Town Hall Meeting
The town hall meeting may feature a moderated discussion of a single topic, with four or five scholars or practitioners reflecting diverse aspects of the topic. Allow 7–10 minutes for each discussant. Audience members may participate in the discussion via polling, individual questions, evaluations, and online comments.
Sample Agenda (75 minutes)
- Start–10 minutes Introductions
- 10–50 minutes Moderated panel discussion
- 50–75 minutes Audience participation
- 75 minutes End
The town hall meeting can be marketed to a broad audience, including scholars, teachers, professionals, civic leaders, young people, seniors, and other people interested in the topic.
Sites for a town hall meeting might include schools, community colleges or universities, libraries, community centers, government buildings, museums, restaurants, plazas, and religious centers.
Continuing the Discussion
There are many opportunities for audience engagement in a town hall meeting. Before the public program, consider using a website, email, or social media outlets to pose key questions to potential participants or publicize relevant hashtags. During the town hall meeting, use raised hands or electronic keypads to poll audience members’ opinions about key issues or possible answers to questions. Following the model discussed, allow time for members of the audience to voice an opinion, pose a question, or clarify understanding about a particular issue raised by a discussant. Offer a standing microphone at which audience members can line up with questions, or pass a hand-held microphone around the room. After the discussion is over, collect evaluations from all audience members. Consider directing everyone to a website or social media outlet to continue the discussion.