The optimum number of participants for a dialogue is between 70 and 100. Numbers may vary, according the topic chosen for discussion, although it is useful to have a number in mind when planning the event – something the local host should be able to advise on.
The participants will be drawn from academics, public health practitioners and policy makers (including those working in and managing front-line services) consumers and consumer advocates, producers and distributors of new low-risk nicotine products, local media and members of the public. Promotion locally should be aimed at key target groups and populations identified by the local host.
Each dialogue is designed to last a maximum of three hours. The time divided into 30 minutes with refreshments on arrival, to allow for registration and some networking, followed by two hours of panel-lead, moderated discussion and debate on the advertised topic. The event should end with a short period (30 minutes) for informal continued discussions and networking, again with refreshments provided. Experience indicates that events are best planned for afternoons.
The topic for each dialogue will be agreed between the GFN team and the local host. The panel will be drawn from:
- consumers/consumer advocate with knowledge and experience of using lower-risk nicotine products
- scientists with experience of client or research work in the field
- local public health practitioners (including smoking cessation professionals)
- opponents/sceptics of new low-risk products
- local managers of work/recreational spaces charged with developing and implementing policies and restrictions on use of products.
The panel should include no more than 5 members, along with a moderator, with the line-up being agreed between the GFN team and the local host. The panel should also ensure a good local representation – where this is possible – although external members can be included, where circumstances and finances allow.
The format is for the moderator to introduce each of the panellists and to allow them 6/7 minutes to present opening statements related to the topic for discussion. Given the short time they have, panellists are encouraged to use any a/v (PowerPoint) sparingly.
Once each of the panellists has concluded their opening statements, the moderator will open the discussion to the audience, in order that they might make additional points, or ask questions.
The moderator is will ensure there is time for each panellist to make a closing statement (maximum 2/3 minutes) to sum up their view of the discussion at the end.
The proceedings will ordinarily be filmed, with an edited version posted on the GFN website, as a permanent record of the dialogue.
The venue needs to be accessible and well served by public transport, with parking also available, and preferably located in a city/town centre.
It needs to have an area where the anticipated number of participants can be comfortably seated, along with a stage area at the front for the panel.
There also needs to be sufficient space for the serving of refreshments (tea/coffee) provided by the venue caterers.
The venue should ideally be ‘vape-friendly’ to encourage attendance by consumers.
Audio-visual equipment required is:
- Projector, laptop and screen (the venue also needs to have blinds/curtains to ensure clarity of projection where these maybe required)
- Sound system with a minimum of 6 microphones (one for the moderator, three for the panel and two roving to be used for the Q&A)
- The services of an a/v technician (where available) to operate the equipment
The local host for each dialogue will be required to undertake a number of tasks including:
- Assign a member of staff to work with the GFN team to produce and deliver the dialogue
- Source an appropriate venue for the event (the final choice to be agreed with GFN team)
- Advise on local hotel for GFN team and guest speakers requiring accommodation
- Once contracts are signed with a venue, to liaise with the venue on matters relating to equipment and services (including catering)
- Work with GFN team to plan the topic and identify panellists and a moderator for the dialogue
- Approach, confirm and liaise with panellists located locally
- Allocate a designated person to work on the promotion of the dialogue locally, using contacts, networks and social media, as well as approaching local media, to ensure local support and attendance
- Allocate two persons to welcome and register participants at the dialogue
In addition to organising the annual GFN conference, the team have experience of organising other events and will lend this experience to supporting the local host for each dialogue. The team will:
- Assign a designated person to help organise the dialogue
- Agree an action plan with the local host – timescales and specific tasks
- Assist in the venue selection
- Agree a topic for the dialogue with the local host
- Assist in identifying and securing panellists
- Set up a webpage and registration system for the dialogue
- Promote the dialogue via social media and produce materials that can also be used for promotion locally
- Use GFN databases and alerts to promote the dialogue
- Arrange, where possible, for the proceedings to be filmed
- Collate numbers attending, feedback on the dialogue and produce a short report for posting on the GFN website
The individual areas identified above are not prescriptive, but will be used rather to construct an agreement between the local host and the GFN team to ensure the smooth and effective production and delivery of the dialogue.