Civic Engagement Toolkit

Organizing Community Meetings

Facilitating a good meeting is an art form, but like any art form, there are some fundamentals.

Three basic rules:

  1. A meeting with a few key people will always be more productive than a meeting with many people only tangentially involved.
  2. Know exactly what you want to get out of a meeting through prep work, and make sure those who are attending know too.
  3. Start on time, stay on point, and end early if you can.

There is a plethora of online resources for meetings. While many of the tips are focused on corporate/business environments, they are still applicable for community and civic meetings.

Don’t be afraid to shut down unproductive lines of conversation! There is a balancing act between listening to your community while not allowing any single person to dominate the conversation.  This is called for even if you feel like you might offend someone by asking them to keep it short. If the person in question is truly interested in making change, they will understand that the meeting has to move forward. Second, by giving them free reign you are allowing them to waste the time of those who agreed to come to the meeting to get to the action items. One useful tool is the “parking lot” idea, outlined in the first article below.

Meeting Resources:

Next up: Direct Action

Return to Toolkit Home