The Ultimate Guide for Putting on Better Townhalls

July 3, 2014 Brian Beattie

At Volaris we strongly encourage townhalls - they are a great way to keep everyone at the company informed on recent successes and aware of future endeavors. To ensure that your corporate townhalls are as effective as possible, follow our “Ultimate Guide for Putting on Better Townhalls”:

1. The 40/60 rule

A townhall should consist of 40 % presentation content and 60% interactive content. Keeping your audience involved and engaged will make your townhall more beneficial for everyone, and many of the following tips include ways to maintain this ratio.

2. Start with a question

Starting off with a question is a great way to create an interactive mindset with your audience. Choose a question without an obvious answer to really get your audience thinking, and be patient waiting for responses. Also, using questions and polls throughout your townhall is a great way to encourage more interactive content.

3. Set up an employee focus group

The focus group is responsible for research, content or interactive events. The group can focus on townhalls – do people feel comfortable asking questions? What are topics are people are most interested in? How much value do employees get out of townhalls? Or they can choose to focus on a special topic instead.

4. Invite employees to answer questions

The host can ask a question and call on an employee to answer. Calling on specific individuals gives contributors a chance to share their knowledge and experience, while also promoting an interactive environment.

5. Use social technology

If you have enterprise social channels, use them for questions before, during and after to get employees involved. With some tools, you can choose a hashtag (#companytownhall) to help track responses. If you are using a live video conferencing software, have someone monitor the chat window, and encourage others to comment as the townhall progresses.

6. Build continuity into your townhalls

Assign tasks to small groups to be reported back at the next townhall, or launch a contest which includes short videos, department promos, and process improvements. Remember to follow up on these at the next townhall.

7. Simplify the content

Pick one or two themes per townhall. Don’t overwhelm your audience by trying to move quickly through too much information. Focus on a few functions and follow a theme; picking one stat or one event and breaking it down is a good place to start. Also remember to include more visuals and less text to help keep your audience engaged.

8. Tell stories

Let your audience hear stories about the themes you are discussing. Real examples promote active thought and highlight the importance of the topic for the company.

9. Make it more than just a townhall

Extend the time limit and include breakout sessions. Work on company-wide initiatives or include some friendly gaming elements. If you award points or surprise gifts for participation you may have more people interested next time.

10. Stop thinking of it as a presentation

Instead, think of your townhall as an event, a conversation, a talent show, a discussion and a brain storming session. Changing this mindset will make the townhall more interactive and produce better results.

Your Turn

What do you think about the 40/60 ratio? Does your company focus on making townhalls interactive? Do you find them more beneficial? Let us know in the comments below, and like and share with us on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. 


About the Author

Brian Beattie

Brian Beattie is the Chief Financial Officer at Volaris Group. Besides overseeing the financial health of the company, he works closely with Volaris’ legal and M&A team on all new acquisitions. Brian is an expert on every stage of the M&A process – from sending out the non-disclosure agreement to executing the sales purchase agreement.

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