Importance of Town Hall Meeting
There is no greater time than now to get involved in state and national issues. The benefits of town hall meetings are numerous and far reaching. This is a great opportunity for you and your local group to engage with the Member. Town hall meetings are an excellent forum to come together as a community and ask questions about policy issues that affect everyone.
Planning Town Hall Meeting
What: Create an agenda for the town hall meeting.
Identify the major theme. You may want to focus your town hall on one of these broad themes: Muslim Ban, Immigration Reform, LGBTQ equality, and Women’s Rights.
When: Attend a pre-schedule town hall meeting or plan one yourself.
Typically, town halls are held during congressional recess periods. Every member of Congress keeps his or her own schedule. You can contact the district or state office for your representative and senators and ask if s/he has any town halls scheduled.
You will need several weeks of lead time, especially if you hope to have a Member of Congress participate.
Where : Your choice of public place or comfort of your home.
Traditionally, these town halls are held in community centers, churches, libraries and other public spaces. However, increasingly , members of Congress are relying on telephone conference services to hold “tele-town halls,” where constituents listen and participate from home over their phones.
Secure a location.
Who: Anyone and Everyone
Politician – Invite your Member of Congress to participate. You may also want to invite other elected officials, depending on the topic. State and local government officials may be interested in participating.
If your representative is unfriendly to your cause or organization, you may have better chance convincing him or her to participate if you co-host the town hall meeting with another group.
Moderator: This person should be well-versed on the subject and able to keep the conversation going.
Media: Contact your local radio show hosts and tell them about the event. If you have relationships with any local journalists or bloggers, extend a personal invitation.
To Do List
Before Event :
- Advertise the event. Use social media to reach a broad audience. If any elected officials are participating, encourage them to send out an email to their email lists.
- Encourage attendees to submit their questions in advance of the meeting to help manage time. You may want to set up a dedicated web form or Google form to keep track of submissions
- Prepare any handouts or documents to distribute at the meeting.
- Thank everyone for participating. Introduce the moderator and the guest speakers.
- Explain the agenda and purpose of the meeting.
- Allow the moderator to guide the discussion and open with brief remarks and a few questions for the guest speakers.
- Allow audience to ask questions.
- Thank everyone for attending.
- Make sure everyone sign up with their email addresses so they can continue to hear from your organization.