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Although public hearings are the most common form of citizen input, they often fail to achieve their objectives. This nationwide survey of city administrators identifies factors that contribute most to successful public hearings. The most successful hearings have (1) a greater number of prehearing educational methods, (2) more media types and greater media frequency in the formal presentation, (3) more control over speakers' presentation time, (4) greater use of open follow-up meetings, and (5) more use of newspaper and direct mail to communicate posthearing decisions to the public. The qualitative data reveal city managers' 10 critical factors that are essential to the success of public hearings: effectively notifying and educating the public before the hearing; carefully planning the meeting; giving a clear, media-rich presentation of the issues; properly facilitating the meeting; and conducting appropriate follow-up.