Making your town hall meetings more engaging
Town hall meetings can an opportunity for senior leadership and all employees to connect, collaborate, and share updates. But at their worst, these companywide gatherings can be a “truly terrible” waste of time, where it feels more like a one-sided lecture better served as an email. It’s rare to pull everyone together, either virtually or in-person, so take advantage of this opportunity and make it an event that actively (and positively!) contributes to your company’s culture.
1. Play music
Music is something we all can appreciate, and it has been proven to lighten as well as improve the mood. By playing music at the beginning of the town hall meeting, your employees will come in feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to learn more about the current state of the company. Take it a step further and make it collaborative by giving the song selection responsibility to a different employee each time.
2. Keep sessions smaller
and emphasize the importance of face-to-face communication with leadership. According to the The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the town hall meeting is most effective because it has the ability to capture and hold the attention of the audience. The audience will be even more engaged if the sessions are smaller, so you might want to schedule several different town hall opportunities and invite employees to sign up for a time that works best for their schedule.
3. Incorporate a meal into the meeting
Even if you can’t meet in person, there’s nothing stopping you from holding your town hall at lunchtime and encouraging employees to eat together, apart. That will set a more casual tone, and they might feel more comfortable asking questions over pasta and sandwiches, especially if they see leaders eating with them. If your organization is lucky enough to be able to host a safe gathering, SHRM’s town hall guidelines include tips on serving food safely.
4. Use pictures and videos
To capture the attention of the audience – and keep it, bring on the videos and photography! Visual elements will be more interesting to the audience, and will make your meeting more successful. Consider revamping your entire slideshow template to be more colorful and visual.
5. Present awards at the meeting
Choose different awards for each town hall, and be sure to recognize a diverse range of employees. The prize doesn’t need to be expensive, and instead, it can be something simple, fun, or even goofy. The key is to create excitement around the award program.
6. Make it more interesting by hosting an interview
Ask a member of the communications team to interview a new employee each month. This could be a member of senior management, a new employee, or someone who went above and beyond this month. Make sure the interview is informative and encourage the interviewee’s personality to shine through!
7. Encourage feedback via a follow-up survey
Maybe employees had questions they didn’t have a chance to ask, or maybe they want to share their positive feedback about the new award program that you implemented after reading point 5 in this post. Give everyone an opportunity to provide this feedback by sending a quick follow-up survey to all employees after the town hall meeting.
All of these suggestions can help you avoid a town hall snoozefest, and instead turn the meeting into a springboard for meaningful ideas and actions.