Anyone who’s attended a powerful conference or an especially engaging company summit knows that feeling that bubbles up post-event. It’s an energy that’s almost palpable, making you that much more eager to innovate in your work. Town hall meetings hold enormous potential to spark lasting employee engagement.
Effective town halls not only energize employees, they can also create a sense of connectivity between employees at every level of the organization. But town hall meetings don’t automatically achieve these effects. Immersive, engaging live experiences are crucial to bolster teamwork and further your communication strategy.
Consider these 4 steps as you begin to plan your next town hall:
- Fully Prepare Pre-Meeting: A well thought-out town hall plan will help ensure you meet your goals.
Create an agenda that sets a clear mission and goals for the town hall, helping leadership and teams alike to align. Build curiosity and excitement for the event with a multi-channel communications plan. Company-wide invites, exciting signage, “room-dressing” and other dynamic exercises help boost attendance and enthusiasm during your event. (Need help? Our creative services team can make your event design and development outstanding.) And don’t forget setting a test run to work out technical details and the meeting’s flow and pacing.
- Consider Your Audience: Most town halls must resonate across departments, locations and business objectives. The town hall should not only be beneficial to all attending, but also engaging and fun.
Prepare presenters to help them communicate a confident, clear message that resonates company-wide. Your meeting content should ideally create a storytelling arc that’s memorable, lasting and consistent with the company mission and values.
Incorporate digital elements to your town hall for off-site employees, too. Tools like Crowd Mics allow live polling, surveys and even remote microphone capabilities, so remote employees feel their direct contribution and purpose in the meeting.
- Equip Company Leaders: Town halls give leaders an opportunity to communicate a powerful corporate message; just as importantly, they give leaders a platform to listen to employees on a personal level.
Include leaders in pre-town hall communications, establishing them as fully-engaged hosts of the meeting. Leadership development, in particular, should be central to your event planning. Leaders need to feel confident answering their team’s questions post-event, so your planning should address this need upfront. Break-out sessions for leaders can equip them to talk through strategy changes authentically, in an unscripted way. By putting a corporate message into their own words and connecting that message to personal stories, leaders can help all employees do the same. Communications tools like videos, FAQs and other materials further equip leaders to answer any questions, particularly tough ones.
Don’t forget to allow time for a leader-led Q&A at the end of the town hall. This gives employees a chance to talk one-on-one with leaders and C-suite executives.
- Conduct the Necessary Follow-Up: Town halls are a great opportunity to gain employee insights, and it’s best to collect feedback as soon as possible after the meeting.
Determine how to best gather feedback from town hall attendees: survey, feedback worksheets, polls, etc. You should also establish a consistent set of metrics for town hall meetings to aid in reporting and benchmark your progress.
The right follow-up plan provides ample opportunity to collect feedback – not only about town hall processes, but also about corporate decisions and communications. This feedback can lend insight to improve business and communications plans that better satisfy each business unit.
When it comes to town halls, a plug-and-play equation simply won’t cut it. Maximize the experience by tailoring your town halls into goals-driven, animated opportunities for corporate connections that mid-level employees and leaders alike look forward to. The results will amaze you.