What is a Telephone Town Hall?
A Telephone Town Hall (TTH) is a technology that permits the host, whether it is a business, civic organization, interest group, or political entity, to reach and interact with potentially thousands of people instantaneously over the phone. The TTH permits organizations to talk to their constituents in order to gather opinions, have discussions, and address problems verbally. In essence, it is a conference call writ large.
The value in the TTH is in the ability to reach hundreds or thousands of customers/clients/constituents at one time. The host has the advantage of learning about issues and getting instant feedback directly from the group, regardless of size. In other words, there is an opportunity to gather data about the important issues by having the attendees indicate their preference, or "voting" by using the numbers on their phone. In essence, this is the same as people in a traditional town hall meeting raising their hand to indicate their approval or disapproval of an issue.
The group has the advantage of being able to communicate with the host from the comfort of their home or business without the effort required to deal with traffic, parking, child care, etc. They can also usually drop in or drop out as their schedule permits. The capacity of the venue is also not an issue with a TTH.
Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. of Augusta conducted his first TTH as Mayor on July 21, 2015. Click here to see the results from this inaugural Telephone Town Hall!
How Does a Telephone Town Hall Work?
The TTH works by using a dial-out (as well as a dial-in for people who didn't get a call) to perform a mass call to the target group. The people in the target group answer the call, and then are prompted to press numbers on the phone to indicate their preference for participating on the call. Persons who are NOT called by the system have the option of calling a number in order to participate. Once they are on the call, participants have the option of just listening in, or they can raise their hand "digitally" in order to ask a question.
How Can I Participate?
Citizens can call 311 or the Mayor's Office at 706-821-1831, if they need assistance with local government issues.