When it comes to town hall meetings, one size does not fit all. Employees in outlying sites have different concerns, challenges and priorities than those at corporate headquarters. As a result, an agenda that worked in Los Angeles may not fly in Birmingham.

Leaders will have greater success engaging different employee audiences if they understand their needs. Here are three steps you can take to help them create more effective all-hands meetings:

  • Step 1: Find out who you’re talking to
    A few weeks before the town hall, contact HR at the site to learn about who works there: Is the audience primarily male or female? What is the average age of employees? How long have they been with the company? Have they come to your company via a merger or acquisition? All this information will help you understand who leaders will be meeting with.
  • Step 2: Gather a little intelligence
    Next, find out about employees’ concerns or priorities. Conducting short interviews with even a few employees will give you a sense of the issues they’re focusing on. Even better, if you have time, conduct a focus group with a representative sample of that site’s employees.
  • Step 3: Customize messages
    Now that you’ve done your homework, you can customize leaders’ remarks and help prepare them for questions that are likely to come up.

The result? Leaders will be better prepared and employees will notice. Instead of coming off as the typical corporate message, the town hall will address employees’ specific needs. Even better, leaders will appear connected, which goes a long way in engaging employees.

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