Ensuring that your executive is achieving their objectives can be challenging says Kursha Woodgate

The operational side of putting on a company meeting or “Town Hall” will be familiar to a lot of seasoned assistants, but what if your executive is looking to gain a little more insight from the next meeting? Maybe he or she is looking to drive more interaction with employees, keen to understand what challenges, concerns and interests they have. Perhaps they are looking to source data and analytics on how well information has been understood, or to ensure that everyone’s questions are captured and dealt with.

Many of my clients are assistants who are seeking help with how to manage and drive engagement, particularly if large numbers are involved and remote participants in multiple time zones are thrown into the mix.

Here are my top tips:

1. Establish clear objectives

Asks questions.  What does your executive want from the Town Hall? Do they want to communicate a key company announcement, are they looking for feedback on a new initiative, or are they managing major change communications? If you are clear on the objectives, you will have a better idea of how to structure the session, what the desired level of engagement might be and potentially any tools you might want to use to help.

2. Set expectations

This may seem obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to be black and white about what is going to be required from your executive in terms of handling questions and what response he or she might receive to their presentation. If you work with a communications or HR manager, they can assist you here in helping to plan for a variety of outcomes.

3. Get help

If you are planning to use a tool for a Q&A session, or to survey / poll participants, then think about how you will manage that while also looking at things like agenda, session timings, managing any remote attendees, dealing with the AV set up and more. Using a moderator to help manage the questions coming in from the audience can be a great way to maximise interaction, ensuring that the most popular questions are asked.

4. Check the tech

If you are using technology platforms, ensure that Wi-Fi in the room has a good signal (assuming you are not already in your own company offices). Check with the venue what the bandwidth is like and whether you are likely to have any issues with the number of participants you are expecting, potentially using multiple devices. Getting everyone ready to interact on an app only to be let down by the Wi-Fi could really put a dampener on the whole event, so it pays to check in advance. Plan to incorporate some kind of simple warm up or ice-breaker using any polling tool so that participants have it set up and are ready to join in.

5. Factor in remote participants

If you are using a live streaming technology to involve remote participants, the technology setup is likely to be even more complex and you want to get it right. Check camera angles, audio feeds and recording options so that you are confident all is ready to engage remote teams. You might also want to consider having an online moderator who is keeping track of engagement for those people, checking if they are looking to raise a hand and ensuring they participate fully in the event. Remember that different time zones around the world might mean it is evening somewhere else when it is morning where you are. Brief presenters to remember to greet everyone accordingly and to regularly talk directly to remote participants so they feel part of the event.

6. Plan for the data you need to capture

Interaction tools can really help provide an indication of engagement levels and whether the information is being effectively communicated. Think about what reports might be helpful, for example the number of questions asked, response rates to polls and feedback on the session itself. That way you will have some great data for a post event report and can ensure all of the questions are captured for follow ups and to provide a record of the key points raised.

Kursha Woodgate is Brand and Communications Director at Slido, an award-winning Q&A and polling platform for live events that bridges the gap between speakers and their audiences. An experienced communications professional with a career spanning more ... (Read More)

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