10 Tips for Running an Effective Town Hall Meeting
The town hall meeting is a popular internal communications venue, helping companies connect with employees and share important information in a collaborative, transparent way. Running a town hall can be challenging, especially for large global organizations. Following are ten tips to help ensure that your next town hall runs smoothly and makes an impact.
- Be prepared. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of a pre-meeting rehearsal with the key participants. Discuss effective responses to anticipated questions. Get comfortable with the technology that will be used.
- Appoint a moderator. A moderator should keep the agenda moving and ensure that the speakers don’t overstep their allotted time.
- Ask employees to submit questions before the town hall meeting. These questions shouldn’t replace live Q&A during the town hall, but will provide insight into what’s on their minds and also seed questions for the event.
- Include everybody. Your town hall should include all employees, wherever they’re located. Ensure that your technology enables remote workers to participate easily.
- Use multimedia.Make your content more engaging and interactive. Incorporate live polling. Present questions for employees on screen. Integrate video snippets into the presentations.
- Allow as many people’s voices to be heard as possible. Don’t let a few employees, or a vocal minority, dominate. Topics that impact a small number of employees or require further discussion are better taken offline.
- Permit anonymous questions. Some employees aren’t comfortable standing up in front of a crowd or may want to ask a question of a sensitive nature without being identified.
- Conduct a post-town hall survey. The responses will tell you what worked well, help gauge the impact of your communications, and provide information for improving future town hall meetings.
- Loopback. Inform employees when ideas from the meeting are implemented. It’s important for them to know they’re being heard and management is responding.
- Remember that you’re putting on an “all-hands.” A town hall isn’t only a forum for you to present information. It’s meant to inspire a two-way dialogue. Done well, the town hall is an effective way to help employees feel connected to the company’s mission and valued as contributors to its success.