This is a post from the Scottish Lib Dem Press Team. You can download it as a document here.
By following this guide, you can host a successful public meeting or summit that leaves attendees feeling heard and generates positive media activity.
1. Define Clear Objectives: Clearly define what issues will be addressed, the main goals, and what you want attendees and the media to take away from the event. Merely having a topic is not enough. Be clear about deadlines, who among the organising team is taking on which organisational task and who needs to be looped in to what.
2. Choose the right venue and date: Select a venue that can comfortably accommodate the expected number of attendees and provides the necessary amenities. This may be an online platform like Zoom. Ensure the location is accessible both location and time-wise for the target audience and the media.
3. Develop a clear agenda, highlighting key topics and includes opportunities for open dialogue: Allocate time for intro and summation from the event host. Ask people to arrive 15 minutes early so that you can start promptly. Ensure you don’t invite too many attendees for the time you have.
4. Promote the event effectively: Is the event public or invite only? Promotion could involve social media, press releases and partnerships with local organizations to spread the word about the meeting or summit. If you are looking to attract media I would do a press release a week or two before outlining key facts, key attendees and why the event is important. Then send out a reminder with a summary of what the host is expected to say the day before the event.
5. Facilitating engaging discussions: Moderators should encourage lively, respectful, and inclusive. participation from all attendees and manage time effectively to cover all agenda items. If your meeting is large, consider scheduling in time for smaller breakout groups. These can be less intimidating for people looking to contribute.
6. Media: Decide whether there will be a photo, either for media or our own use. This will need to be on the agenda and it is often best to do this at the start of a meeting before people drift away. Provide a key fact sheet and other relevant materials to make journalist’s coverage easier. Will there be time for interviews with key participants? Follow up the meeting with quotes and pictures and a summary of what was discussed for those who could not attend.
7. Follow up with attendees: After the meeting or summit, send a follow-up communication to attendees, thanking them for their participation and reiterating the key takeaways from the event. Address any concerns raised during the meeting.
8. Making the most of media coverage: Monitor media coverage following the event and engage with journalists who covered it. Share positive coverage on social media to extend the reach of the event’s impact.
9. Gather feedback from attendees, media, and internal team members to identify areas of improvement for future events. Tell your fellow Lib Dem campaigners what worked!
If you have any further questions about running events, please contact email@example.com
An example of a press release promoting an event and inviting media to participate might look like this:
Cole-Hamilton to convene summit on Edinburgh housing
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton will on Wednesday lead a summit with local MSPs, council representatives and representatives of housing organisations such as Shelter and Scottish Veterans Residences.
The summit aims to connect organisations and officials and come up with solutions for tackling shortages of housing and poor-quality housing in the city.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Alex said: “XXXX”
WHO: Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP plus representatives from Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservatives and SNP, City of Edinburgh Council Housing Convenor Jane Meagher and Director of Housing CEC Derek McGowan, Reps from Shelter, Muirhouse Housing Association, Scottish Veterans Residences, Edinburgh Living Rent, Edinburgh Napier Student Union and others.
MEDIA: Journalists are invited to observe the summit. Attendees will be available for photographs at the start of the summit. Alex will be available for interviews and clips after the summit.
If you wish to attend, please notify XXXXX on XXXXX