AMP Toolbox

Stakeholder meetings
 Note: description of this tool is adapted from the FAO –EAF tool box (staging meetings for poor agricultural communities).

All steps may require organising stakeholder meetings. However participation with stakeholders should be more intense for Step 1.

• To elicit greater involvement of stakeholders in the policy-making process
• To clarify the purpose and objectives of the process
• To present findings or outcomes to the selected stakeholders from completed relevant steps in the policy cycle to inform, elicit comments and potentially identify necessary corrections

Stakeholders can be called together at the beginning of a policy-planning process in order to explain the purpose of the policy and elicit support and cooperation. Such meetings are usually the first and most consistent exposure of the policy-maker team to the stakeholders as a whole. It may very well be here that the cohesion and trust of the stakeholders is gained. In some cases such introductory meetings may be fundamental in order to put stakeholders at ease regarding the presence of policy-maker staff, consultants etc. operating within the stakeholder group.

These are meetings to involve the broader stakeholder groups as a whole as opposed to focus groups or some more targeted group. They will usually be more for information delivery than wanting to find out information, which is best done in a workshop.

Even simple meetings require a degree of careful planning to be successful. The Appendix below outlines the steps that can help to plan a good meeting.

The chairman of the meeting must have enough authority to keep the meeting on track, but enough sensitivity to enable as many people as possible to raise any relevant concerns about completing the policy-making process.
If a degree of difficulty is expected, it may be better to have a more experienced person to manage the meeting and, in some cases, having an independent person can be useful.

Beware of hidden agendas, groups or individuals who might use the meeting to bring up their own, unrelated concerns. The chairman might side-step this by saying, "That's not the purpose of this meeting; you might want to hold another meeting to discuss that issue".
Ask how information is relayed around the stakeholder group. Is it exclusively by word-of-mouth or by reports? Are there mass media or specialised papers interested in these policy issues?

Stakeholder meetings are one of the most common forms of consultation used in management and other planning processes.

A stakeholder meeting may be used as a precursor to holding a stakeholder workshop.
The PowerPoint presentations available from the AMP presentation tools may assist in undertaking these meetings.


Low to moderate
These can be very inexpensive if the meeting is held in a location that is easy for most people to get to and the venue doesn’t cost too much. The costs can rise if there is a need to hire a venue and pay for people to attend.

Low to moderate
The meetings can be chaired by someone with the right personality or level of stakeholder respect if there is no-one with direct experience in chairing such meetings. The more likely it is that the audience may be difficult, the greater should be the experience of the chairperson.

Background requirements
These meetings do not require any formal knowledge beforehand. They are generally designed to enlighten people.

Moderate – high
This is the purpose of this tool. The number of attendees will be a function of the interest, accessibility, timing and size of the venue.

Time range
Short – moderate
Meetings can be called and held in a fairly rapid manner if required. But the best meetings are where there is sufficient notice given to enable people to schedule their attendance.

Source of information

FAO 2009 Enhancing stakeholder participation in national forest programmes: Tools for practitioners.
The community's toolbox: The idea, methods and tools for participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation in community forestry.


Steps to a good stakeholders meeting:

1. Know what the meeting is meant to accomplish, from the perspective of both outsiders and insiders. Obtain the approval and involvement of some stakeholder leaders.
2. Prepare a calendar of dates to help check day-to-day preparations.
3. Arrange a convenient time and place for the meeting. Consider the size and composition of the group.
4. After establishing a time when most people can attend, let involved stakeholders know about it well in advance.
5. Inform the group of the purpose of the meeting using convenient media routinely used by the stakeholders in this group.
6. Consider logistical constraints and accommodation aspects, especially for stakeholders having to travel to the meeting place.
7. Plan/prepare hand-outs/materials to be distributed. Plan a method of distribution.
8. A stakeholder of the group with experience in meetings can help facilitate the meeting.