The well-run public meeting: How to get people to come back
The most important element necessary to ensure broad participation throughout the charrette process is the well-executed public meeting.
September 3, 2004
The most important element necessary to ensure broad participation throughout the charrette process is the well-executed public meeting. Potential project supporters often do not attend meetings because, in addition to being busy people, they have had the all-too-common experience of attending a poorly-run public meeting in the past.
It is important for the charrette organizer to remember that it is often a chore for people to attend public meetings – they have to find a babysitter, eat dinner early or change previously made plans. Once you have them at the meeting, it is extremely important that the process is very effective. Their experience can be spoiled if the meeting runs over time, if other meeting-goers are allowed to dominate the conversation, or if the room is set up in such a way that people cannot hear and see things clearly.
One or a combination of these pitfalls can keep your potential supporters from coming back to the next public meeting. You have to make it worth their time to participate. People need to be assured that their time is well spent and their input has the potential to make an impact on the project.
Successful, efficient public meetings, as part of the dynamic, interactive nature of the charrette, can achieve participation by 60 percent or more of the total charrette participants.