My planning office will be conducting a focus group next week in order to solicit public input on several municipally-owned vacant properties that we'd like to draft RFPs for, with the goal being to see some development on these sites. We would include the public input within the RFPs that we would send out. We initially anticipated having about a dozen people attend the focus group, but we've received more interest than we initially anticipated - we now have about two dozen interested people. It's possible that more people could sign up to attend by the end of the week. We did not anticipate such a sudden surge of new interest in the event; news of the group apparently went viral in the community and we got a surge of interest within the span of a couple days. A number of them were people referred to us by the elected officials in the community.
Typically, focus groups are conducted with a dozen people or less. If all of those who have signed up turn out for the event turn out, it's not going to be possible to have a lot of dialogue. What has been everyone's experience with managing a focus group-style event with a large number of participants? Bear in mind that we want this not to be one-way presentation, but rather a discussion. Thanks.