One of the best ways to engage your employees and quickly share important information is to set up a town hall event. This is even more important now with employees working from home. This type of meeting is meant to not only provide people with news they need to know, but also encourage the audience to share feedback or even their own ideas. And in order to reach your intended audience no matter where they are, town hall events are often digital these days. In the past this would mean inviting a small audience to watch in-person, and then relying on video to broadcast the event to everyone else. If you’re thinking about scheduling a live town hall event, take a look at these tips on how to prepare so you have the best chance of success.
1. Identify the Objectives of Your Town Hall Event
First, think about the main point of the event. After all, some experts say not having a clearly defined objective is among the most common town hall mistakes. So, are you announcing an important piece of news, such as a new product or a company merger? Or are you going over the most recent financial report? Once you establish the main purpose of the event, you can determine if this is going to be a one-time event or a regularly scheduled session.
For instance, if you’re going over the quarterly financial report, you’ll likely schedule town hall meetings every three months. If your point is to introduce some new tactics you’ve learned about, you might want a monthly town hall meeting to go over each one in-depth. On the other hand, if you have some important news to share, you’ll only need to schedule a one-time town hall event. Once you have the purpose and meeting frequency in mind, you can start to create content for the session.
2. Know How Best to Engage Your Audience
As you begin to develop the content and flow, keep in mind that what differentiates a town hall event from other meetings is the push for engagement and collaboration. The point is not to talk at your audience for hours. It’s to disseminate information at the start, and then find out what your audience thinks about it.
This can be through simply saving plenty of time for a question and answer session at the end. However, this isn’t the most engaging tactic. So instead, try to engage throughout the event so you keep the attention of your audience members. This might mean dividing your content into a few parts and leaving time for questions after every part is finished. Or it could mean giving polls, surveys, or quizzes throughout the session, as more interaction leads to more engagement.
Having a slideshow, videos, and images to share can also boost engagement among audience members. Just be sure to keep the video under two minutes for best engagement, and if you have a slideshow, don’t cram too much information on each slide. And whichever methods you choose, make sure your entire audience—both in-person and digital—can take part.
3. Promote the Event To Ensure Everyone Knows About It
Now that you know what you’ll talk about at the town hall event, it’s time to make sure your target audience knows when to arrive or tune in digitally. Your invitation to the event should include the date and time, the physical or digital location, and some information about who will be speaking. Consider including links that might provide more details about the speakers or the issue that will be discussed.
Then start sending your invitation via several channels, depending on who is invited. If it’s just employees, promote the town hall event via email and any internal messaging systems you use for work. You can also hand out physical invitations in the office and post the information on bulletin boards.
If you’re opening the event to the public, you can promote it on your social media pages, as well as through email and online newsletters. Regardless, promote your event early and often, meaning you start sending the invitations weeks or even months ahead of time and keep it up until the day of the event.
4. Make Sure Your Network Can Handle Streaming Video
If your town hall will feature video, you want to ensure everyone who is planning on watching it can get the same smooth experience as they would in person. So make sure you’re able to deliver seamless video, especially if you’re streaming it to the office so hundreds or thousands of employees can watch at once.
To do this, you might need to use a professional tool, like Hive’s Enterprise Video Distribution feature. It allows every viewer to get high-quality video without affecting the network. Plus, when you rely on this tool, you can troubleshoot in advance with Silent Testing to ensure your video is working before the event even begins. This way, you can discover and fix any issues so you’re prepared on the day of the event, giving you some peace of mind.
5. Follow Up on Your Event
Once the event is over, it’s time to extend your reach to even more people. You can do this by sending a recording of the event to everyone on your email contact list. This should include people who already saw it, as well as those who couldn’t make it. After all, those who participated in the town hall event might want the video on hand so they can reference a certain part or share it with others. And of course, those who couldn’t attend may want a chance to watch at their leisure.
In addition to a recording of the event, you can send written content about it, such as a blog post summarizing what was discussed. You’ll also want to send a summary of the Q & A session so you can get answers to a wider audience after the event. If you displayed a slideshow or video during the session, you should send it to your email contact list, as well. Consider also compiling all of this content on your website, and then request an email address to view it so you can generate leads long after the event is over.
6. Use Analytics to Determine Town Hall Event Success
Another task to take on after the session is over is analyzing the success of your town hall event. Knowing what worked well—and what needs work—will help you improve so your next event is even better. This step requires you to take a close look at certain metrics that tell you what you need to know about the event and any videos associated with it.
Fortunately, you have access to tools that make this easy. For example, Hive Insights 2.0 can quickly and easily analyze your videos to tell you how well-received they were, using event metrics like:
- Network impact
- Streaming performance
- Quality of video experience
- Viewing time
- Viewer participation
This tool can also provide you with ranking lists with viewers and locations by quality of experience, size, and more, as well as text and map-based filtering. Hive Insights 2.0 will also give you network visualizations that illustrate the impact your streaming video has on your network, which is necessary if you plan to stream the town hall event to your various offices.
Of course, you should also analyze the entire event, not just the video. As The Marketing Scope’s Best Practice Guide: Town Hall Events suggests, you should take note of how many attendees asked questions, took any surveys or quizzes you gave, stayed for the entire meeting, or seemed to be bored and not as engaged as you’d hoped. This will let you know that you need to work on boosting engagement even more for the next event. Make sure to follow your video adoption and quality over time to make sure that your employees’ video experience is constantly improving
To sum up, a successful town hall event requires you to complete these steps during the planning stages. You can use this checklist to make sure you’re not forgetting any details as you plan your next town hall event:
- Identify the goal of the town hall meeting
- Develop content and engagement tactics
- Promote the event early and often
- Test how your network does with streaming video
- Send follow-up content—such as a recording and blog posts—to interested parties
- Examine important metrics to analyze the success of the town hall event