AmericaSpeaks is a consulting firm specializing in public engagement for decision making. The group uses various high- and low-tech tools and methodologies to bring diverse groups of citizens together to discuss and deliberate community issues.
AmericaSpeaks engages citizens in the public decision making and helps to develop tools that increase collaboration, information sharing, and consensus. The organization focuses on pilot projects to test tools and methodologies as well as reports and resources for use across the country. Consulting services in community engagement and strategic planning are also major offerings of the organization, along with the services of public speakers and meeting facilitators.
AmericaSpeaks’ 21st Century Town Meeting focuses on discussion and deliberation among citizens rather than speeches, question-and-answer sessions or panel presentations. Diverse groups of citizens participate in round-table discussions (10-12 people per table), deliberating in depth about key policy, resource allocation or planning issues. Technology (using keypad polling and networked computers) transforms the individual table discussions into synthesized recommendations representative of the whole room.