5 COMMON MISTAKES
Town halls have become even more important over the past year or so while so many employees have been working remotely, and attendance at many companies has been up. They can be an important tool for communicating the culture and keeping employees in the loop on leadership’s vision and how their individual roles can support that vision. Make employees glad they invested that hour by making sure you don’t make these five mistakes:
1. MAKING IT A LECTURE INSTEAD OF A CONVERSATION
Ideally, a town hall is a chance for employees to interact with leadership, rather than having leadership spew information at them. Be sure to encourage employee participation, maybe by having them text questions ahead of time, or posting their questions in the chat function during the meeting. And encourage leadership to stop talking long enough to occasionally give employees the floor.
2. SHOWING SLIDES CRAMMED WITH INFO
Help your leadership avoid the temptation of showing a PowerPoint with umpteen bullet points and a graph. Besides the likelihood that they’ll have the audience nodding off before they reach the fifth bullet, a town hall is not the place to go deep into details. Keep the conversation topline and refer them to appropriate resources for more details. Slides with fewer words can communicate more effectively.
3. HAVING ONLY SENIOR LEADERSHIP AS PRESENTERS
There’s no reason the CEO should do all the talking, or even other members of the C-suite. Shine a little limelight on the people a level or two down instead. For instance, if you’re featuring a new product or service line, have someone from the team involved in the launch to speak. Employees might find it more meaningful, and more inspirational, to hear from the folks who did the work to make that launch happen.
4. BEING TOO HQ-CENTRIC
Sure, you’re streaming the town hall so that employees around the world can see what’s going on. But when your presenters are all from the corporate headquarters office, it may not feel like a global view. If you’re discussing an expansion in India, let the managing director in Pune do the talking. If you’re a manufacturing company, maybe host the town hall in a plant and feature those essential workers.
5. LETTING THE MEETING RUN OVER
If you’ve planned the meeting for an hour, don’t let it stretch an hour plus fifteen. Be sure to show respect for employees’ time and their other calendar commitments by managing the time allotted for each speaker and keeping things moving along according to the agenda. Tone is set at the top, so make sure leadership is setting an example of good meeting etiquette and efficiency.