A company town hall is a big event. Whether it’s for a team of 50 or 50,000, a well-run town hall could boost productivity, engage employees, and craft organisational culture.
In preparation for your next town hall meeting, here’s a useful checklist to guide you along the basics of the set up, including information that you need to know and convey to your attendees and vendors.
Choose meeting format
- Confirm the number of people attending
- Decide if the town hall will be physical, remote, or mixed
- Decide if the town hall will be recorded
Before you decide on anything, lock down the details of your town hall meeting, specifically your audience. Knowing who you’re reaching out to will help you better target.
- Decide the purpose of the event
- Decide the expected outcome of the event
- Decide on the message(s) that would best achieve this
- Decide on the speakers and moderators that would be most appropriate for these messages
Locking down a concept for the town hall could help guide all your next steps, such as the sessions and activities to include, the CEO’s speech, and the poll and survey questions to ask.
To help choose the topics to cover, try doing a poll before the event to get employees to vote on what concerns they want addressed.
- What security measures keep the town hall meetings employee-only?
- What security measures keep classified information from being shared?
- What are your company’s security requirements? Do your vendors meet those requirements?
Security is especially if you're sharing sensitive information during the town hall. Providing a safe space for everyone will help encourage more employees to speak up and enable effective conversations.
Conveying these security requirements will also help you decide on which tech vendor to work with, especially if they'll be holding onto sensitive data about your company.
- Choose polls, surveys, and other engagement activities
- Write out event agenda
- Decide on media and supporting tech
- Does your agenda support the message you wish to convey?
Based on the message you want to convey, choose the activities and sessions carefully. This includes the people who will be speaking, the methods of engagement, and how the sessions will be arranged in the agenda.
All these sessions should also take into account whether the town hall will have a tech element. If remote teams will be watching, the sessions need to fit a livestream format and Q&A, polls, and surveys need to be accessible to online audiences.
- What device restrictions are you working with?
- What are your security requirements?
- What data do you need to collect?
- What kind of tech support do you need?
- Choose livestream technology, audience engagement tools, polling tools that suit your needs
Take stock of your requirements and budget before seeking out technology partners. Having this information, and all the information about your activities and sessions beforehand will help you make informed decisions about what tools or partners will best suit your needs.
- What information do employees need to know first? (time, venue, links, agenda)
- Send out invite with agenda, with standard town hall rules
- Any printouts or digital decks to be sent out beforehand?
- Any polls that need to be filled out beforehand?
- Will Q&As be opened early to crowd-source questions?
When you notify employees of the upcoming town hall meeting, ensure that important information is being conveyed. If there is a part of the town hall that requires their active participant, notify them of the agenda, audience participation tools that is being used, or decks that will be referenced.
- Have you tested out every party’s role? (tech partners, moderators, emcees, presenters)
- Are all the images and text clear when projected or streamed?
- Are all the interactive elements working?
- Are organisers and moderators comfortable with the technology?
- Are your tech partners’ tech requirements being met? (i.e. wifi strength, devices, mics)
- Are transitions from session to session smooth and quick?
- Do you have a back-up plan in case wifi fails?
If you’re holding a large-scale town hall meeting, it’s important to make sure that the event runs smoothly. Holding a full-scale test run can help highlight any potential problems. This is especially important if you have tech partners working with you on this event, because it will give you time to troubleshoot with them.
To help ensure the organisers are comfortable and ready for their town hall, Pigeonhole Live has Test Mode, which can be turned on anytime before your first session goes live. Test Mode allows you to test your set-up before the event, post test data via the Audience Web App, check out the display on the Projector Panel, and practise using the Moderator and Admin Panels to manage responses.
When Test Mode is turned off, all test data will be removed.
You can learn more about using Test Mode for technical runs here.
Pigeonhole also offers a test mode checklist that you can find here.
- Does the content address employees key concerns?
- Is the content concise, time-sensitive, and relatable?
- Is the content delivery clear and understandable to employees?
- Does the content convey the intended message to employees?
- Is the speaker conveying the messages suitable and appropriate?
For the corporate town hall content to be able to engage employees, it needs to appeal to them while being deliberate. Since the town hall takes place during work hours, its content needs to be of the same value to them as the work that could have been done during that time. Which means more needs to be conveyed as quickly as possible while being clear and understandable.
To help check all these, test a sample of the content with a few independent groups of people. They will be able to provide you insights that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
- What would make the town hall a success?
- How is this metric being measured?
- How do you ensure a high rate of data collection for success metrics?
Each company may measure the success of a town hall differently. It may be by attendance, the number of questions asked, or even a post-event survey. No matter what method you choose to gauge your town hall’s success by, be sure to plan for it before the event.