Hold a community conversation

We encourage you to bring together a group and run a guided community conversation.

This is a social and dynamic way to have your say on how we can achieve gender equality in the ACT.

How to host a community guided conversation in 3 simple steps

1. Find your people

Get together with a small group of people and pick one or more of the Third Action Plan priority areas your group is interested in having a conversation about.

2. Have a conversation

Use the YourSay survey questions either online or download and print this pdf of the Group Survey Workbook.

The survey questions will help you to get the conversation started.

Below you can find useful information to support your conversation. This information is also available to download and print in this guide on How to Host a Guided Community Conversation.

3. Share the results

Nominate one person to be your host and to fill in the YourSay survey questions. When you have finished talking about a priority area, your nominated person will submit your feedback in the YourSay survey on behalf of the group.


The ACT Government would like to know how we can improve gender equality and the wellbeing of women and girls in the ACT in the following areas:

We are calling on the Canberra community to help us create the Third Action Plan under the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-26. The Third Action Plan will guide our whole of community approach to gender equality over the next 3 years.

Community organisations, groups, and industry peaks are encouraged to support these conversations with their members so we can help more Canberrans to get involved.

There are 3 ways to get involved:

What is a guided community conversation?

A guided community conversation is exactly that, a guided conversation between community members. It is a way for groups of people to come together to discuss the areas that are important to them and share their ideas and experiences.

Guided community conversations can take place with any small group of people, in any location. It can be a group of friends around a kitchen table or in a café, colleagues in the workplace, members of a trusted local organisation, at a community group meeting or even a sporting team after a training session.

These conversations are an opportunity to start a conversation about how we can support greater gender equality in the Canberra community. They will also help the ACT Government better understand the ideas and experiences of women and girls so we can plan for real change.

These conversations are guided by questions from the Third Action Plan YourSay survey. The YourSay survey has a number of questions and discussion topics, which are grouped under the five priority areas.

Why use this approach?

Guided community conversations are a social and dynamic way to have your say on how we can achieve gender equality. They give group members an opportunity to share their experiences and ideas about how to improve local services.

Using the YourSay survey to submit your group’s feedback is easy and quick and can be filled out on your phone or tablet. It is also designed so your group members can focus on the priority area, questions or topics that are most important to them.

How do I host a Guided Community Conversation?

Who can participate?

Any group of people, including friends, colleagues, teammates, a community group or organisation can participate in a guided community conversation on the Women’s Third Action Plan.

Women, girls, and people of all genders can participate in a guided community conversation. To make sure we continue to break down barriers to accessing services and support, we encourage Canberrans from all walks of life to participate.

At least one member of the group will need to have access to a computer, phone or smart device to submit your feedback in the YourSay survey.

Every guided community conversation group will need to nominate a host to lead the conversation, take notes on the discussion and submit your group’s responses in the YourSay survey.

What we want to know

We want to know what you think is important to improve the wellbeing of women and girls in the ACT. How can these priority areas be improved to better support women, girls and gender equality:

  • Accessing the services they need in the ACT
  • Supporting their mental and physical health
  • Accessing secure housing options
  • Feeling safe at home and in public places
  • Making workplaces more gender equitable

Guided community conversations will help to start conversations and allow group members to share their thoughts and perspectives on how the ACT Government can better support women and girls.

What you will need

  • A few people to come together to talk
  • A laptop, tablet or mobile phone to submit the group’s feedback in the YourSay survey
  • A pen and notebook or laptop to take notes
  • This how-to guide to help guide the conversations.

How to host a Guided Community Conversation

Every guided community conversation needs a host. The host is responsible for helping the group through the process, communicating the questions from the survey and recording the group’s responses.

A guided community conversation host supports all members of the group to participate and have their voices heard, including those who may have trouble using the YourSay platform.

The host should follow these simple steps for the guided community conversation.

  • Start the conversation by welcoming everyone and sharing information about the aim of the guided community conversation. You can use the script below as a guide.
  • Open the YourSay survey. You will be asked to answer some basic questions about the members of your group. These questions will help us better understand the perspectives and needs people with diverse lived experiences.
  • Ask the group which priority area(s) the group would like to focus on. You don’t need to respond to every question or priority area.
  • Nominate one person in the group who will submit feedback to the YourSay survey on the behalf of the group. This person can be the host or another member of the group
  • Read out the questions in the survey that you and your group would like to answer. There are prompting questions and guidance in the survey to help you.
  • Complete the online YourSay survey and make sure you pick the “I’m filling this out through a guided community conversation” option at the start of the survey form.

A script to help your conversation

Starting the conversation

  • Thanks for coming: ‘Welcome everyone and thank you for coming together today to talk about our experiences and perspectives on how to achieve gender equality in Canberra’
  • Acknowledgement of Country: ‘I would like to start by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Ngunnawal people, we acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and region, and we also welcome any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today.’
  • Handling sensitive topics: Some questions and topics may not be appropriate for all groups. It is recommended the host read the questions before asking the group to provide feedback. If the question may cause some members in the group to become uncomfortable or distressed, this question should not be asked. Group members should not be asked to provide personal information about their medical history or similar sensitive information.

  • Consider setting a time limit and letting people know they can take breaks: ‘This discussion will take about an hour. If anyone needs to take a break at any time, please feel free to do that. The conversation will continue, but your views will still be included.’

  • Discuss confidentiality and get agreement: ‘I will not be providing the ACT Government with any of your names and the government will not share any of your personal stories or experiences. Also, what we discuss today should not be shared with other people. We want everyone to feel safe to say what they think in this group. Can everyone agree to that?’
  • Introductions: Introduce the members of the group to each other, if required.
  • Introduction to the Women’s Third Action Plan: ‘The ACT Government is developing the next action plan to improve the wellbeing of all women and girls in Canberra. The goal of the action plan is to help shape the ACT Government’s future work towards gender equality.’
  • Hearing from community: ‘The ACT Government wants to understand how it can improve its programs and services to better address the needs of women. One of the ways the ACT Government is encouraging people to provide feedback is to get together in pairs or in small groups to discuss what is important to them in achieving gender equality.’
  • Ask someone to take notes and explain the YourSay survey: ‘While we are talking I (or nominate someone) will take notes based on our conversation. At the end of our discussion, we will fill out the survey with what we think is most important for the ACT Government to know from our experiences and perspectives.’
  • Ask the group what priority areas they would like to discuss first: ‘There are lots of areas in our lives and factors that contribute to gender equality here in the ACT. Under the Third Action Plan the priority areas are:
    • Accessing the services we need in the ACT
    • Supporting our mental and physical health
    • Accessing secure housing options
    • Feeling safe at home and in public places
    • Making workplaces more gender equitable
  • Use the YourSay group survey questions to guide your discussion
  • Bring discussion to a close by summarising the main things discussed: ‘Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and the things that are important to you. Things that seemed most important to people include …’
  • Tell the group how the ACT Government will listen and respond to what they have said: ‘The ACT Government will be gathering all of the experiences and recommendations people share with them and putting them together in a report. The report will summarise the feedback people shared to improve gender equality in the ACT. This report will be available for everyone to read.’

  • Thank everyone again for their contribution and close the guided community conversation.