The Ultimate Guide to Holding Better Virtual Town Hall Meetings
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The Ultimate Guide to Holding Better Virtual Town Hall Meetings

As soon as the pandemic broke and businesses shifted online, the biggest concern that the employees had was of staying connected, informed, and aligned with each other. It was then the concept of virtual town hall meetings gained popularity. Townhall meetings are an efficient and engaging way of sharing company updates and maintaining a dialogue between the employees and management. Even if there is a briefing session or celebrating the success of a major project, town hall meetings come in handy. 

What is a town hall meeting?

Technically, the town hall meetings are an in-person concept and have a long and illustrious history. The idea behind organizing town hall meetings is to get people on the same page by sharing information and exchanging dialogues between groups of people that wouldn’t otherwise get a chance of connecting. For example, companies use town hall meetings to share the reports, plan the upcoming month or year, have regular check-ins, share updates and then turn to the employees for their questions. 

Like all other events, virtual town halls have rules, procedures and needs specified preparation. However, with the guidelines and extra tips mentioned below, you can organize your next successful town hall meeting, this time, virtually.

Set a definite objective

The first step you should take to plan a successful town hall meeting is defining the objective of the meeting. Begin with visualizing the takeaways you would want the audience to have by the end of the day. Set the goal of the meeting, if it is to discuss the annual reports of the company or your company is launching a new product. Updating the employees about the company sales figures or discussing the upcoming changes in the company’s strategy could also be the objective of the meeting. Setting the objectives for the meeting will help you with determining the agendas, deciding the speakers, and setting the other proceedings of your town hall meeting right.  

Select a suitable virtual meeting platform

Selecting the appropriate technology and expert virtual event platform becomes extra crucial if you want your next virtual town hall meeting a seamless process. Virtual event solutions with high-quality production value will help you execute all your planning and have an event just as you wanted it to be.

Prepare the Agenda

Sketch the agenda of the meeting while keeping the objective and the attendees in mind. Start with a date and time that would be suitable for all. Next, plan out the itinerary of the meeting while considering who all will speak and the topics that the leadership will discuss during the meeting. Have the managers and team leaders on board while planning the event, as they have a better idea about what the employees have in their minds and what they would want to discuss. 

A well-planned agenda will also ensure the meeting does not lose its objective and stays on track. It also helps people familiarise themselves with the town hall proceedings. On the other hand, the meeting can become chaotic without its presence, and some salient concerns might remain undiscussed. So keep your agenda while preparing for the meeting, and while you’re on it, keep a time track in mind and further allot it based on the number of speakers you have. 

Send out the meeting invites.

Send out the meeting invitation to your employees through calendar invitations or mails and messaging apps. The invitation should contain some basic information such as the agenda of the meeting. It would help the employees know all the meeting details, such as the date, objective, the speakers, team activities. The invite should also mention rules and regulations of the meeting all the employees are adhered to follow.

Mention ground rules like if the employees have to keep their mics on mute, the camera on, starting time, how and when they can put across their questions. To make it easy for the employees to join in, create an internal page answering all the FAQs and link it to the meeting invite. To avoid chaos and impromptu participation, you can ask the employees to send their questions beforehand to include them in the presentation, and speakers answer them during the allotted slot. 

Perform a run-through

To play safe, prepare a script beforehand so that you can organize your messages and ensure everything falls into the decided time slot. Once you finish the script, go for a technical dry-run, and check all the pieces of equipment which you will use on the meeting day. Check the meeting software and other required things before the session starts, along with rehearsing the script a day or two before the meeting.

Keep Secondary Plan Ready

Experts always suggest keeping a backup plan ready to avoid delays and disruption in the meeting. Always remember, mishaps always come unannounced. Even if you feel all your pieces of equipment are working fine, keep a potential secondary plan ready so that you can avoid disturbances and glitches on the meeting day. You can keep extra sets of speakers, mics, and other equipment ready so that you can use them if any glitch occurs. Along with this, make sure you have a fast, durable, and steady internet connection. Choose a virtual event solution with well-built software that will give you an extra layer of security. 

Keep it short and simple.

While considering a virtual event platform, remember that people have shorter attention spans than in-person events; so while looking for a solution, ask about their features that will keep the audience engaged during the proceedings. These tools like Q&A, polling, comments will keep your town hall vibrant, and the audience will feel involved. Along with this, you should also focus on keeping your content short and crisp. Include only the relevant information, and present it in an uncomplicated language, so that everybody present there can easily understand it. To make the session more interesting, you can invite an expert to speak with the participants. Including pictures, quotes, audio and videos are another way to make the meeting more memorable.

Send Summary to the employees.

Always record the meeting. It can serve two purposes; you will have a record of the meeting, and in case someone couldn’t attend it, this will help them go through the discussed subjects. Send out meeting minutes to all the employees, sharing a glimpse of everything discussed. Second, encourage the employees to share their feedback regarding the meeting. You can have a feedback poll to know what the employees feel about the topics and their experience of virtual town hall meetings. In general feedback, you can confirm the employees’ understanding of the topics. You can ask them simple questions, like what they liked about the meeting? Did they have fun? And any suggestions they would want to make? 

Obtain detailed analytics

Now that your virtual town hall meeting is over, it’s time for you to know the success rate of the event. First, survey all the participants, asking open and closed-ended questions. The questions should revolve around the meeting, asking them if they understood the intended objective of the meeting, as well as inviting their feedback suggestions and follow-up questions. By understanding the meeting thoroughly, you can plan up your follow-up meetings. You can also use the statistics of your virtual event platform to know the exact data of audience engagement. Analytics will help you get a deep understanding of the participants’ engagement during the meeting.

Wrapping it up

There is no particular set of rules you should stick by while conducting a virtual town hall. However, it is always beneficial to follow some guidelines to avoid mistakes and have a seamless set of proceedings. It is not a compulsion to host a fixed number of town hall meetings in a year, nor is the time length decided. You can have shorter town halls frequently or have longer ones annually or half-yearly, keeping the communication requirements of your employees in mind. 

Town halls are an excellent way of keeping everyone on board aligned. By organizing frequent town hall meetings and evaluating them, you can carry out the smooth conduct of your company. If you’re going to host your first virtual town hall meeting or you’ve got used to it, it is advisable to refer to some guidelines. The pointers mentioned in the article will help you better organize town halls over time. 

The Ultimate Guide to Holding Better Virtual Town Hall Meetings

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