Your checklist for organising town hall meetings – part 2

To read part 1 of this article click here.

6.    Consider hiring an interpreter. If you invite, e.g. foreigners as participants of this meeting and they don’t speak the language to be used there, make sure these people will understand everything. Even if it concerns only one person. What should this person do if he or she  doesn’t understand what’s going on on stage? The simultaneous translation via headphones is a good option.

Tips: All the participants need to understand the language spoken during the meeting, both the speakers and the audience. 

7.    Hire a moderator. It’s worth considering choosing a person to be a moderator. This person may be responsible for welcoming the participants, keeping an order and inviting other speakers to the stage. He or she may also inform the participants about the agenda at the beginning of the meeting and other organisational elements. If you plan to have a Q&A session, the moderator may be responsible for running it.

Tips: Look for a person to be a moderator (in-house or hire someone) and discuss all the details.

8.    Prepare microphones for all the speakers and the audience. There‘re different kind of microphones. A traditional one with a cable, without it or the one put over the head. If there’s only one speaker, a problem isn’t big, but if you have a few speakers and want them to use the microphone over their heads, count how many devices you need. It doesn’t look good when one speaker finishes a speech, leaves the stage and then the audience has to wait for another speaker because this person needs to have a microphone switch. The next speaker should be ready before the previous one finishes.

And remember about a few microphones for participants if you plan to give them an opportunity to ask questions. And choose a person or persons to help you look for the employees willing to ask questions to  give them microphones.
Of course, all these ideas are useful if the meeting room is big and some problems with hearing may occur.   

Tips: Organise a proper number of microphones for the speakers and the audience. Consider having the helpers to provide the employees with microphones if they’re willing to ask questions to the speakers.

9.    Consider live streaming. It’s more and more popular that such meetings are streamed to other teams, branches and employees who can’t take part. If you decide to use this option, check if it works before the meeting and inform the speakers about this solution. It’s nice to ask them to say something to this other audience from time to time to show them the speaker is aware of them and remembers about other employees.

At my former company, the CEO used to wave to and greet the other audience at the beginning of the meeting (these were the employees from the customer department who had to stay in front of their computers to be ready to answer our clients’ calls).
If there is a Q&A session plan how to engage the other audience and inform them about such a possibility.

Tips: Check the internet connection for your live streaming and plan ways of a dialogue between the speakers and the other audience.  

10.    Plan on how to distribute materials summing up the meeting. Even if some important messages are repeated a few times during the meeting, for sure you’ll find the employees asking you about these issues after the event. They may forget, want to make sure they remember correctly or not listen. Be prepared to provide them with proper materials with the key messages that the speakers and you would like the employees to remember. You can publish all the presentations on the intranet, prepare a summarizing article or even leaflets if blue-collar workers took part and they don’t have access to online sources. Inform the participants at the beginning of the meeting what kind of materials they’ll get after it. It’s also a good solution for all these employees who were absent.

Tips: Before the meeting, prepare materials with bullet points from the speeches to make sure your employees will remember them.

Good luck with organising big meetings with your employees!


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