Holding a town hall meeting online is a great way to involve employees from many locations. But you have to make sure these sessions don't have a one-way dynamic. Here are four tools to encourage employee participation:

One

Chat is an instant-messaging function that allows participants to ask questions, make comments and share ideas.

  • How to introduce it: "Do you have concerns about this approach? We'd like to hear from you. Please put your comments in chat."
 
Two

Polling is a fast, efficient survey tool that employees can use to vote or provide feedback.

  • How to introduce it: "We want to know if you're satisfied with the shuttle bus service. So please answer the questions in the poll and we'll share results with you in a few minutes."
 
Three

Annotation lets you mark up content by underlining or circling elements and inserting text boxes and shapes.

  • How to introduce it: "This slide includes some customer service issues for our company. Underline the ones that you've had experience with, and if there are any missing, add them in a text box."
 
Four

The whiteboard is a space where participants can collaborate in a brainstorming or problem-solving session.

  • How to introduce it: "In a perfect world, what would our client's experience be? Let's create a picture that shows this. What would you include?"
 

Since each web meeting system is different, explore the tools that are available to you and choose those that will best help you meet your objectives.

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