Arlington is comprised of people that are smart and very short on time. Individuals are busy with work, school, and home. Furthermore, our residents have experience learning, developing concepts, and negotiating.
A typical Arlington meeting lasts three hours
10 min of introductions and opening
2.5 hours of powerpoint presentations
10 min of Q&A
10 min of next steps
No one should ever give multiple hours of powerpoints even if they are on a few different topics. My conspiracy theory is that they use the meetings as a way to check the box that they have “sought the public's feedback” and control the amount and quality of the feedback by keeping the Q&A to a minimum.
This misuse of people's time results in individuals not attending meetings, multitasking and leaving early.
Arlington Staff could make better use of residents' time and efforts by being more respectful of how they present information and engage the public for substantive feedback. They could have voice over powerpoints available for people to listen to on their commutes or while they are doing other activities – prior to meetings so that the meetings are primarily engagement time. Other ideas include online meetings, limiting staff presentations to 20 minutes and have twice the amount of Q&A to presentation time.