How to Run More Engaging Town Hall Meetings

March 10, 2023/10 mins min read
all-hands meeting

Running effective town hall meetings is an important part of engaging with employees and keeping them informed of important changes in the workplace. Town hall meetings can be an effective way to discuss new policies, announce changes, and keep everyone on the same page. But how can you make your next meeting engaging and interesting rather than a snooze fest?

Many of us have been there, stuck in boring town hall meetings counting down the minutes on the clock. Here are some tips on how to run more engaging, productive, and stimulating town halls for everyone involved.

What is a town hall meeting?

A company town hall meeting provides employees with updates on the company's operations, strategies, and performance, during which time they can ask questions and provide feedback to management.

The goal is to promote transparency and open communication between leadership and employees. These meetings typically provide an opportunity for employees to hear directly from the CEO or other senior executives, ask questions about the company's direction or performance, and share their own ideas or concerns.

Why are they important?

Town halls are important for a number of reasons:

Promoting transparency: Town hall meetings provide an opportunity for employees to hear directly from leadership about the company's operations, strategies, and performance, which can help to promote transparency and build trust.

Fostering communication: By allowing employees to ask questions and provide feedback to management, town hall meetings can help to foster open communication and dialogue between the company's leadership and its staff.

Increasing employee engagement: They help to increase employee engagement by giving employees a sense of ownership and involvement in the company's direction and performance.

Enhancing alignment: By sharing updates on the company's goals and strategies, they can help to ensure that all employees are aligned and working towards the same objectives.

Improving retention: By providing opportunities for employees to ask questions and provide feedback, town hall meetings can help to create a sense of community and belonging, which can in turn improve employee retention.

How to improve your town halls

1. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Before you begin planning a town hall meeting, it’s important to set clear goals and expectations. Ask yourself what you want the meeting to accomplish. 

  • What do you want to achieve from the meeting? 
  • What information do you want to share? 
  • What feedback do you need? 

Once you’ve run through these questions you may realize that there isn’t much to discuss this time around. Clear goals and expectations will help to create a concrete plan you can use to run an efficient and effective meeting.

2. Encourage Participation

Inviting employees to participate in the meeting will help keep everyone engaged. Ask for feedback and encourage questions. Feedback is a key feature of these meetings and encouraging everyone to take part of feel like they can have a say will help boost engagement levels. 

Polls or surveys will give you a better sense of what your employees think about certain topics. This will give you a better understanding of employee attitudes and provide them with a way to actively participate in the discussion.

3. Prepare an Agenda

Creating an agenda for the meeting is essential for keeping things organized and on track. Include the main topics as well as how much time should be devoted to each one. Then be sure to send this in advance so everyone can be fully prepared. 

Stick to the agenda as much as possible during the meeting to ensure you cover everything you set out to. We also recommend allotting time for questions and comments. This will help highlight to everyone that it is an open forum for discussion and to have their questions ready to go when the time comes. 

4. Use Visual Aids

Having visuals is a great way to keep employees engaged during a town hall meeting. Visuals can help bring complex topics to life and provide a more engaging way to convey information. 

Slides, videos, and photos are all great options to keep your employees interested and focused so be sure to add in a few to keep things stimulating. Charts and graphs are another great way of using visuals to display key information without the need for text-heavy slides. 

5. Use an Icebreaker

An icebreaker is a great way to get the meeting started on the right foot and create an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone involved. The great benefit of icebreakers is that they can be tailored to fit your agenda and meeting. 

If you really want to encourage creative thinking, for example, there are plenty of icebreakers you can choose from. The same goes if you really want to underline the importance of dialogue. You could use an icebreaker that asks everyone to chat with the person beside them about some topic. 

Meeting Warm-Up

Meeting Warm-Up

6. Have a Facilitator

If you want to keep the discussion on track and ensure that you are running an engaging meeting, then hand the reigns over to a facilitator. The facilitator should be knowledgeable about the topics being discussed and can lead the meeting in a productive way.

They will be on hand to encourage participation and guide the conversation in a positive direction. They should also be able to address any disputes that arise and keep the discussion focused on the main topics. Likewise, they may be able to moderate Q&As, keep time, and keep things pertinent. 

7. Follow Up

Following up after the meeting is just as important as the meeting itself. Send out a summary of the discussion points and any important action points. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any tasks are completed in a timely manner.

Why not send a feedback survey to get a better understanding of how the meeting went? Ask employees for their thoughts on the meeting, any suggestions for improvement, and any other feedback they may have. 

A final word on Town Halls

Always be transparent and authentic. 

Your employees will know, pretty quickly, if they’re not receiving honest and authentic information. 

Don't shy away from addressing difficult issues as these will undoubtedly be the things on everyone’s minds. Avoid using scripted answers or responses, as they can come across as insincere.

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