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Public Involvement Techniques

Foreward  |   Table of Contents
Chapter 1  |   Chapter 2  |   Chapter 3  |   Chapter 4  |   Index of Techniques

2. Involving People Face-to-Face Through Meetingsskip page navigation

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2.B - Selecting an Organizing Feature for a Meeting
2.B.a - Brainstorming
2.B.b - Charrettes
2.B.c - Visioning
2.B.d - Small Group Techniques

2. Introduction
2.A
2.B
2.C

2.B - Selecting An Organizing Feature for a Meeting

Nearly every meeting focuses on discussion, whether people are giving opinions, debating issues among themselves, or challenging an agency by questioning fundamental assumptions. Meetings can be exploratory (for instance, "design-ins" where participants draw on maps to illustrate community values or activity patterns) or consensus-building (including collaborative problem-solving).

Specific techniques for organizing meetings are useful in helping people think about and discuss issues, how they are personally affected, and how proposed solutions impact community life. They help make meetings more creative, stimulating, and engaging. Appropriate, well-organized meetings also enlighten people about an agency approach and its openness to community involvement.

Traditionally, meetings often begin with a presentation by one or several speakers, a slide show, or a simple video, followed by discussion. Some meetings focus on developing solutions to pending problems or suggesting alternatives to existing situations, and their productivity may be enhanced by the use of non-traditional meeting structures.

Organizing features, as described below, are tailored to participants’ needs and interests, as well as to the specific goals of a meeting:

  • Brainstorming;
  • Charrettes;
  • Visioning; and
  • Small group techniques.

While the choice of meeting types and frequency lies principally with an agency, it often helps to work with participants or community leaders to determine the best times and formats. People feel more involved if asked for advice and if meetings fit their needs and their styles of communication.

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For more information about the TPCB program, contact Michelle Noch at FHWA (202-366-9206) or John Sprowls at FTA (202-366-5362).

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