Tips for your Town Hall Meeting
What is a Town Hall Meeting?
A town hall meeting is an informal public meeting that gives the members of a community an opportunity to
get together to discuss emerging issues and to voice concerns and preferences for their community.
The structure of a town hall meeting is usually very loose. Typically, officials sit in the front, facing the
group, and the group is seated in rows. When the meeting is opened, people in the group may ask questions
or bring issues up and the Members of Congress may then respond.
Some Members of Congress may also have “telephone town halls” where constituents can call-on and ask
questions about various issues.
Tips for Town Hall Meetings
• Get the event details. Make sure you have the date, time and location of the town hall meeting. The
American Diabetes Association will send out notices about the town halls we hear about. You can also
go to the websites of your Members of Congress and sign up for their newsletters which will often notify
you on upcoming events.
• Have your question ready. Before you attend the town hall, take a few minutes to think about what
you want to say. There is a paragraph below with some sample questions. Think about what issues are
important to you and practice your question. If you have a personal story regarding health care include it
in your statement. Personal stories will give your question much greater impact and may attract the
attention of any media in attendance. Also make sure your question is brief and direct. Finally, be sure to
speak clearly and loudly to ensure you are heard.
• Arrive early. Some town hall events are widely attended, it’s best to arrive early so you can get a seat in
• Bring other people with you. Invite your family or friends to attend and show their support for
reforming health care for people with diabetes. Be sure to wear red to show you are a Diabetes
Sample Questions for Town Hall Meetings
Hi, my name is_______ and I am from (city/state). I am an American Diabetes Association Diabetes
Advocate because (insert your connection to diabetes).
I am here today because passing health care reform is very important to me. (insert your health care story –
practice so you can make your point in about 1 minute).
In addition, you can tell your Member of Congress (choose one or two points):
• Diabetes costs our country $174 billion dollars a year.
• Currently we have a system that will pay for a devastating and costly crisis caused by diabetes, like
the amputation of a leg, but all too often won’t pay for the tools needed to prevent amputation,
blindness, kidney and heart disease.
• We are also not taking the actions we need to stem the epidemic of diabetes in the face of 57 million
Americans having pre-diabetes. If we don’t take action 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will develop
diabetes during their lifetime.
• We must change the future of diabetes in our country.
• Do you support efforts to ensure that people with chronic diseases, like diabetes, cannot be denied
coverage because of a pre-existing condition or charged higher premiums because they have a chronic
• Do you support the strong investment in chronic disease prevention, wellness and public health
programs in the health care reform bill?
• Do you support current efforts to pass comprehensive health reform in 2009?