Event Smarts

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How to Host an Awesome Virtual Town Hall

February 11 2021 / by Karen Mares

Filed under: How to, virtual events

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Your all-company meetings are a great opportunity to synchronize your messaging, build company culture, and generate some enthusiasm for your latest endeavors. If your employees walk away whispering, "this could have been an email," you may want to rethink your strategy. Let's show you how to host a virtual town hall your team will actually want to attend.

First: What's the Point?

Informative and fun all-company meetings can be difficult to accomplish in person, but it's particularly challenging with a remote workforce. Before scheduling, setting an agenda, or starting on event details, take a look at the bigger picture: What is the goal of your all-company meeting? Message alignment? Company culture reinforcement and morale? 

A one-way brain dump of numbers and corporate keywords may lead to a mass outbreak of Could Have Been an Email Syndrome. By starting at the top — what you want to accomplish — you can better set the agenda, tone, and direction for the meeting, making the virtual town hall worth the time for your teams.

Keep 'er Movin'

They say time is money, and if this is your company, don't waste it. Keep a time-sensitive, efficient timeline. Recent research indicates that the typical attention span of an audience is approximately five to seven minutes. To help keep the pace, create a town hall team:

  • Leader — A head honcho to give the State of the Company and answer employee questions.
  • Facilitator — Think of this person as the emcee of your event. 
  • Moderator — A Moderator can help with polls and slides, monitor the chat, and collect questions.
  • Tech Support — Having tech support at the ready can be the difference between event success and failure.

What Do You Want to Talk About?

While there is likely information you already know you will be sharing, consider polling employees in advance to help shape your content. You want to inform, but what do they want to be informed of? Remember: You have around seven minutes before you start to lose your audience. Structure agenda items with that in mind.

Sample Agenda

Welcome: Greeting, cover the agenda, and bring in some general announcements, such as a welcome to new employees, etc. Opening with a poll sets up interactivity right away and sets an amiable tone. This is also a good spot to remind employees to submit Q&A/AMA questions.

Inform: A company leader gives a State of the Company address. Incorporate slides here, but keep them relatively simple. Talk about company wins, not just spreadsheets and numbers. Be human. Consider incorporating a quiz or poll to help keep employees engaged and interested.

Break: Announce a brief intermission. Chances are, this is around the time digital fatigue may set in. Schedule a 5-minute break.

Department Round-Robin: Silos are common issues in companies — your IT department is likely somewhat removed from your sales team; this is especially true with a distributed workforce. By giving each department an opportunity to share what's happening, you help unify and align your people around the bigger company mission and messaging.

AMA: Provide employees opportunities for a Q&A period. Think of it as a discussion, not a lecture. Keep up the energy and your sense of humor. If you don't know the answer, say so, and offer to provide a follow-up once you have researched and can answer the question..

Wrap-up: End on a high note. A swag giveaway to a random employee who asked a question for the AMA is one way to encourage question submission.

Bonus Tips

  • Do a run-through ahead of time to iron out any potential glitches.
  • Make the town hall easy to join. Jumping through hoops to get to the meeting is a turn-off. 
  • Record the meeting for people who couldn't make it, and see to it that the recording is available as soon as possible.
  • Create an FAQ for any unanswered employee questions that time didn't allow.

Company Unity

Cultivating community and trust in an all-remote workforce requires intention. A virtual town hall can promote the well-being of your employees, which translates directly into the well-being of your company. And, as much as a town hall is an opportunity to give information, it's also an opportunity to receive information in the form of feedback — either from lively discussion, active Q&A, and high attendance, or from dead silence and low attendance. Planning, creativity, and a little enthusiasm can help you create an awesome virtual town hall and foster healthy workplace culture.

We Can Help

The team you need to help you pull off virtual town halls (and your other virtual events) without a hitch? You've found them right here. At EventBuilder, we offer virtual event management and technical support for your virtual events, webinars, and on-going programs. Contact us for a consultation today!


Topics: How to, virtual events

Karen Mares

About Karen Mares

Karen is an Event Producer and the Content Creator here at EventBuilder. She's also a wife, mom, singer, and history nerd.

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