Townhall meetings are large-scale employee gatherings held in suitable premises including town halls, conference centres, football stadiums, marquees or hotel ballrooms. They are generally hosted by the leadership team. The format usually comprises three parts, including:
– Message delivery (communicate).
– Question and answer session (clarify).
– Interactive exercises or break-out sessions (resolve).
Townhall meetings can provide further scope for employee networking by incorporating breakfast or lunch beforehand. Employees at remote locations or in different time-zones can connect to town hall meetings via video conference or webcasts. Alternatively, the meetings can be recorded for distribution via the internet/intranet.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Building employees’ understanding of the organisation.
✓ Re-focusing employees’ efforts on key organisational challenges.
✓ Communicating priorities.
✓ Raising leaders’ profiles.
✓ Providing networking opportunities and peer interaction.
✓ Building trust between employees and leaders.
Things to consider:
⇒ Select topics to achieve the right mix of information that serves both the organisation’s and employees’ communication needs.
⇒ Determine agenda, venue, room set-up, transportation needs, etc.
⇒ Develop key messages. Test their relevance and clarity on a sample group of employees.
⇒ Prepare presentation handouts for note-taking, and post-event evaluation forms.
⇒ Keep presentations brief to maintain momentum. Rehearse beforehand and stay ‘on message’ throughout.
⇒ Encourage interactivity. Break-out sessions allow for more engagement, peer-to-peer learning and greater informality.
⇒ Invite questions from the audience during a Q&A session. Provide opportunities to pose questions in advance either by email or on sticky notes that can be attached to a large board near the venue entrance.
⇒ Keep energy levels high by playing lively music.
⇒ Remember to thank employees for their efforts and contribution.
Conduct research before and after town hall meetings to increase their effectiveness. Undertake a quick survey beforehand to determine the issues employees most want to hear about. Seek post-event feedback to ensure town hall meetings continue to provide a return on investment. Many excellent ideas for future events can be generated by asking in a questionnaire:
– What should there be more of?
– What should there be less of?
– What should we stop/start doing?
Category: Face to Face