ARIZONA TOWN HALL

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Types of Services

EVENT FACILITATION AND TRAINING

Event Facilitation:

Arizona Town Hall works with clients to help plan and implement events that meet client needs. Most events involve some form of Arizona Town Hall style facilitation, which includes the following elements that have been found to contribute to consensus building discussions and recommendations:

  • Discussion questions and outline that are designed to avoid the appearance of bias and facilitate meaningful discussion leading to concrete recommendations.
  • A neutral chair who helps participants delve into a topic and keeps the group on task and discussions civil and respectful.
  • A neutral recorder who is trained to synthesize discussions into a consensus statement, which is read to and approved by the participants before the conclusion of the event.

Experienced Facilitators:

Arizona Town Hall can provide the services of highly skilled facilitators trained and experienced in the Arizona Town Hall process who will work with you to assure the success of your meeting or event.

Trainings:

Arizona Town Hall training sessions offer people the opportunity to learn how to facilitate a group discussion in the Arizona Town Hall style. Training covers event design, issue framing, discussion facilitation, consensus-building, and recording consensus statements and recommendations.

In approximately two hours or less, experienced members of our training committee will explain the Town Hall process and procedures. Concise and informative written materials provide training and tips on how to handle situations that may arise in the context of the group discussions. This general instruction is followed by the opportunity for hands on practice chairing or recording a group discussion, with feedback and opportunities to practice techniques and improve skills. These training sessions introduce volunteer facilitators to the processes that optimize group participation and effectiveness.

Upon completion of this training, participants can become eligible to serve in a discussion leader or recorder role at Arizona Town Hall sponsored or staffed events. Trainees also become more effective group facilitators in a wide variety of situations in their work organizations and communities.

Arizona Town Hall can provide customized training to meet the needs of a specific group. If you are interested in enrolling in one of our training sessions or scheduling a customized training session, please contact us.

Arizona Town Hall can help you plan an effective event and often can link clients with community partners, locations, speakers, facilitators, and other resources, saving you time and money.

The timeline for planning an event is determined by the length and type of event. Typically, a three-day town hall requires at least six to 18 months of planning. A one-day forum, summit, or retreat typically requires two to six months of planning. Planning for a one-to-two-hour event requires comparatively less effort than a one-day event but generally requires two months to provide adequate lead time for invitations and publication.

A Town Hall-style event can enliven your meeting and engage your audience.

Arizona Town Hall's unique process can be adapted to just about any group gathering at which a topic will be the focus of group consideration. Put yourself in the place of your audience, members, guests, or employees and ask which you would prefer.



Town Hall Discussion Style Format


    • Audience is actively engaged 
    • Discussion
    • Audience opinions are valued and respected
    • Audience hears more than one perspective
    • Audience learns about participants

 "Talking Heads" or Lecture Format


    • Audience are passive listeners
    • Lecture
    • Audience opinions are not expressed
    • Audience hears a single "expert" perspective
    • Audience learns about the speaker

One of the hallmarks of an Arizona Town Hall event is the drafting and publication of a written statement that synthesizes the consensus of the group during the event. This enables participants to take away from the experience a document that will remind them of their discussions and recommendations and help them to take concrete action to implement recommended actions.

Arizona Town Hall staff will work with you on planning your event to assure that the written synthesis of participant discussions is presented and published in a way that best suits your needs.

Client report examples:

2020 Habitat for Humanity

2020 Access to Justice

2019 ADC Reentry Summit

2019 VVLP Report

2017 GenK

Background Material

Arizona Town Hall staff will work with you to develop a background document that is suitable for your event, considering the needs and abilities of the participants, and your desired outcome for the event.

To prepare the research and background report for a three-day statewide Arizona Town Hall, a research committee works with Arizona's universities and other subject-matter experts to prepare a concise, neutral, and informative report that is written to provide all participants sufficient background to comfortably and knowledgeably participate in the town hall discussions. Writing such a report is a time-consuming process that usually begins up to 18 months before the town hall.

Discussions at Future Leader Town Halls and Community Town Halls generally take place in a more condensed time frame, lasting anywhere from an hour to half a day, with less opportunity for participants to "study up" on the topic before the event. For these abbreviated discussions Arizona Town Hall staff works with subject matter experts to prepare a one- or two-page key facts background document that can be read and understood by participants on the day of the event.

Discussion Questions

Arizona Town Hall can assist with the creation of discussion questions for your event. Our staff will work with you to assess the goals of your event and develop the discussion questions to achieve that goal.

The questions discussed in a Town Hall-style event are created with the goal of achieving consensus from the group. Questions are designed to encourage robust discussion while maintaining respect for different viewpoints. Consensus is reached when no one wants to add anything, and no one objects strongly to the wording offered.

We can also assist with creating discussion questions for other program goals outside of consensus including gathering facts, key points, and general ideas, accordingly.


Arizona Town Hall is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that brings diverse people together to solve critical and often divisive policy issues

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Arizona Town Hall | P.O. Box 37108 | Phoenix, AZ 85069 | 602-252-9600 | Email Us


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