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Creating an Agenda for In-Person or Virtual Activities

If you are planning to hold a Communities Talk activity, either in-person or virtually, one goal is likely to raise public awareness about alcohol and other drug misuse among youth and young adults in your community. Another goal is likely to mobilize your community to take action to prevent it. Your agenda is your meeting map, giving attendees a direct path to what they will learn and what they can do.

In creating an agenda, your planning committee should answer these key questions, below.

1. Who is your audience?

Are you addressing parents of middle or high students, college students under age 21, local government officials who might fund a prevention campaign, or a different group? It's a good idea to include at least one member of your audience on your planning committee or as an adviser to it. These individuals can provide great insight into how your audience currently feels about substance use and ways that you might best engage them in this conversation.

2. What does your audience need or want to know most?

Each target audience will have varying information needs when it comes to alcohol and other drug misuse..

  • Parents may be interested in research about the effect of alcohol and other drugs on a young person's developing brain. They may need to be informed about their continuing influence over their children's attitudes and behaviors toward substance misuse.
  • Youth may be less likely to try alcohol and other drugs if they know that a majority of their peers don't use illegal substances.
  • College students may be motivated to avoid alcohol and other drugs by learning about the significant risks for their age group, such as personal injury and risks to their academic goals.
  • Local government officials may want hard facts about the prevalence and consequences of alcohol and other drug misuse in the community and best practices around prevention.

3. What do you want your audience to do with this information? What is the call to action?

A call to action can be as simple as asking parents to talk to their children about the importance of avoiding alcohol and other drugs. You might encourage attendees to form a college-community coalition to investigate ways of restricting on- and off-campus drinking during sporting events. Or maybe you help parents create online communities where they can share resources and conversation starters around substance misuse.

Be sure your agenda includes time for participants to ask questions, develop next steps, and identify takeaways.

View a sample agenda (DOCX | 52KB)