Improving Citizen Engagement in Virtual Meetings

Turn adversity in to opportunity

As local governments are faced with difficult new challenges everyday, one thing remains the same, the show must go on. Local governments need to adapt and ensure that duties and services continue regardless of the circumstances and nowhere is that more evident than with council and board meetings where important information is shared, valuable opinions are heard and critical decisions are made. Virtual meetings are a solution, that if executed well, can keep board members and citizens alike safe and engaged in government business.

So, how do you ensure that you can run virtual meetings that include and engage the public in a simple and effective way? According to management consultants like Global Reach and MindTools the secret to success is, “Choose the Right Technology”. But when it comes to government meetings specifically, standard business tools like Zoom, Skype and GoToMeeting fall short of local government requirements. That’s why you need to look at software specifically developed to deal with the intricacies of government business including:

  • Agenda management

  • Instant roll call

  • Motions with visual cues

  • Simultaneous electronic voting

  • Automatic meeting logs with time stamps

  • Public Display for community engagement

  • Easy in-person and remote connection

OpenMeeting Board Meeting Software Example

And perhaps more importantly, you need to know that the partner you work with understands these specific government needs and will be there to support you from set up to follow up. Someone who can help guide you through the process and make sure you are set to run great meetings for your board or council and feel confident you can easily invite the public to participate and engage.

That’s where OpenMeeting comes in. Trusted by local governments across the country, the OpenMeeting platform makes meetings easy! OpenMeeting offers all the tools and capability you need to not just survive these challenging times but innovate and thrive, inviting citizens to participate in new and meaningful ways. Take for example Benton County, Tennessee, where like many other counties they needed a rapid response to the complicated reality of COVID-19 and Mayor Brett Lashlee took decisive action to take on this challenge. 

“For rural counties such as Benton, the digital age is really just coming into play within our normal operations and governmental communications with our citizens and customers. With the COVID-19 impact, this has forced an acceleration of the need for more digital enhancements.

I am a product and student of the digital age having worked in more urban settings where digital components were an everyday thing. However, I believe our local officials, employees, and citizens are now very much welcoming this into our normal and everyday working world seeing the benefits of more enhanced and efficient operations from the COVID-19 complications that were placed on us suddenly. Maybe that was one benefit of the virus, but a benefit very much needed for the rural areas as it was long overdue.

We are excited about getting this new system up and running and incorporating it into our everyday world. It will definitely allow for more transparency to our citizens as well as aiding various departments and legislative processes.”

– Brent Lashlee, Benton County Mayor

OpenMeeting represents the latest in local government meeting technology, with an intuitive interface and features that allow for start-to-finish meeting management, the capture and distribution of meeting notes, as well as remote electronic voting with time stamp validation. This proven software solution has already been successfully implemented across the nation to optimize the virtual meeting experience.

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Ready to modernize your legislative meetings? Talk to one of our experts and see if OpenMeeting is a fit for you.