Engaging town hall meetings allow team members to collaborate and gather constructive criticism from management. This takes work quality to the next level.
The only problem is, most town halls are tedious, and participants shut off mentally halfway through the meeting.
Fortunately, this guide walks you through an eight-step process to running engaging town hall meetings.
Town halls, also known as all-hands meetings, are monthly meetings where all team members gather to discuss how the company is doing. You and your team talk about topics like client needs, product development, and customer service. You could also welcome new employees and make announcements.
The best part about town hall meetings is that it's an open floor, so anyone can ask questions. This form of discussion encourages self-analysis, allowing for better decision-making.
87 percent of employees feel there's not enough transparency in the workplace. This is harmful since they won't understand the ultimate company goal their work is contributing to, lowering whose morale.
But when you hold all staff meetings, you cover company visions and future plans, so everyone understands what they're working towards.
Many businesses hold town hall meetings once a month because this frequency allows your entire team to catch up but doesn't interfere with daily business processes.
However, each industry is different, so it's essential to experiment and find what works for you. Consider these factors when deciding how often you should run town hall meetings:
Speed of growth
Time of year
The larger your company, the more critical town halls are because knowledge has to travel through several departments and individuals. So you want to conduct staff meetings regularly.
However, meetings with hundreds of individuals can get expensive because…. You'll have to find a frequency that balances collaboration and the high costs of town halls.
This is where team meeting agendas help. By implementing actionable meeting agendas, you minimize meeting time and record all decisions and talking points.
Another factor to consider is how fast your company is growing.
Frequent meetings will work best if you're an ambitious startup that’s scaling rapidly. It gives you an understanding of the latest industry trends so you can maintain fast growth.
During slow months, town hall meetings aren't that vital. This is because there's not much to update your team about, and frequent town halls will lead to pointless discussion.
However, you'll want to schedule weekly meetings if you're in a part of the year where business is thriving because team members can notify each other on topics like updating the customer persona and tweaking sales copy.
Now that we know how often to use town hall meetings, let's look at its benefits.
Here are some pros to implementing town halls into your team processes:
It breaks work silos
It improves team productivity
It lets you adapt to industry trends quicker
As your team grows, so does the number of individual departments. If these departments aren't communicating, silos start to form.
Work silos are when parts of your business work separately, and research shows this costs 20 hours per month or six workweeks per year of wasted time.
But as you promote collaboration with town hall meetings, teams can use data and knowledge from other departments to improve.
If someone found a solution to a business problem, they can share it with the rest of the team via monthly meetings. So when other members are stuck, all they have to do is consult their meeting minutes and find solutions.
Surveys show loneliness can decrease productivity by 21 percent.
So if employees can meet with each other over a video call, they feel part of a team that's building something important, which reduces loneliness and optimizes productivity.
Fast-moving industries like SaaS and e-commerce require you to distribute information across your team quickly.
Any delays increases response time to market trends, leaving revenue on the table.
But by meeting up with teammates weekly or monthly, you communicate across departments and give each other the data needed to capitalize on trends.
Now let's look at how to run a town hall meeting in 8 steps.
Here's how to run an efficient all-hands meeting:
Plan your meeting beforehand
Create an all-staff meeting agenda
Prepare your meeting content
Send invitations to participants
Encourage questions in advance
Perform a test run
Create an engaging meeting experience
Forward a meeting summary to all invitees
Town halls can easily take up hours of precious time because there are many participants and topics to discuss. So, to avoid irrelevant conversation, plan your meeting.
Here are some things to consider:
Type of technology
Number of invitees
Time zones of different participants
The most crucial factor is the type of meeting software since it should host your entire team without issues while offering features that streamline meeting processes.
Opt for tools like Airgram because the free agenda template keeps your meetings on track. It'll even transcribe video calls in eight languages, so you won't have to take meeting minutes.
Also, write down the number of people joining and where they're situated globally. This allows you to conduct meetings at reasonable times, and participants won't have to wake up at two in the morning.
Next, jot down meeting information like:
Topics of discussion
Questions to ask your staff
This way, you can set meeting objectives and identify when conversations are going off-topic.
If you're looking to create an agenda, feel free to download our town hall meeting template, so all you have to do is type in the necessary information, and forward it to your team for focused meetings.
After you've created a plan, prepare content and topics you'd like to address. But remember to always keep your content short and to the point since it prevents dull meetings.
Also, use a lot of videos, audio, graphs, and images because studies show visual meetings are 43 percent more persuasive than those that only use text.
Once you've structured everything, forward invites to participants. A simple email works well, but messaging apps like Microsoft Teams are also handy. It connects to the calendar, ensuring team members don't forget about your town hall.
In this message, attach information like:
Frequently asked questions
This allows employees to prepare for the town hall because they know what to expect.
Instead of just sending a meeting structure and plan to participants, prompt them to ask questions before the meeting starts.
This gives you a few days to gather a list of questions and prepare detailed answers.
Test runs might not be necessary if you're managing a small team. But if you’ve invited over 10 members, you'll want to perform a technical dry run. Hence, you’ll have peace of mind knowing everything is working.
Test your meeting software, messaging interface, and event tools to find any sticking points.
The most crucial step is ensuring your team members have an engaging meeting experience because most town halls are tedious. This results in decreased work quality and performance as employees shut off mentally during meetings.
To keep participants' attention, only discuss relevant topics and ask for feedback about specific issues. This makes invitees feel heard and increases the level of engagement.
Like how marketing copy grabs readers' attention, your meeting icebreaker should also hook employees. You could start by wishing members a happy birthday or telling a joke. This interrupts the traditional flow of conferences and gets them into meeting mode.
After the town hall meeting, forward your minutes to all members and encourage them to do the same since everyone can learn from each other and spot discussion topics they’ve missed.
With Airgram, feel free to extract important meeting clips and create a highlights video. This is a meeting summary your entire team can access whenever they need to refresh their memory.
Running town hall meetings allows you and your team to optimize collaboration and productivity while adapting to market trends quicker.
So if you're looking to introduce town hall meetings into your business, consider the eight-step process listed above. It ensures your team conferences are on point and that members receive maximum value.
Tobi is a writer and communications consultant with five years of experience in creating content for corporate and non-profit organizations. She enjoys writing on best practices for business processes, technology, ESG, and climate change.