Engaging the NHC in dialogue is the most important aspect and the heart of the consultation process. As such, it is vital that it be conducted in a manner that not only informs the NHC of the Action and its implications, but also creates a suitable environment through which meaningful comments and feedback can be shared and received. Determining the mode of dialogue (written correspondence, tele- or video-conference calls, in-person discussions, etc.) is best performed during consultation planning (Step 2). However, there may be times when it is necessary to modify the means and level of dialogue with the NHC even after an initial notification has been sent out to the NHC.
Preparation is essential before engaging in a dialogue with the NHC. Even with the simplest consultations, or those that are done through written comments require the Office to be prepared before contact is made. Prior to a consultation meeting, it is important for the Office to:
For in-person consultation meetings, it is also important for the Office to:
On the day of a consultation meeting, there are additional items that the Office needs to consider. Since it may be the first time the Office is meeting with NHC leaders, making a good first impression can help the meeting and any future engagements be more productive. For in person meetings, the Office should:
Similarly, on the day of an e-remote consultation where teleconferencing or videoconferencing will be utilized, the Office should:
During the consultation meeting, it is important for the Office to cover various administrative, cultural, and procedural actions to help start the meeting with the right tone, allow NHC leaders to effectively contribute their comments, and end the dialogue with an understanding of next steps. The Office should:
Having a successful consultation meeting with the NHC requires good facilitation to keep the meeting on-schedule and on-agenda. Without active facilitation, meetings can easily get off-subject and confuse or aggravate NHC leaders and result in difficulties for future consultation meetings and potential delays in completing the Action. Whether the Office facilitates the meeting or uses a 3rd party facilitator or moderator, it is important that they: