Town hall meetings should be a good way to encourage employees to ask questions and offer their viewpoints. But far too often, town halls become nothing more than a long presentation followed by an awkward silence that seems to last forever.
Can you change town halls to encourage participants? Here are five simple, yet effective techniques:
|The usual town hall meeting consists of a series of presentations followed by a short question-and-answer period.
|Bump up the participation level with an agenda that creates participation. Use one-third of the allotted time for presentations and the remaining two-thirds for facilitated dialogue.
|Most town hall meetings tend to present “the big picture.” They are only able to scratch the surface of multiple topics.
|Use your time to cover one topic in depth. By narrowing the focus of your meeting, you’ll give employees the opportunity to explore and really think about one issue.
|Even confident employees find it hard to speak in front of a large group.
|Make it easier for employees by breaking them out into smaller groups. After a brief presentation, give each group an issue to address or a problem to solve.
|Employees prefer unscripted “real” talk over a heavily edited, planned speech.
|Persuade leaders to use bulleted talking points to stay on track, but to inflect their own voice into the presentation.
|Employees don’t want to look stupid by asking a “dumb question.”
|Rather than asking questions that expose their lack of knowledge, invite employees to share information that demonstrates their knowledge.