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information and resources required for ensuring good community relations

A meeting is a coming together of people for a specific purpose. The meeting can involve a large number of people, or a smaller (under 10) number of people who focus on a specific problem or purpose. Meetings generally have a facilitator who encourages two-way communication, and a recorder who records suggestions and issues that are revealed at the meeting.

Public meetings provide a good focal point for media interest in an event, and photos can provide a visual indicator or levels of interest and the range of people who attended. Public meetings are often the springboard for a movement or for the establishment of a common-interest group which will continue to act on the issues raised and suggestions made.

Public meetings are familiar, established ways for people to come together to express their opinions, hear a public speaker, or plan a strategy. They can build a feeling of community and attendance levels provide an indicator of the level of interest within a community on a particular issue.

Smaller focus group meetings can be made up of people with common concerns who may not feel confident speaking up in a larger public gathering (e.g. women, those who speak English as a second language, Indigenous groups). In a separate venue, these people can speak comfortably together, share common issues and a common purpose. The findings from focus group meetings can be presented to larger group meetings, giving a ‘voice’ to those in the community who are unable to speak up in a larger meeting

 Special considerations/weaknesses:

 Unless well facilitated, those perceived as having power within the community, or those who are most articulate and domineering in their verbal style can dominate the meeting.

  • Participants may not come from a broad enough range to represent the entire community.
  • Organisers must be aware of potential conflicts.
  • Community members may not be willing to work together.
  • May not achieve consensus.
  • Can be time and labour intensive.

Resources required:

 Venue rental/ Facilities

  • Catering
  • Staffing
  • Moderator/facilitator
  • Overhead projectors
  • Data projectors
  • Video
  • Slide projector
  • Projection screen
  • Props for working in groups (pens, paper, pins, etc.)
  • Children’s requirements
  • People
  • Communications and warning technologies
  • Fire protection and life safety systems
  • Pollution control systems
  • Equipment
  • Materials and supplies
  • Funding
  • Special expertise
  • Information about the threats or hazards

BEE codes of Good Practice

The B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice (“the Codes”) can be seen as the BEE rule book. Gazetted in February 2007, the Codes have added certainty to the BEE landscape and provide universal standards for the implementation and measurement of BEE initiatives, with the view of providing consistency, transparency and clear direction on BEE.

Through the use of a BEE Scorecard, the Codes have thus seen BEE become an objective discipline with quantifiable and defined criteria and rules. The Codes have facilitated a move away from BEE being measured only in terms of the original ‘narrow’ BEE criteria towards a more ‘Broad-Based’ approach to empowerment, now incorporating 7 broad based BEE elements.

Good facilitators share common characteristics

1. Be prepared
2. Have clear objectives and goals
3. Clarify meeting expectations
4. Allow participants to learn from one another
5. Expect participants to be engaged
6. Enforce positive and respectful interaction
7. Summarize and clarify difficult content or discussions
8. Ask open-ended questions and listen carefully
9. Be aware of pacing; keep an eye on the clock; keep it moving
10. Clarify with examples but don’t overuse stories
11. Be positive, enthusiastic, and focused
12. Trust your participants to have good ideas
13. Maintain a balance of content and process
14. Include a variety of activities
15. Offer encouragement, praise, and recognition
16. Be sure that your content has a beginning, middle, and end.
17. Gear your material for your audience—challenge them
18. Understand that people like to learn in different ways
19. Have a sense of closure or a call to action
20. Solicit “real” evaluations
21. Solicit ideas, new perspectives, and fresh points of view.
22. Encourage constructive differences of opinion
23. Keep participation balanced
24. Park or table topics that will derail the focus of the session
25. Get agreement on group actions
26.Work toward consensus whenever possible
27. Pay attention to participant reactions, moods, and attentiveness.
28. Listen, listen, listen