How do you make a town hall meeting engaging?

We are hosting a town hall in a couple of weeks and was wondering if anyone had tips and tricks to make it engaging? I often see employees eye glaze over when they see multiple chart or constantly hear the phrase “return on investment.” What is some advice/articles I can share with C suite executives so employees are engaged, ask questions, and people leave the meeting with the feeling that they learned something

Hey @Kimiko_Guillermo

Great question, thanks for posting.

We definitely have been challenged by the town hall gathering as we grow. With people on four different continents and timezones spanning the world, finding ways to keep it engaging and for everyone is challenging.

We continue to experiment with different approaches. Our head of Customer Success recently tried something that really worked for me and a number of others. Instead of presenting charts of data speaking to how much our customers love us, he broke it into a mini quiz.

Throughout the presentation he would do a poll on Slack on something about our customer experience. Each time he would give us 15 seconds to vote and then share back the result and talk a bit about the ‘why’ behind the number or fact. I still remember some of the customer metrics from that meeting because it was engaging, it was relevant and it was fun.

Curious to hear what other People Geeks have tried…

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Hi @Kimiko_Guillermo -

This is such a challenge and I am definitely guilty of having my eyes glaze over or continuing to do work on my laptop during a company meeting!

I’d say one thing to do, if you haven’t already, is make sure to understand what you want for people to get out of the meeting. Why is it important/what value is it? Then it’s helpful to make it clear throughout the company why you are prioritizing spending this time together. You may even want to set some norms like - please keep your laptops/phones down.

Then, to @DebMavric’s point, it’s good to think of ways you can get people to interact. Can you do a poll? Tell a story about a customer, an employee, a team, or something that happened within the business? Answer questions (either live or have them submitted before the meeting)? Can you change it up by delivering your content in smaller segments?

I thought this article had some good pointers on how to help with the structure and to set it up in a way to invite people to feel engaged.

To keep this simple, I’d make two suggestions:

  1. Interaction - nobody wants to be talked at for an indefinite period. Get people doing things and ideally feeding back their responses. Unless there is interaction, you might as well have sent them a written document

  2. Bite-sized chunks - eyes will glaze over after 10 minutes, unless the speaker is TED class. Think about how you can break up and chunks of ‘download’ with a break or exercise - even if it is just getting people to move around the room

:slight_smile:

Two key points:

  1. Spend some time with the executive(s) if possible to get them comfortable to tell a meta-story (the ‘why’) and then micro-stories (the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ - a live demonstration of how things can go well or not!). Here is a simple resource: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ouw4ovk090evar1/Powered_by_Storytelling.online.pdf?dl=0

  2. Fun online platforms: My top 3 are:

https://www.mentimeter.com/ (small fee, a bit more business-like)

https://kahoot.com/ (free and fun - I’ve had 200 people in a room standing up working in pairs having a great time while learning).

Good luck!

Phil

Lots of good advice here: