What is a virtual town hall meeting?
A virtual town hall meeting is a great communication tool for your employees. It is an online gathering of an organization’s employees. This leverages connecting with different employees working from any location in the world. Virtual town halls are organized by CEOs or any other senior executives to deliver specific updates and news or to provide a regular forum platform for communication between employees and management.
Why should you host virtual town hall meetings?
1. Making the event easy for meeting planners and attendees
This is unlike an in-person event. The virtual town hall meeting is over the internet. Not all corporate departments have the required expertise in executing online events for their stakeholders and employees.
In this case, they need some event management guidance and direction to plan and execute the virtual town hall meeting. However, with due planning, they can easily execute their online town hall meetings.
The right virtual meeting software/platform will further make their lives easier with all the needed event implementation capabilities.
For attendees, users, attending a virtual town hall meeting is also easy. They do not have to be present at an event venue out of their city. All happens over the internet using a specific tool or platform.
Moreover, employees can join the meeting online from anywhere using any devices they have like, computers, tablets, mobile phones.
Those virtual meetings for employee-management communication needs to be easy registration wise too so that attendees would be able to register for the event and have all the necessary information available with them.
2. The ability to reaching global large audiences in the most scalable way
Online town hall meetings certainly leverage great benefits of reaching your global large audiences over the internet. Many companies have a large and global employee base – employees are placed geographically. And event planners would need to reach out to all of them simultaneously
A good online conferencing platform will assist you in extending your event tech capabilities and executing your virtual meeting like a pro.
Many web conferencing platforms will break when you have more than 500-1000 attendees join the meeting online. Thus it is vitally important that you choose your virtual event software partner wisely, who has experience, expertise and scalability to support your attendee size too.
3. Providing moderated interactive ability
Online town halls provide you with the ability to moderate the entire meeting and other sessions you have.
It’s also easy for the moderator to keep track of their interactivities they need to moderate.
It’s a brilliant idea to decide a moderate in advance and train him on what requires to be done.
E-reception, Q&A, announcements, content winners,polling, screen sharing, etc. should be moderated and made more interesting and interactive for your audience.
4. Offering rich media interaction
When you do a virtual town hall meeting for your employees, you’ve got the best opportunity to use rich media and provide your attendees with high interactions.
Rich media like videos, GIFs, necessary documents, and user generated content in the event news feed will take your event by storm and entice your employees to actively participate.
You should also consider putting up the recorded sessions on the platform you will be using. This way, you can ensure that it is just not a live event but videos on demand are also available. This will also enable you to create an online employee community.
5. Driving online engagement amongst employees
Enhancing online engagement amongst your employees is easy and smart when you do your meetings online.
You have all the options with a virtual event software that lets you do sessions, interactions, contents, polls, Q&A, winner announcements, create a global news feed, allow them to speak and put across their points, etc.
People take more interest and highly participate when they feel engaged.
Virtual meetings are greatly helpful in elivating engagement though there are some myths about virtual events.
6. Feedback collection process made easy
Feedback from your employees is surely required if you want to improve your next meetings. An online meeting solution will also let you collect feedback on your event from your employees.
You can view the feedback and suggestions collected in a proper format.
It is better to take the feedback at the end of the meeting and not after that. Because they will be able to provide you more insights while they are still online with you. Later they tend to forget or miss out on important points.
7. Video helps eliminate barriers and multitasking
Doing your meetings online helps you leverage videos. Live sessions from your CEOs or other executives will keep your audience captivated and focused – and thus help them eliminate any barriers or multitasking.
8. Cost saving
Virtual events, virtual meetings and virtual conferences are far more cost effective than in -person events.
You would not have to pay anything for food, accomodation, travel and venue. All is online.
9. On demand functionality
A good virtual meeting platform/software will allow you to have on demand video functionality. You can record the sessions ahead of time and put them on the platform for your audience to watch.
Event live session videos can be on the platform for later viewing. Anything specific that you want to show to them via videos can also be possible.
10. Access to analytics/data
One of the biggest benefits of virtual town hall meetings is that you can obtain meeting/attendee analytics. There are many good digital meeting platforms/solutions that provide you with full analytics and data to analyze and assess the effectiveness of your meeting.
So that you can make informed decisions for your next virtual meetings.
How to host virtual town hall meetings?
1. Plan and consider time zone
Plan your virtual town hall meeting in advance. Assign responsibility to your teammates. Keep track of the preparation and progress.
It’s also crucial to address time zones of your geographically dispersed employees who need to join the meeting.
Consider finding a good compromise between the different time zones so that they feel that their time is valued.
2. Send invitations and pre-event updates to your virtual employees
Figure out a way how you want to send invitations and pre-event updates to your virtual employees.
