Speak Out (Version 1)

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<< Your Care Your Say

Engagement range


Difficulty level



Low (up to $1000) to Medium ($1000 to $10,000)

When you might use

  • To develop community capacity

  • To communicate an issue

  • To discover community issues

Number of people to organise

One to three

Audience numbers

Medium (10-30) to Large (over 30)


Medium (six weeks to six months)


Issues/resources to think about   Publicity: Venue; Furniture; Catering; Staffing; Moderator/facilitator; audiovisual recording equipment and amplification; Overhead/data projectors and screen; Printed public information materials; Response sheets; Props for working in groups (pens, paper, pins, etc.); Children’s requirements

Innovation level

Low to Medium



A speakout is an event where a group of people give testimony about a particular issue. The people speaking can be ‘experts’ giving factual information to educate the audience and media, or they can be lay people who are personally affected by the issue talking about their lives, or a combination of both.

Speakouts/soapboxes can be organised events or events that are arranged by participants. They are a venue for public comment and debate and are usually informal with a limited agenda. Formally organised Speakouts/soapboxes should be relaxed and should not attempt to steer a discussion and hence set an agenda.



To provide people with specific information on an issue.


Desired Outcome

A wider airing of views, and greater awareness of other people’s contributions to a particular process or issue.



  • Useful when conflicting viewpoints exist.
  • Useful when debate is required to refine understanding of issues.
  • Useful when a particular group or individuals are affected by a project.
  • Can educate.
  • Allows organisers to meet people and develop networks.

Special considerations/weaknesses

  • Can be difficult to direct (often speak outs occur because groups feel their voices are not being heard).
  • Popular with activists, and may not have a balance of opinions.
  • The discussion may be difficult to incorporate into a formal consultation program.

Step by step guide

  1. Identify the issue of interest.
  2. Book venue and invite experts.
  3. Publicise speak out/soapbox.
  4. Take care of legal and other responsibilities.
  5. Hire facilitator.
  6. Organise recorders.
  7. Explain time limits to each speaker (five minutes maximum).
  8. After the event, prepare statement/report for media and authorities.


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