A town hall meeting brings together all players in an organization to address critical issues. This particular type of meeting provides the C-suite with a chance to deliver new ideas and for the staff to ‘virtually meet’ their leaders and be heard.
The goal of a town hall meeting is to establish an open platform for employees to participate in the dialogue. Town hall meetings are critical for placing everybody in context and, as a result, creating a feeling of community and goodwill within the organization.
The frequency of town hall meetings can vary depending on the organization – from monthly or weekly to semi-annually or annually.
Let’s break down town hall meeting best practices and some expert tips on how to organize a town hall meeting for work.
What Is the Suggested Town Hall Meeting Structure?
The contemporary monthly town hall meeting structure is evolving rapidly. The days of elaborately planned, yearly presentations with dazzling lighting and scheduled musical interludes are long gone.
Today, town hall meetings are meant to convey information and be an engaging event. Furthermore, town hall meetings are embracing technology designed for virtual and hybrid meetings, enabling instant response and candid feedback.
Key components of a modern town hall meeting structure:
- The meeting’s host gives some introductory comments or makes an effective presentation focused on a topic.
- Other leaders discuss personal initiatives or financial figures. This segment includes future organizational goals, and leaders are free to modify the agenda of the meeting in any manner that fits the situation.
- Staff programs and people are identified and provided the appropriate recognition.
- The floor is now open for questions and answers. (Pro Tip: Prep your organization ahead of time, so they have questions for the CEO and executive team prepared ahead of time.)
Professional Tips for Organizing Town Hall Meetings for Work
A well-conducted town hall meeting may fulfill all of the objectives listed above, but a poorly conducted one might hurt the organizational environment and employee involvement.
To avoid a failed town hall meeting, we’ve laid out a few tips, tricks, and best practices.
Plan Your Meeting Cadence
Creating a recurring meeting cadence guarantees employees access to information within a specific period. Quarterly town hall meetings are considered a best practice.
Should you hold a virtual or hybrid town hall meeting, ensure you set a convenient time cadence for all participants. Nonetheless, it is critical to create a proper balance across the various time zones. This way employees will feel appreciated for their effort and presence.
Keep Reading: 6 must-haves for any virtual event or meeting
Set Focused Objectives
Each organizational town hall meeting ought to have a clear objective. Setting a focused objective in advance helps keep the town hall meeting on track, allowing participants to meet the agenda and presentation requirements.
The focus of town hall meetings typically varies depending on the relevance of issues, the meeting frequency, and the amount of time set aside for the town hall meeting. However, besides explicit objectives, you may also concentrate on compassionate goals such as employee motivation and trust-building.
Select a Town Hall Meeting Moderator
Regardless of how big or small the town hall meeting is, having a reliable event moderator will guarantee the meeting runs smoothly. A competent moderator will enhance or subside the audience engagement, making employees feel part of the meeting.
Keep Reading: What is an event platform and why do you need one?
Share Fresh Material
The last thing town hall participants want to hear is repetitive, old information. However, most meetings give in to this temptation, resulting in boring town hall sessions. It is prudent to remember that everyone’s time is precious. Therefore, consider fresh content that offers value and sustains engagement – rather than sharing stale updates and company information.
It’s also important to share fresh material in a town hall environment that enables managers to gather employees’ first reactions and instant feedback. Receiving quick feedback can be extremely helpful in creating new ideas and identifying emerging issues in real-time.
Conduct a Technical Dry Run
Large organizations conducting virtual town hall meetings need to run a technical dry run before the meeting. Set up the meeting’s live streaming service, tools, and chat service, and carry out an extensive tech check. Verify that the software, connection, and equipment are all operational. You’ll also want to create a backup plan for technological faults to help minimize disturbances.
For these meetings, it’s usually recommended to work with a dedicated A/V and live streaming partner who can set up, manage, and break down the meeting for you.
Assign a Virtual Representative for the Meeting
This tip is especially essential for virtual town hall meetings often embraced by modern organizations. When utilizing technology, hitches are inevitable, and it’s important to address these hitches as quickly as possible. For example, glitching video and inaudible speakers can lead to awkward delays and make it difficult for attendees to follow along and participate.
Consider designating a virtual representative who is physically present at the town hall but is linked to the live streaming network. If there is any live streaming technical issue, the representative can notify the on-site technician, ensuring a hassle-free virtual experience.
Keep in mind, this virtual representative can also be a member of the A/V or live streaming company you partner with – which is considered a best practice. This person will have the technical skill to quickly and accurately address technical and streaming issues.
Enhance Participation Via Questions
Since the primary purpose of town hall meetings is to connect with employees and learn their perspectives, an open Q&A session is considered essential.
In most instances, having one open-ended Q&A session at the end of a town hall meeting is sufficient. However, within certain organizations, you may need to hold several Q&A sessions during one town hall meeting.
This is especially important if you have multiple themes present in the town hall meeting. In this case, consider allowing employees to ask questions before you transition from one topic to the next.
Pro Tip: Another great way to enhance participation is by leveraging polls and surveys. This can also be used to help teams see how fellow coworkers feel about certain changes or topics.
Need help organizing your next town hall meeting?
At ICV Digital Media, we have decades of combined experience helping companies of all shapes and sizes – and from all around the world – pull off successful town hall meetings, and we’d love to help yours, too.
Give us a call or reach out to us online to learn more about our town hall meeting services.