It is important to provide them with the initial information regarding the meeting so that they can be prepared.
What would you like to use as a medium to send invitations and updates?
On phone messages
Communication tools (example: Slack, Bitrix if you are using)
3. Provide clear agenda and schedule information
You must provide a crystal clear agenda and schedule information to your employees regarding the virtual town hall meeting.
Any communication gap or information ambiguity will create a lot more confusion for them.
4. Invite questions from them in advance
It is also a good idea that you plan to invite questions from your employees in advance. Pick the best and most important questions and share them with your speakers/presenters.
Ao that the speakers/presenters can get to know about them and prepare themselves for the meeting with information and responses.
5. Choose the right virtual event technology partner
Choosing the right virtual event technology partner is the key to your meeting success.
There are a lot of event tech solution providers. You can avail the information and compare – and eventually decide on the suitable partner for your town hall meetings.
A good virtual event tech partner provides you with all the necessary functionalities and features with the platform along with amazing customer support.
Hence choose your event tech partner wisely, who has experience, expertise and enthusiasm to help you achieve your desired success.
6. Test your event technology
One you have everything set, make sure that you test your event tech/software and its various functionalities.
Involve your IT department personnels to run a test for the platform and spot any problems or find out any potential difficulties.
So that you can get them sorted in advance and ensure that everything goes smoothly – without any challenge.
7. Acknowledge your audience presence
People feel good and more important when they are acknowledged.
You need to acknowledge your audience presence and time. Let them know that you value their time and appreciate them for joining.
This will boost their confidence and trigger them to engage more during the meeting.
8. Use Live Q&A
You can not keep Live Q&A out of the game.
This is the best way to have the questions of your employees answered. They can wave their hands and speakers can give them mic to speak – this will be an extraordinary feeling for them.
However, it is up to you, meeting planners what kinds of questions you want to take.
Thus moderating questions is vitally important so that you can cover crucial questions and save time for other activities too.
9. Enhance engagement and networking activities
Let’s get it clear that meeting engagement starts before the actual meeting takes place. Those engagement activities are known as pre-event engagement.
Split your meeting in 3 phases:
- Before the meeting
- During the meeting
- After the meeting
Run contests, polls, competition, and user generated content activities to level up your meeting engagement.
They would also want to meet their colleagues or HR persons one-on-one. Hence 1-1 meeting arrangements online will be a brilliant way to elevate networking.
Break out sessions/group sessions can really ignite the spark into them to share their views and thoughts.
10. Create a good environment for them to participate in
Not everyone will be willing to open up and participate. Some of them would be shy and timid – will not speak anything or much. And they will refrain from engaging too.
In this situation, you need to create a cosy and good environment for your employees. They should not feel pressured, but free to respond and engage.
Some welcoming and casual talks at the beginning of the meeting could really help. Assure them that the meeting is for them to exchange their thoughts and views.
11. Align your meeting topics and presentation
When addressing your audience through a live event (meeting), you will need to align your meeting topics and presentations to a live video format.
Thus the event planner, you need to ensure that town hall presenters consider these.
- Practice the presentations beforehand
- Keep the slides short, simple and on point
- Be visible to audience members
- Have someone help you during the presentation if required
12. Analyze stats and measure success
You will get the required stats and analytics from the virtual event platform you’re going to use.
Analyze the stats and improvement areas. Compare the data vs your expected outcomes. And measure the meeting success.
Doing proper analysis will put you in a good position to identify the areas of improvement and work on them to make your next town hall meeting better.
13. Take feedback from your virtual audience
Take feedback from your employees and presenters about the meeting.
What they liked and what didn’t. Understand how to make your meetings more engaging and flawless next time.
Get their insights on what kind of changes they would like to see next time.
And let them know that you listen and will implement their feedback.
Who can host virtual town hall meetings?
The digital era of information, hosting a virtual town hall meeting is really invaluable. If you have your team colleagues operating from anywhere other than the office and would like to make it an engaging meeting, that group of people should consider hosting town halls.
– Any group of people:
– Geographically dispersed employee base organizations or groups.
– Organizations with international offices.
– Employees working from home (especially in the current pandemic situation, COVID-10)
– Small companies, big companies and corporates who want to foster digital meetings and engagement.
Choosing the right virtual meeting software
You can get all the information regarding any virtual meeting software. Nothing is hidden in this internet era.
You are just one click away from getting the information and start comparing the solutions.
Consider these to land the right virtual meeting software:
– Expertise and experience in the domain
– Technological capabilities
– Engagement and networking functionalities
– Speaker sessions and video capability
– Great customer support
– Customer base (they served)
– Unique solutions
– Easy and sustainable use of the platform
Are you ready to wow your employees in virtual meetings?