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Facilitating Big, Difficult Public Meetings

Here are the scenarios: The popular director is fired or the unpopular director is not fired. Things get ugly. Collections, staffing, the budget, and programming are challenged, and things get ugly. Two hundred people show up at your public board meeting for conflicting reasons – you expected 25. Before the meeting, political pressure comes from different directions. Factions show up and face off about issues that have nothing to do with the meeting’s agenda. The usually uneventful library board meeting is now taken over by angry, shouting stakeholders, some of whom are not listening. And the media has arrived and they are not exactly neutral.

How do you ensure that participants are heard, decisions are made in a timely fashion, and everyone is treated fairly and with respect, regardless of the outcome?

Topics covered in this webinar include getting ready for a crowd, dealing with the media, how better to communicate the intent and expected outcomes of a public meeting. In addition, we’ll discuss preparing the venue, the importance of well-trained volunteers, double-checking the facts, what can and will go wrong, why feelings are as important as facts, why follow-up is so crucial, and how to measure or describe success.

Following this webinar, you will know how to:

• Run public meetings that receive good reviews from most participants and the press.

• Better anticipate problems with hecklers, dissidents, and provocateurs.

• Create a process that respects minority opinions.

• Review local and state rules regarding open meeting protocols and their impact on your library.

Facilitating Big, Difficult Public Meetings


$25 per person for 4+licenses

  • Pat Wagner is a trainer and consultant with over 40 years of experience working for libraries, universities, local government, nonprofits, and small businesses. She supports the success of libraries with programs on personnel, supervision, management, leadership, marketing, strategic planning, project management, and communication. Pat has worked with libraries and library organizations throughout the United States, from the smallest rural storefronts to the largest academic and urban library institutions. Pat also is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences. She is known for her good-humored and practical presentations.

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