The last two years have been nothing but a roller coaster ride for all of us. When the rest of the world dealt with the uncertainties, the global event industry worked around the clock and found an alternative for physical events in their online counterparts. It was then the world was introduced with the concept of virtual town hall meetings.
Let us get through this blog and understand the concept clearly-
What is a virtual town hall meeting?
One can define virtual town hall meetings as online events hosted at an organization level to keep the employees and stakeholders informed about the significant happenings of the company. Global businesses host virtual town hall meetings to keep all departments synced and aligned with the company goals. Apart from that, these meetings bring everyone together on one platform, right from the CEO to an employee. These meetings give an excellent opportunity for people from departments to connect, which is generally not possible otherwise.
The significant purpose behind hosting a virtual town hall meeting is to keep everyone associated with the organization on the same page. Traditionally, town hall meetings were hosted at a city or community level where the officials would listen to the queries of the commoners and resolve them. Then, the attendees would gather to present their ideas before the authorities, ask them questions, and voice their opinions.
Over the years, organizations across the globe adopted the concept of town hall meetings to-
- Align the employees and stakeholders with the company objectives and goals.
- Keep all the departments connected and encourage interaction between them.
- Increase team bonding and promote a healthy environment at work.
Why should you host a virtual town hall meeting?
Here, we discuss some reasons that make it clear why organizations should regularly host virtual town hall meetings.
Virtual town hall meetings come with convenience
Virtual town hall meetings don’t require a lot of planning. Since the medium of hosting virtual town hall meetings is the internet, they don’t need a lot of brainstorming. If you want to host an engaging online meeting, all you need is an efficient virtual town hall meeting platform, and you are good to go.
Along with it, virtual town hall meetings come with a lot of convenience for the attendees also. Since the current situation doesn’t let you host in-person events in their maximum capacity, choosing the virtual alternative comes to the rescue. You can accommodate all your employees and stakeholders on a single platform. Also, online town halls don’t require your attendees to travel, making it easier to be a part of the meeting.
Virtual town hall meetings are beyond geography
If you work for an MNC with an employee base expanded in various countries, virtual town hall meetings are the best option for you. This format of online events provides an excellent stage for organizations to bring together all the employees on a single stage. With town hall meetings, one doesn’t need to worry about the geographical locations, flight tickets, and accommodation. As long as you have the necessary equipment and a stable internet connection, you can easily participate in your organization’s town hall meeting, irrespective of your geographical topography.
They are interactive
One more reason supporting the fact that companies must host virtual town hall meetings is they are interactive and engaging. The virtual format of regular town halls allows the hosts to incorporate elements like videos, GIFs, animations, and pictures to make the session more exciting. So, you can use these components to make the exchange of information impactful and add value to your employees’ overall experience. Since it becomes quite challenging to deliver the content efficiently during an online event, features like these make the job easier for the organizers.
Virtual Town Hall Meetings promote effective communication
As unrealistic as it may sound, virtual town hall meetings are interactive and allow the attendees to connect. Efficient virtual event platforms come with tools like live polls, audio/video chats, in-event comments, and quizzes. These features serve two purposes; First, they let the virtual audience express themselves during the event, promoting two-way communication. And other, they let the organizers know the event from the participants’ point of view. Contrary to popular belief, virtual town hall meetings let attendees put across their points seamlessly and promote effective communication between the employees, employers, and stakeholders.
Virtual town halls provide real-time analytics
One of the significant advantages of hosting virtual town hall meetings is they allow the organizers to collect in-event data. It is a notable feature provided by some expert virtual town hall meeting platforms that make conducting online events the first preference of businesses worldwide. In addition, the event analytics allow the organizers to take a deep insight into the attendees’ engagement data and assess their strategies carefully.
You can always record the session
Have you ever imagined what your employees would do if they missed out on an in-person meeting? Are you going to repeat everything you presented to the rest of the employees in the discussion? Sounds impractical, right! Well, it won’t be an issue in the case of online events. Not sure, how? Let’s read further.
Another benefit of hosting virtual town hall meetings is they let the organizers record the session. There are various types of virtual town hall meeting softwares that come with the feature of recording the entire session. These recordings can save you in many cases; like if you want to recall that crucial point you discussed at the meeting, the records will come to your rescue. Also, as discussed, if any of your employees couldn’t make it to the event, the recorded clips will save you from discussing the meeting highlights with them.
Here are the steps you need to follow to host a successful virtual town hall meeting
Select a suitable date and time
What’s the first thing you consider while planning an in-person event? The date and time, of course. Virtual events are no different. Start with considering the suitable date and time for the virtual town hall meeting. Here are a few things you should bear in mind to ensure maximum participation by your employees-
- Host the town hall meeting on a weekday. Always remember, your employees have a life beyond the office. Respect it and schedule the town hall on a weekday during office hours.
- If you are hosting the town hall at your organization level and it is an MNC, consider various time zones and plan accordingly. There is no sense in selecting an odd hour where a few employees will find it difficult to join in.
Send out meeting invites
Now that you’ve decided the date and time for the meeting, it’s time for you to let the employees know about the meeting. Send out invites to them a few weeks before the meeting. It will help your overseas employees and stakeholders arrange their schedules according to the date and timing of the virtual town hall.
Also, to make the process easy and less chaotic, experts suggest sending out an event agenda along with the link. Your employees will go through it and make their preparations as per the mentioned rules. Along with this, make sure to invite questions from the attendees in advance. It will help you sort out the repetitive questions and create less confusion during the proceedings.
Host tech dry runs before the meeting day
In comparison to other virtual events, in-house virtual events, especially virtual town hall gatherings, require less preparation and brainstorming. But that doesn’t mean you get careless with the event. As rightly said, performance comes with practice; it is necessary to host a few practice sessions before the D-Day. These dry runs will help you know your errors and resolve them in due time. Not to mention, getting acquainted with the virtual town hall meeting software will help you handle the situation more calmly and save you from embarrassment.
Use audience engagement tools
Let’s bust a myth today; virtual events are as engaging as their in-person counterparts. But, it all depends on the virtual meeting platform you’re choosing. Attending virtual town halls can be a tedious task, and it becomes your responsibility to ensure the attendees are enjoying the meeting. Nobody would want to host a session that nobody enjoys. Of course, being your employees, nobody would say a word. But they won’t enjoy the meeting and be its part just for the sake of it. The audience engagement tools will keep the attendees hooked to the event. Also, promote one-on-one interaction in the meeting. Your employees would want to interact with their co-workers and chit-chat for a while. Don’t let the screens be a barrier between them; use networking tools such as B2B Meeting Schedulers, Networking tools, and audio/video chats as provided by the virtual event platform.
Analyze real-time data and collect post-event feedback
Another notable advantage that virtual town hall meetings provide is they allow the host to analyze the event statistics. Use the feature efficiently and compare your event expectations and the outcome.
Along with it, make sure you roll out the feedback forms as soon as the town hall gets over. Make your job easier by getting your hands on an expert virtual meeting platform. It will automatically send out the forms once you get done with the meeting. Getting the feedback of your stakeholders and employees will help you understand the event from their perspective and overcome shortcomings in further plannings.
Are you planning to incorporate this concept into your organization? Get in touch with Dreamcast now and host the best town hall meetings.