (once they express this, they'll ignore the facts rather than change their opinion).
Tell the community what they told you. Tell them what they agreed, what they wanted, what they didn't want, and ensure that you're doing what members want. This ensures greater levels of support. Few people want to contradict what the community agreed.
Don't just consult members. Work hard to tell members they were consulted.