Town Hall meetings have become a calendar fixture at many large companies. Although originally based on the idea of New England citizens voicing their thoughts, the term Town Hall is often just another name for traditional, top-down presentations by senior management.
So how can you make your town hall event work better? Paul Farrow has five ways to get it right.
As presentation experts, we always recommend people to remember A.I.M.
1) The A in AIM is to know your audience. A big mistake we see is when senior management address employees as if they were investors or customers. These are very different groups that need talking to in different ways. To get it right speak to the condition, interests and concerns of your employees.
2) What is your Intention? What do you want to get out of the event? Is it a rag-bag collection of parish notices, or is there something specific you want to achieve, for example to launch a new sale drive. If that’s the purpose of the meeting, make sure that your audience knows it and you theme the entire event around it.
3) Next, you need to decide on your Message (the M in AIM) and make sure that it is the “red thread” running through everything that you say. Be ruthless and get rid of anything from your speech that obscures that message.
Don’t forget that acronym: AIM. Two other recommendations:
4) Remember that you are there to talk to your colleagues, not to deliver a presentation. Use slides – if you must have them – as visual aids to reinforce your key points. But cut down the words on the screen. If your audience is reading your slides they aren’t listening to you. Perhaps using an image could sum up what you want to say better.
5) Finally, if you want to get into a dialogue with employees, create an environment for doing that. Any audience in the hundreds doesn’t normally ask many questions. An audience of 20 just might. Would you be better off organising a programme of internal focus groups – or breaking the session into smaller tables with an interactive element?
Don’t think about Town Hall meetings only as physical events: you can run them just as effectively through virtual means by putting the same principles into practice. In any context, a Town Hall can be a powerful tool when used as part of your wider plans for engaging and equipping employees to play their part in your business.
First, download our free ebook to start your journey towards becoming a Powerful Presenter.
You’ll learn our 5-step process for transforming dull, forgettable and un-engaging presentations into your most Powerful Presentations yet: inspirational, memorable and persuasive.
It’s full of practical tips and insightful quotes that will help you make immediate improvements to your leadership talks and presentations, including:
Download your free copy of our Five Steps to Improve your Leadership Talks ebook now.
Do you know what you want to say, and the order you want to say it in? Try this quick test of...
Investment decision-making is not a wholly rational process. Are you using all the tools at your disposal to create and...
Winning a competitive pitch Our client, a leading Financial PR agency, was ready. They’d prepared a new business pitch for...
You could shoot to fame for all the wrong reasons if a bad media interview goes viral. Unprepared, rude or flippant comments...
Better Body Language We all know that body language is important in business. But how important? And does is really...
We all feel nervous when we talk in public. This is a good thing. If we didn’t feel nervous, then...
A weak elevator pitch is a wasted opportunity Last month I chaired the Quickfire Showcase at Berlin’s SuperReturn, the annual...
Better Media Interviews The excruciating Newsnight interview with Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this summer is just one example of how poor preparation...
“I honestly thought it was the most valuable 3 hours I’ve spent with anyone in a long time.”
Mick May CEO, Blue Sky
“The new presentation properly represents the institutional quality of our fund. It has been a step change of us.”
Erwin de Klein Head of IR, Saemor Capital
“This training has contributed directly to new business – including a new FTSE100 client.”
Michelle Elstein Head of Business Development, Olswang LLP
“Good value, and highly recommended.”
Paul Farrow Director, Fishburn Hedges