An Information Session meeting uses a specific format designed to educate the general public about FA. FA recommends that established meetings hold at least one Information Session per year, to provide the greatest opportunity for the community to hear the FA solution. Critical to the success of this meeting is the effort members take to announce the Information Session to the public via the media. The more public awareness of the Information Session, the better for FA, but exposure takes time and effort. Creating awareness should start at least four weeks prior to the date of the Information Session.
Before starting the process to plan an information session, please take a look at the Documents and Forms section at the bottom of this page and also found in the PI kit.
1. Use the Information Session Task List. Tasks to complete before the Information Session primarily involve raising awareness. The PI Representative coordinates this effort but needs the help of other meeting members to organize and publicize the event. (The Information Session trifold brochure is identical to the Meeting Announcement trifolds, but you must edit it as well as the flyer to indicate that it's for an Information Session, not to announce a new or weekly meeting. Information session trifolds can be found under the Trifolds tab on the PI section of the FA website.)
- Meeting Announcement trifold brochures for Information Sessions (the same trifold brochures used for weekly meetings). Insert the Information Session’s date, place and time in the appropriate place, on the front of the flyer or on the back of the tri-fold meeting announcement brochure using a computer. If necessary, use a typed sticker or neat printing.
- Identify several places to post the brochures, i.e., gyms, places of worship, laundromats, supermarkets, hospitals, colleges and community or senior centers. Obtain permission from management before posting.
2. Four weeks prior to the event, announce the Information Session in publications and broadcast media (TV, cable, radio) in the meeting’s area and surrounding communities. Often local newspapers publish information and upcoming events for free. Local cable and radio stations also announce community events regularly. Craigslist and newspapers online community sites and the online version of local newspapers and stations have also been good sources.
- For a list of community media resources, contact the PI committee for a Cision list request from our Cision media database of media contacts so the PI committee can pull a media list for you for your area’s local list of newspapers, college newspapers, radio and TV stations, etc. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. They will look in the Cision database, a database of media professionals across the U.S., and send you a list of media in your area. You can also ask other FA members, friends, and neighbors what publications and broadcast media they read/view, and look into who the reporters or writers are for those media. Use the phonebook or an online directory service to compile a list of additional media resources in addition to the list you request from Cision. You can also write down your media list contacts and keep track of them using the "Record of media and PI contacts" form.
- Designate who will contact the newspapers, magazines, cable TV, radio stations, and community websites and suggest they keep track of who they've contacted so they'll know who to call for follow-up calls. You must have at least two years of abstinence to conduct an interview with the media, but to simply not contact them. However, it is suggested that FA members contacting the media have at least 90 days and then pass the contact off to a member with over two years of abstinence (even if FA members with longer-term abstinence can only be located outside your area) if a media editor/reporter requests a story or interview as a result of your contacting them to let them know about your Information Session. Don't hesitate to ask experienced FA members outside of your area for help and additional support.
- Ask how to have information about a community event published. Clarify the name of the events editor/coordinator who organizes these listings, so you get to the right person.
- For print publications such as newspapers, download and modify the templates for the Information Session Calendar Announcements – Long and Short Versions.
- Request that the notice be published on a regular basis until the date of the meeting.
- Use these Information Session Calendar Posting Instructions to send your request to place your Information Session on the Information Session Calendar page of the FA website.
3. Recruit Information Session speakers at least four weeks prior to the Information Session.
- Identify two to four members with 90 days or more of continuous FA abstinence from your local meeting or the broader FA community. They should demonstrate physical, mental and spiritual recovery, and have sufficient knowledge of the FA program and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. It’s helpful if the speaker panel represents a wide range of demographics in addictive behaviors, age, gender, socio-economic background, race, etc.
- Invite these members to serve as a panel of speakers at the Information Session, and give each of them the FA Information Session Meeting Format and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about FA to review.
Critical to the success of the Information Session is the welcoming of newcomers to the meeting. The first impression a newcomer has of FA is influenced by the interactions that occur with FA members. For this reason, it is vital that FA newcomers be greeted with warmth and humility, never with a feeling of elitism or cliquishness.
- Literature should be set up and displayed in an organized way.
- Name tags and pens should be available to FA members, so that they can be identified as FA members as opposed to newcomers.
- Estimate the number of newcomers in attendance and, if possible, find out during conversation how they heard about the Information Session. Remember, however, that the newcomers’ comfort and sense of anonymity should come before collecting these data.
- The session is led by a moderator, following the FA Information Session Meeting Format. introducing each panelist. The moderator will introduce each panelist.
- Each panelist shares experience, strength and hope using personal history. Each panelist shares for 10-20 minutes depending on the number of speakers. The focus should be on food addiction in each panelist’s own life without a lot of time spent explaining the details of the program, i.e., daily use of tools. Panelist should be sure to stay within the allotted amount of time.
- The moderator or panelists should answer questions during the Q&A period. Remember that we are not authorities on the subject of food addiction. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer to a question asked of you.
- Refer to the fact that FA is a Twelve Step Program, patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. This will answer many questions.
- If you state an opinion of your own, explain that it is your experience and not necessarily representative of FA as a whole.
- Remember that FA is not in competition with anyone and that we are not a professional organization.
- Remember the importance of your non-FA listener. They may know food addicts as friends, acquaintances, relatives, neighbors or colleagues. They may pass on information that can help someone else.
- Ensure that the Information Session Evaluation Form is completed and returned to the FA World Service PI Committee.
- Members may spend their own money on items for the Information Session, and they should be reimbursed later from the monies collected during the regular meeting’s passing of the basket for the Seventh Tradition. Information Sessions are funded either by a specific meeting, groups of meetings or their chapter or Intergroup.
Documents and Forms:
Requesting WSI documents in Word Format:
To request a Word version of a document, email your request to email@example.com
• In the subject line of your email, type the name of the document you need.
• In the body of the email, copy and paste the URL of the web page where the document is posted.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org