Public Involvement Techniques

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2. Involving People Face-toFace Through Meetingsskip page navigation

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2.A - Determining the Type of Meeting
2.A.a - Public Meetings/Hearings
2.A.b - Open Houses/Open Forum Hearings
2.A.c - Conferences, Workshops, and Retreats

2. Introduction

2.A - Determining the Type of Meeting

The type of meeting, its timing, and its level of formality are determined by its purpose in the overall public involvement effort. An effective strategy tailors meetings to the target audience, the corridor or region, or the types of stakeholder groups—and, in some instances such as public hearings, to the legal requirements.

Scheduling for a meeting depends on what information participants need and when they are likely to need it, as well as on when agencies need information from the public. Sometimes a series of meetings is appropriate:

  • A kickoff session;
  • Periodic meetings throughout the process, especially timed with major planning milestones and decision points; and
  • A meeting or meetings near the end of the process.

The underlying principle is to provide timely and adequate opportunities for participation.

Flexibility is crucial. Agencies may vary meeting types to grab attention or focus on specific elements of a plan or program. Near the completion of a process, if an agency is legally required to hold a public hearing, it may choose to prepare potential participants with further informational gatherings and discussions. In cases where time is insufficient, agencies might schedule another date when discussion can continue.

Agencies tailor the type of meeting to its substance and purpose, as outlined below:

  • Public meetings/hearings;
  • Open houses/open forum hearings; and
  • Conferences, workshops, and retreats.

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