As working remotely is becoming increasingly common, town hall meetings or all-staff meetings are also increasingly being held online.
Different from a typical meeting at work which usually consists of a fraction of the staff at work, a town hall meeting is oftentimes much bigger in terms of the number of attendees, though this depends on the size of the company.
For big companies like multinational corporations (MNCs), a town hall meeting can easily reach hundreds of attendees.
Capturing the attention of hundreds of people virtually can be challenging. However, it is important, especially for town hall meetings when essential information such as the company's goals, progress, values and major announcements are being conveyed.
So if you're in charge of planning the next virtual town hall meeting, here are 7 tips you can follow for a successful meeting!
#1 Send your invites early!
Many important announcements are made during town hall meetings so it is essential that as many staff as possible attend them.
To make it easier and convenient for all staff, send a calendar invite to everyone early, and we mean at least 1 month in advance! This is to prevent the town hall meeting from clashing with other schedules or meetings. Don't forget to also set reminder notifications and include reminders in company-wide staff emails sent nearer to the date!
Better still, if possible, try to schedule it at a day and time that's easy to remember, like the first Friday of every month/quarter! Once it becomes a routine, attendance rates shouldn't be a problem!
#2 Choose a suitable virtual event platform for your virtual town hall
Of course, you could organise the town hall meeting on the typical video conferencing platforms that we're all familiar with.
But if you want to elevate the experience of your staff and have them engage with the event meaningfully (because town hall meetings are undeniably important), then it would make more sense to organize it differently than you would a typical online meeting.
Including elements of fun and excitement can help make your town hall meeting engaging for your staff. And to do that, a suitable virtual event platform will give you more opportunities to get creative with your programme flow.
EventX is a virtual events platform with plenty of new and innovative features you won't be able to find in your typical video conferencing apps. From its community-building features that include interactive tools like polls, chats and Q&As functions, to a next-generation Virtual Reality (VR) meeting that will revolutionize virtual meetings and allow for "face to face interaction" among the attendees, your staff will definitely be engaged.
#3 Besides the important stuff, ask your staff what they would like in a virtual town hall meeting
Yes, virtual town hall meetings are important because many updates, announcements, goals and achievements will be discussed. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring! Besides, there's always time to slot in a couple of fun activities to captivate the staff's attention.
If you're unsure of what activities to include, why not ask for suggestions? Send out a post-event survey and ask if there was anything else that they would like to have included in the virtual town halls. Better yet, simply ask the staff you run into during your coffee break!
But if you're still looking for ideas, here are some to help you get started:
- A lucky draw, where everyone stands a chance to win an exciting gift (hold the lucky draw till the end if your goal is to retain the attendees for as long as possible)
- Celebrating the birthdays of staff members
- Congratulate achievements and have a staff member or a team present about how they've achieved it over the past quarter, eg. how they managed to secure a world-renowned client, how they've utilized the latest technology in their marketing strategy
- Utilising quizzes or live polls to boost engagement
#4 Come up with an agenda and stick to it
Everyone's busy. So it's best to keep meetings short, but when it's a more important and larger scale meeting like town halls, keeping it short might be challenging.
The next best thing is to have an agenda or programme flow and stick to it. This will allow for all the activities you've planned out to run during a set period of time so that the whole meeting doesn't drag on and on.
Include the agenda in the calendar invite so the staff will know what to expect and can look forward to it. In particular, if there are exciting activities planned, the agenda might just create excitement and buzz, and help with the attendance rate!
#5 Have a rehearsal or dry run before the actual event
Town hall meetings are internal meetings within a company, but an event is still an event and a rehearsal can do wonders to minimize hiccups on the actual event day.
Once you've chosen a virtual event platform and have finalized your agenda and programme flow, it's best to rehearse and get everyone familiarized with the app, especially those involved in organizing, emceeing, speaking at, or running the town hall meeting.
This will allow you to identify possible problems and prevent them from occurring during the actual event. Otherwise, you'll be firefighting instead of running the event and this will likely result in delays and loss of interest among the attendees.
#6 Assign a timekeeper
We've been mentioning a lot about preventing delays and sticking to the programme flow. But how can you do this effectively? By assigning a timekeeper.
You're probably thinking "So all this person does is just time the events?" and you're absolutely right. It might seem like a redundant job scope, but trust us, it can do wonders in making sure every activity starts and ends at the correct time.
Having a specialised timekeeper also lifts the burden off the speakers, emcees, and moderators so they'll be able to do their part without worrying about the time.
#7 Build excitement
We've touched on this a bit in a couple of points above but we cannot stress this enough. Building excitement or reminding your guests about the town hall meeting will definitely help with the attendance rate.
Some of the ways to build excitement as we've discussed above include setting a calendar invite with an appealing agenda and organizing a couple of exciting and unmissable activities like lucky draws.
Another way to build excitement is to generate a countdown and include sneak previews of what they can expect.
Having enthusiastic attendees usually translates into more successful events, so make sure to promote your town hall meeting as attractively as possible and not make it sound like a dreadful event.
EventX is your trusted virtual event platform for your town hall meetings
And now you're all set for the virtual town hall meeting you'll be organizing! If you're still looking for a virtual event platform, EventX has got your back! Experience our platform as an attendee, request a demo or simply contact us for a more customized consultation!
Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Town Hall Meetings
What are the benefits of town hall meetings?
There are many benefits to hosting town hall meetings for your company. In general, these meetings allow the management to share important updates and announcements, ensure all the staff is aligned with the company's goals, and give staff the opportunity to express their opinions.
How often should I host town halls?
This differs from company to company, but hosting a town hall meeting once every quarter is an adequate frequency. The meetings can discuss the wins of the past quarter and the goals for the upcoming quarter. Some companies have a monthly town hall meeting to incorporate the celebration of birthdays as well!
How many speakers should I invite for a town hall meeting?
A couple of speakers would be good, as long as there's enough time left after the meeting agenda and meeting objectives have been met. The speaker line up doesn't have to be guests from outside, but could also be distinguished employees or teams.
Is it suitable to include games in a virtual town hall meeting?
As long as the game(s) do not drag for too long, and logistically the games can be carried out smoothly (it is best to have a rehearsal to minimise any hiccups that may be time-consuming), including games in a virtual town hall meeting is possible. However, if there are more important programmes on the agenda, it is best to do those first before starting the game(s).