BEFORE/DURING THE TOWN HALL
1. Get there early, meet up, and get organized. Meet outside or in the parking lot for a quick huddle before the event and distribute the handout of questions, signs etc.
2. Get seated and spread out. Head into the venue a bit early to grab seats at the front half of the room, but do not all sit together. Sit by yourself or in groups of two, and spread out throughout the room. This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.
3. Make your voices heard by asking good questions. When the MoC opens the floor for questions, everyone in the group should put their hands up and keep them there. Look friendly or neutral so that staffers will call on you. When you’re asking a question, remember the following guidelines:
- Stick with the prepared list of questions.
- Read it straight from the printout if needed.
- Be polite but persistent, and demand real answers. MoCs are very good at deflecting or dodging questions they don’t want to answer. If the MoC dodges, ask a follow-up question.
- Don’t give up the mic until you’re satisfied with the answer. If they try to take the mic, object, then say politely but loudly: “I’m not finished. The MoC is dodging my question?”
- Keep the pressure on. After one member of the group finishes, everyone should raise their hands again and should move down the list of questions and ask the next one.
4. Support the group and reinforce the message. After one member of your group asks a question, everyone should applaud to show that the feeling is shared.
5. Record everything! Assign someone in the group to use their smart phone or video camera to record other advocates asking questions and the MoC’s response; exchanges caught on video can be devastating for MoC's. These clips can be shared through social media and picked up by local and national media. Please familiarize yourself with your state and local laws that govern recording, along with any applicable Senate or House rules, prior to recording. These laws and rules vary substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
AFTER THE TOWN HALL
1. Reach Out to Media. Approach the media at the town hall, and offer to speak about your concerns. When the event is over, you should engage local reporters on Twitter or by email and offer to provide an in-person account of what happened, as well as the video footage you collected.
2. Share Everything. Post pictures, video, your own thoughts about the event, etc., to social media afterward. Tag the MoC’s office and encourage others to share widely.