Partnering with the Community
Guiding Principle # 6
Effective communication strategies allow partners to break down the barriers that traditionally separate them.
NORC programs bring together unlikely partners who must first learn to communicate with one another before they can speak to the larger community in a single voice. Developing a common language is essential to guide the changes that transform a community in ways that respond to the needs of its older residents.
Open, honest, and ongoing communication promotes trust, and trust fosters good decision-making. Communication is also fundamental if partners are to be in sync about what they are doing, both individually and collectively. All partners need to learn how to talk to one another to build consensus, resolve differences, and guide the evolution of the NORC program. Maintaining focus on larger program goals provides the motivation to keep the conversation going. Senior residents play an essential role in fashioning the communication strategies of the partnership because, as residents and members of the community, they understand its cultural complexities and can provide meaningful feedback about effectiveness of your messages.
(For more on communicating about the NORC program to a larger audience, see Sustaining a NORC Program, Guiding Principle #4.)