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Best Practice Guide: Town Hall Events

In the digital era, Town Hall Meetings refer to virtual events whose purpose is to disseminate information, engage participants or encourage collaboration. The critical element is that some or all participants attend the meeting electronically.

Company-wide “all hands” meetings to share important company news or strategy are one example. Specialty School uses a vendor with a global platform to reach out to all employees in multiple locations. Specialty School’s first Town Hall Meeting bordered on high-risk: It introduced the brand-new CEO to employees. All went well.

Other internal company meetings involve geographically distributed groups such as project teams, sales staffs or sales executives in branch offices. Life Fitness had initiated quarterly CEO briefings for top sales and manufacturing executives to convey highly sensitive information. When the firm first launched with internal resources, these Town Hall webcasts were beset by technical problems.

“We needed the ability to handle individual problems behind the scenes,” says Jesse Strittmater, VP and CIO of Life Fitness. “Prior to our current vendor, one user with an issue could bring an entire webcast to its knees.” With vendor-provided services managing the calls, executives immediately noticed the ease of joining the call.

Nor are Town Hall Meetings always internal. Earnings calls for publicly traded companies with institutional investors and Wall Street financial analysts commonly use a Town Hall Meeting format. A more strategic use of Town Hall events comes from LA, a property of entertainment trade magazine Variety…

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