Public Comment

YOUR VOICE IS POWERFUL

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Find out the date for the next city council meeting

 

Can your local government do something about the issue? If so, make sure to be updated on all the actions already taken locally (if any) to address it.

You can do this by visiting your city’s website or simply googling “next city council meeting” followed with “name of your city”.

Once you found a city council meeting date, read through the agenda for that meeting. Yes, the city council welcomes participation in their meetings, but they can’t act on anything that is not on the agenda. Understand if the city council is studying, planning, or voting on an issue. Know what is being proposed and the options for action taken.

 

There’s typically 2-3 minutes allowed for each comment. Practicing a couple of days ahead, with a timer and out loud is the most efficient. Take notes! You can bring a note card with you and speak from that if you’d prefer.

Arrive a couple minutes early and ask your city hall what the procedure is for the meeting. At some meetings it is required to fill out a speaker card, while at others you are directed to simply line up. If you know that you will have to submit a speaker card, it’s better to submit it in advance.

Dress code is as follows: nothing too formal, but not too casual. Dress as if going to an office instead of the beach. If you are part of a group, consider wearing uniform/t-shirt/insignia. Once at the meeting, listen to anyone speaking in the room.

 

Before you start talking, identify yourself by stating your name and address. State your position clearly. Stop when the timer is up and even if you didn’t get to discuss everything you planned, thank your city council.

Research  your topic

Read through the agenda

Prepare

Visit your city hall

Attend the meeting

Speak

Public speaking is the act of talking in front of a group of people. Whether you are advocating for a specific policy or voicing your concerns, speaking at a city council meeting is a great way to get your city officials to hear you. Here are a couple of steps to get you started:

***TIPS: Be respectful. Express emotions with words and not by raising your voice, threatening, talking out of turn, using foul language, or talking past the time limit.