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How to organize a public meeting

1. Find a location: Aim for a room that you can fill safely. Better a packed small room than a half-empty auditorium!

2. The flyer is important: For postering (be sure to find out the rules regarding legal posting in your locality), and to hand out at public tablings, events, rallies, etc. Make the flyer large and easy to read from across the street. Also, make it interesting! The text should be short (a few sentences are good) and attempt to provoke questions and interest in the topic rather than explaining the whole issue. That's what the meeting is for. Too many words only take away from the main point. Be certain to include the date, time, and exact location of your meeting on the poster, along with directions and phone number for more information (it is recommended to use a dedicated branch voicemail number instead of an individual's private number, and assign someone to check it frequently).

3. Invite and confirm speakers: Name an approximate date, never less than a couple of weeks away. If you are expecting speakers from out of town for big public meetings, four weeks of preparation time is best. The speaker will need time to prepare the talk and make travel arrangements, and your branch will want time to build and publicize the meeting. You should allow ten days to two weeks of preparation for speakers from your own branch.

4. Decide the purpose of the meeting: What do you want to the talk to cover and what kind of audience are you aiming for? Make sure to communicate this to the speaker ahead of time.

5. Make sure that all comrades are asking nonmembers to attend the meeting: Comrades should also work to make the necessary arrangements to help nonmembers get to the meeting, such as offering rides or meet-ups.

6. Make sure that wider publicity is taking place: Meetings should not be publicized just through social websites and emails but also postering flyers far and wide. When postering, however, please note that there are new legal restrictions in place since 9/11 that allow police to fine organizations that poster in banned public places. For this reason, the ISO does not endorse its members placing flyers in public places where prohibited by local or state law. Examples may include mailboxes, light poles or signposts. Members are encouraged to verify their state and local law for application regulations. All flyers should be marked "Do not post where prohibited."

7. Try to get stories or interviews on local radio stations or in newspapers with the speaker: if you can provide a newsworthy angle, they may run a story or an interview that includes details of the meeting.

8. Assign a comrade to organize a literature table for the meeting: The table should have books and pamphlets relevant to the topic of the meeting, along with a general selection of Marxist literature including the ISR and Socialist Worker.