Our work encompasses everything you would expect from a training and communications company but what sets us apart is our experience in science.
The team at PR Associates has been instrumental in successfully permitting more than $20.5 billion of technically complex science projects from mining, oil and gas, energy, infrastructure, technology, medical research and bio-technology sectors by helping to deliver clear, comprehensible communication between scientists, engineers and the general public.
We recently developed the communication strategy for $5.6-billion-dollar project in British Columbia, Canada, the largest project of its kind in the Province’s history.
During the course of the environmental review process we distilled 40,000 pages of complex scientific and engineering information so it could be easily understood by non-science audiences.
We looked at all the possible reasons and tactics for resistance to the project and then developed a communication strategy and the tools to effectively communicate about the project. Most importantly, we were engaged early to train the project scientists and engineers how to communicate information about the project to people living nearby in the five First Nation communities, three urban centres with populations of more than 10,000 people, to municipal, provincial and federal elected officials and to international environmental organizations.
After 130 public presentations and thousands of conversations between the project scientists and engineers and the local people, the project was publicly supported by the five First Nations, three municipalities and one international environmental organization.
The project environmental permit was approved by the Federal and Provincial Governments in near record time
We’ve helped scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs successfully launch more than $600 million of new technology in the past few years.
We recently helped launch Stockholm Precision Tools’ GyroTracer Directional ™ Continuous North Seeking Gyro to the international drilling industry. Traditionally Precision Tools had focused their technological efforts on the traditional drilling industry in the oil and gas, mining and geotechnical sectors, but with the invention of the Continuous North Seeking Gyro the applications went well beyond traditional markets.
We started by understanding the technology and we translated almost 50 pages of highly technological information so non scientists could easily understand the technology, its benefits and potential applications solving problems worldwide. Then we wrote and told the story about how the technology was integral in raising the Amuriyah, an 82,000-ton Iraqi oil tanker that had sunk off the coats of Iraq and was blocking the route to the Al Başrah Oil Terminal, through which 97-percent of Iraq’s crude oil is exported.
Once we developed the story, we contacted the international trade and science media and told them the story. Within a couple of weeks, the international media including the Financial Times were reporting on how the Continuous North Seeking Gyro was integral in successfully raising the 285-meter oil tanker from the ocean floor. We also contacted a film crew who had taken video of the team’s efforts in raising the Amuriyah and developed a documentary for the Science Channel.
Sales of Stockholm Precision Tool’s GyroTracer Directional ™ Continuous North Seeking Gyro skyrocketed by 80-percent, not only within the traditional drilling industry, but also in a host of new applications where precision is crucial.
Trained more than 2,000 scientists and engineers on how to be better public speakers and presenters
Through our Science of Communication™ workshops PR Associates has trained more than 2,000 scientists and engineers how to make presentations to non-science audiences and the media which build trust and create effective two-way dialogue.
Recently, our client’s scientists and engineers were invited into the high schools of several aboriginal communities to teach work place safety and employee rights. We customized our presentation training with the high school students in mind and taught the scientists and engineers how to tell compelling stories that would capture their audience’s attention while delivering the very important safety messages.
To capture a room of high school student’s attention we started by translating complex Worksafe information so it could be easily understood by 16-year-old students, then we helped the presenters with their storytelling skills, their body language, voice and how to engage and entertain.
Changed the way community meetings with regulators are organized
In another situation, our clients were facing an angry audience with many local communities were opposed to the proposed project. We started by researching our audience, understanding their concerns and then creating a safe place for them to express their thoughts. Traditionally community meetings organized by provincial government regulators had the same format—table at the front for the proponent and their teams and chairs in rows with a microphone in the centre of the room for those who attended. We decided this was an adversarial format and worked with the regulators to create a friendlier environment to share information.
Instead of the table in the front of the room and chairs, we removed the chairs and set up conversation areas, where the project information was displayed by discipline and experts were standing in the conversation area to have one-on-one conversations with community members. In total 15 conversation areas with comfortable arm chairs and sofas were set up around the room.
Prior to the community meeting we trained the company proponents and the project scientists and engineers how to have meaningful conversations with individuals who have little to no science background, how to answer difficult questions and if necessary how to manage hostile people.
The community meeting was attended by over 800 people and exit polling showed that 87%-percent of those who attended received the information they needed to make a more informed decision on the Project. Ninety percent of the people who attended preferred the meeting format and agreed that the scientists and engineers were friendly and helpful. The community meeting format has now been adopted by the Provincial regulator and serves as an example to proponents how to arrange information sessions.