Overview – Conversation with the chairman
Conversation with the chairman is an interview-style dialogue conducted as part of an employee conference, roadshow or townhall meeting. The value of the chairman as a communication medium is often overlooked. As head of the organisation, their insights, personal style and vision for the organisation can be of great interest to employees.
A professional interviewer, such as a television or radio personality, can be engaged to conduct the conversation. Or consider using an employee who has the charisma, talent and confidence to handle such an occasion with aplomb. An interview-style conversation allows for a structured format with a prior agreement regarding the questions to be asked. As well, it affords a degree of informality to let the personality of the chairman shine through.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Communicating to employees the chairman’s perspectives on the organisation, industry sector and economic climate.
✓ Raising the profile of the chairman (or alternatively, the Board of Directors, or other key individuals such as Government Ministers).
✓ Recording for distribution via webcasting, or posting on the intranet to extend the audience reach.
Things to consider:
⇒ Determine the desired outcome of using the chairman as a communication medium.
⇒ Discuss this outcome with the chairman and get their buy-in.
⇒ Select an appropriate event, such as an employee conference, and confirm suitable dates with the chairman’s office.
⇒ Select the interviewer: either a professional interviewer or a suitably talented employee.
⇒ Develop the list of questions to be posed and send them to the chairman and interviewer to ensure they are fully prepared.
⇒ Arrange for the chairman and interviewer to meet several days beforehand to develop a rapport and run through the questions.
⇒ On the day, provide comfortable seating for the chairman and interviewer on the stage so they are clearly visible.
⇒ If the room is large, use lapel mics so they can be easily heard.
⇒ Introduce the chairman and the interviewer to the audience.
⇒ Provide opportunities for the audience to ask questions at the end of the conversation.