A to-do list for hosting a town hall meeting
- By Guest Author
- April 2, 2003
Hosting a Town Hall Meeting
- Identify members and groups within your community who are interested in the issue. For example, your local chamber of commerce and school board, superintendent and parent-teacher association. Identify other elected officials, including your state legislators (and the legislators of communities around you) and mayors and anyone else who is concerned with the quality of your schools.
- Choose a location — such as a school or community center — and time — weeknights after 5 p.m. are best — to make it as accessible as possible.
- Send a letter of invitation, including the reason for the meeting, date, time and a list of other involved or invited organizations, to the people you would like to have speak. Follow up the invitation with a telephone call.
- Develop an agenda that goes no longer than two hours —with time for questions — and follows a simple format:
a) An overview of the problems facing public education in Illinois
b) A look at how local schools are doing with the resources they currently have — and how they could be doing much better
c) A call to action — suggestions for what community residents can do to affect change.
- Develop a flyer and disseminate it widely through e-mail, bulletin boards at community centers and local businesses, and other local media that people are likely to see. Send it to the people speaking at your Town Hall meeting — they may have their own mailing lists.
- Call your local newspapers, television and radio stations. Tell them about the Town Hall meeting, and follow up with a media alert that includes who, what, when, where and why.
- At the Town Hall meeting, ask attendees to provide their names, organization names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses on a sign-in sheet, so that you can follow up with them after the event or invite interested people to future events.
- At the event, take notes and photographs. Write out highlights of the event and send electronic photos, if possible, to local media outlets.