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Before the Meeting

Why We Engage: What issues should involve citizens?


Principles of Local Government Public Engagement

Source: Institute for Local Government

This two-page paper lists ten principles to help guide public participation. It is written to help managers assess when and if an issue is right for pubic engagement and help guide further development on engaging that issue.


Changing the Way We Govern: Democratic Governance in Your Community

Source: National League of Cities

This resource will help you ask the right questions to help set goals and expectations for your project and communicate those effectively. See p. 11, “The short term: involving citizens in a particular issue or decision.”


Spectrum of Public Participation

Source: International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)

IAP2’s well-known chart on public participation provides an excellent example of matching up participation goals with specific designs.


Selecting the Right Level of Public Participation

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Focuses on identifying goals before planning an engagement process.

Designing Public Participation: What method should I choose?


Planning Public Forums: Questions to Guide Local Officials

Source: Institute for Local Government

Public meeting design is addressed in this guide, including managing time, participant selection, background information, and other design consideration. Several accessible case studies and specific design processes are included.


Engagement Streams Framework

Source: National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

For practitioners with well-defined goals, this widely used guidebook can help in the selection of specific engagement process to support those goals. It conveniently lists likely outcomes associated with using those specific processes.


Armchair Involvement: Practical Technology for Improving Engagement

Source: Involve: The Institute for Innovation and Improvement

The barriers to using everyday technology and applications of technology with public participation, such as text messaging, smart phones, email and user generated online content, are lower and citizens’ proficiency with technology is greater than ever before. This paper describes the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating this in participation and provides examples. See p. 28 for incorporating everyday technology into public meeting design.


Click to Engage: Using Keypads to Enhance Deliberation

Source: Public Agenda Center for Advances in Public Engagement

This well written piece details how clickers, keypads, or other audience response systems (ASRs) can greatly enhance public meetings. It offers theoretical insight and practical examples in designing questions and benefits and drawbacks of particular approaches.


Input Plan-it Video Series

Source: Iowa Department of Economic Development

This 7-minute instructional video presents guiding principles and some methods, tools, and techniques for increasing participation and enhancing the quality of input at public meetings.

Convening Public Participation: Giving notice, recruiting, and choosing locations


Civic Life Institute Participant Guidebook, 2010

Source: West Virginia Center for Civic Life

This guidebook includes brainstorming constituencies and stakeholders and developing a communications plan for your event. See pp. 61-66 for recruiting and convening; pp. 61-66 for basic considerations on recruiting participants to public meetings.


Fostering Dialogue Across Divides

Source: Public Conversations Project, JAMS Foundation

Guidelines for developing written invitations for public meetings, including pre-meeting conversations with participants. See pp. 38-41 for sample invitations.


State Agency Public Meeting Notice Template

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

School District Public Meeting Notice Template

Source: Jefferson County, Kentucky

Public Meeting Flyer

Source: Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

Creating Agendas: How should I run the meeting?


How Do We Plan for Effective Meetings?

Source: University of Minnesota

This guide will help translate project goals into a meeting agenda that’s designed to speak to those desired outcomes.


State Agency Public Meeting Agenda Template

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

Town Hall Meeting Agenda

Source: Hawaii State Senate

Public Forum Agenda Draft

Source: Colorado State University