I was recently sharing some war stories with my colleagues, and we started discussing the worst things that you could say during a public meeting you are hosting. I can tell you that I have heard all of these during meetings, and all led to a disastrous end.
I would encourage you to read all of these, and completely remove them from your mind. I warn you now, these are the worst things to say during a public meeting:
1. I am from the Government and here to help
2. We have two plans and we need you to select one
3. We master planned your entire community in just one day
4. We do not have a budget yet
5. The comment box for tonights meeting is located at the back of the room
6. We are in the construction phase. We really needed your input 6 months ago when we were in the planning phase
7. We have hired a world famous consultant to solve all our problems: Translation, We hired an expensive consultant to deal with you
8. We hired a communications expert to explain what we are doing
9. We are showing these plans to you (the community) as a courtesy
10. We are required by (any government agency) to hold this meeting
Please feel free to add your own war stories here under comments.
Here is a link to a great follow up to this post. Speech Habits Worth Breaking