Thank you to everyone who turned out for our second “Neighborhood Conversation” last night at the JCC of Mid-Westchester. It was another engaging and lively discussion, with excellent comments.
In addition to offering a traditional presentation on City issues, I’ve been experimenting at these meetings with an online interactive program called Slido that allows the audience to provide real-time feedback on priorities, likes, concerns, etc. It’s a really interesting way to gather and display opinions from the whole group.
This same program also helps to democratize the Q & A process. Using Slido, any member of the audience can submit a question(s), and then everyone is subsequently invited to “vote” on the questions that match their interests. Slido sorts the questions by number of votes, and then we cover as many topics as time permits, in order of audience preference. The standard method of selecting questions tends to reward whoever is most aggressive about grabbing the microphone; if you’re quiet, or shy, or just don’t know the rules of the game, then you’re out of luck. By contrast, this alternate method is fair and inclusive; everybody participates and everybody’s opinion counts equally. As the moderator of the meeting, I have no role in screening, filtering, or selecting the questions. In fact, I don’t even know what questions are submitted until the top-ranked topics pop up on the presentation screen for me to field. No method is perfect, but my impression is that the great majority of people who participated found this interactive process to be constructive, transparent, and fun.