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Section 3. Conducting Public Forums and Listening Sessions

You understand that public forums:

___Give people of diverse backgrounds a chance to express their views

___Are a first step toward understanding the community's needs and resources

You have gathered the following things you need to conduct a public forum:

___Meeting place

___Community members

___Easel/newsprint /markers



___Willingness to listen carefully

Issues and Concerns

You have asked yourself the following questions:

___What are the problems?

___What are the consequences?

___Who is affected?

___How are they affected?

___Are there related issues of concern?

___Are these issues of widespread concern?


You have asked yourself the following questions:

___Who or what might oppose efforts to prevent or solve the problem?

___Can they be involved effectively?

___What are the other limits on effective prevention/treatment?

___How can the barriers and resistance be overcome?

Resources for Change

You have asked yourself the following questions:

___What resources are needed?

___What local people or groups could contribute?

___What monies and materials are needed?

___Where might they be obtained?

Alternatives and Solutions

You have asked yourself the following question:

___What are alternatives for addressing the problem, given the anticipated barriers?

Organizing a public forum

You have taken the following steps:

___Holding meetings at different sites to get real representation.

___Scheduling the forum at an easy-to-find, public location which is accessible and comfortable

___If possible, holding the forum in the evening to avoid time conflicts with work and school.

___Publicized the forum as widely possible.

___Personally recruited community leaders and diverse community members to attend the meetings, and asked them to recruit others as well.

___Provided transportation to the meeting if necessary.

___Served light refreshments if possible.

Conducting a public forum

You have taken the following steps:

___Designated a discussion leader or group facilitator

___Introduced the leader of the community initiative and the discussion leader, and, if time and group size allowed, let all participants introduce themselves.

___Agreed upon an ending time, and kept to it.

___Kept working groups to smaller than 30-40 participants, or, if over that number, divided into smaller groups.

___Designated a recorder for each group.

___Provided information about your own organization, if appropriate.

___Considered allowing some time for addressing such topics as issues and concerns; barriers and resistance to addressing the issues and concerns; community resources for change; recommended alternatives and solutions.

___Used newsprint to record the discussion on each of the topics.

___Concluded with a summary of what was achieved and a preliminary plan of action.

___Announced the next meeting if possible.

___Prepared a written summary of brainstorming ideas and mail to all participants, with thanks, and with mention of opportunities for further involvement.

Vince Francisco
Jerry Schultz