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Meaningful Public Engagement

Public Engagement: Meaningful Engagement with Communities

Krystal Paisley

June 21, 2021

Trying to reach members of your community who don’t traditionally attend public meetings? Host a public engagement event instead!

Increase attendance and input from citizens by engaging them in fun, interesting events – beyond the traditional public meeting. Host a public engagement event for your next community-driven project.

Benefits of Public Engagement

Public engagement is an evolution of the traditional public meeting. Public engagement events are just that…engaging. These truly engaging events bring you to the residents, provide more inclusivity, and can gather more in-depth knowledge than a traditional public meeting.


In addition to being more interactive for residents, public engagement meetings also provide these benefits:

  • Diverse engagement. Public engagement sessions are an opportunity to engage younger community members, busy parents, and others who traditionally don’t attend public meetings.
  • Better recruitment. By engaging citizens where they are, you can recruit individuals who care and use specific components of the community. This gives you a better audience of those who truly want to see the change and are willing to carry a plan to successful completion and bring their own ideas into fruition.
  • Improved input. You’re already on track for better feedback and information through diverse engagement and more accurate recruitment, but the engagement sessions also allow for more detailed and effective input. Because these engagements are less formal than a public meeting, you can break down barriers with residents to get more in-depth and honest dialogue.

Public Engagement Examples

The possibilities for public engagement events are nearly endless! It’s important to understand your citizens, the type of feedback you need, and where you can engage with them. Then, it’s up to you to use marketing tactics to get those individuals to show up, participate, and stay involved.


Some examples of successful public engagement events:

  • Rides, arts and crafts, and live entertainment at a community festival made the perfect backdrop for a booth with project information and engagement activities.
  • A voting board with photo options at a movie in the park event helped gather youth feedback.
  • An engagement activity on the route of the local Fourth of July parade ensured visibility with community members.
  • A cross-section of the street with moving pieces for different improvements, such as a wider sidewalk or bike lane, allowed community members to physically play with their streetscape and imagine an alternate design.


Public engagement sessions aren’t one-size-fits-all. Each community and initiative has its own unique take on what will work best. These are just a few examples of what has worked in the past.

Virtual Public Engagement Sessions

Not ready for in-person events? The ms Planning Team can make your public engagement session virtual.


The benefits of public engagement sessions are too valuable to skip. Residents, stakeholders, local officials, and project leaders benefit from the insights gathered during these sessions.


Insights, experience, and new tools developed throughout the last year enable our team to do more virtually. Learn more about our virtual public engagement session solutions.

How Do I Create Meaningful Public Engagement?

It may sound fun, but hosting a public engagement event isn’t always easy.


There are many pitfalls when transforming a meeting into an event, something we’ve learned along the way.


The ms Planning Team can help transform your public meeting into a public engagement event, at the right place and the right time. We also develop unique marketing tactics and create fun activities for all age levels to make sure you get the most out of your session.


Ready to get started? Contact the ms Planning Team today!