Once you’ve got a critical mass of interested people, it’s time to start the conversation. Here are a few tips:
Keep It Informal
Whether you’re meeting in person or gathering online, treat the early days of your group as a chance to get to know one another, talk about your city, learn a little about the Strong Towns approach, and start to get a sense of how you might work together to utilize it in your neighborhoods.
Keep It Open to All Experience Levels
Emphasize that while anyone is welcome to visit (or review) the newcomers tab at Strong Towns—if they’d like to learn more about our vision and mission—absolutely no experience, vocabulary, or urban planning knowledge is necessary to join the conversation; just open minds and a passion for making your community stronger.
Send out a Doodle poll with a few days and times for a first meetup to find a slot that works for a quorum of people, rather than picking a random date and time. Shoot for about 3–4 weeks out, unless you have a venue in mind that you know will require more lead time. You may also solicit suggestions for a venue from your group; we recommend someplace public, with enough space to fit your group and not so noisy that no one can hear. Pick a bar, restaurant, library meeting room, or other space that you think might be suitable, and when you call to make the reservation, be sure to ask about noise level and number of chairs.
Keep It Accessible
Especially for in-person meet ups, ask your list whether they require childcare, disability accommodations, interpreter services, or any other special needs that you can reasonably provide.