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Hosting a Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event

Town Hall Meetings can be an effective way to educate a community about underage drinking and engage its members to identify and implement prevention measures through community partnerships. Your event will be most effective if you devote as much time as possible to some basic organizational strategies to host your Town Hall Meeting before, during, and after your event. As you review the “to-do” lists that follows, think about when you will complete these tasks.

Attend to Logistics

  • Select a time and date for your Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event so it won’t compete with other events that are targeted to the same audiences.
  • Select a location that can comfortably accommodate the number of people you expect to attend. Always plan for additional seating.
  • As early as possible on the day of the meeting, confirm that the room setup and audiovisual equipment meet your requirements
  • Provide signage for your event at all critical points (e.g., from a main road, from the parking lot, and within the building).
  • Ensure that print materials (e.g., agenda and handouts) are available in sufficient number.
  • Designate individuals to handle responsibilities such as greeting and registering visitors, greeting and instructing speakers, interacting with invited guests, and working with the media.
  • Provide a sign-in sheet. This information will be invaluable later as you follow up on planned actions.
  • On event day, display a banner that includes all of your partners’ names and logos.

Prepare Your Speakers

  • Prepare background material for your speakers to help ensure that they have a comprehensive understanding of the issues. The State Profiles page provide state-specific information on underage drinking prevalence and prevention activities. You can also look up national and state data in the latest Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Develop talking points for your speakers, and review them with the speakers prior to your event.
  • Ensure that each speaker, while presenting his or her perspective on the issue, accurately represents your Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event’s predetermined themes. The speakers should present a unified voice to your audience.
  • Ask your speakers to arrive 30 minutes before start time on the day of the event to complete a sound check and review any last-minute content and/or logistical changes.
  • Schedule a pre-event rehearsal for a virtual Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event (e.g., webinar) to make sure that your presenters are familiar with the software platform.

Follow Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event Etiquette

  • Enlist a facilitator to keep your meeting on track and on time. See Facilitator Guidelines for tips on facilitation.
  • Acknowledge your event partners and speakers with a formal thank you during the event and with thank you notes post-event.
  • Send thank you notes to the media representatives who covered your event. Tell them that you will be updating them on continuing activities.
  • Honor your speakers with a plaque, pin, or some other memento (e.g., a photo taken at the event), which reminds them of their commitment to underage drinking prevention.
  • Consider disseminating materials (e.g., widgets, e-newsletters, or a video) after the meeting to sustain the interest of presenters and attendees in prevention.