It’s common to have a Q&A section in your town hall, but let’s turn this on its head: Try asking your employees questions during a town hall instead. In our experience supporting various MNCs in their town hall operations, we learned that companies experience higher employee engagement if they start their town hall operations with a poll. This could be a multiple choice, open-ended, or even word cloud poll, and can include anything from one to five questions.
Questions are powerful things, especially in the hands of organisations. Here are the benefits:
1. It's a simple and familiar icebreaker
"Who eats sushi for breakfast?!"
2. Establishes a basis of understanding
For instance, using multiple choice questions to ask where everyone would feel comfortable cutting costs, and then offer them some options.
3. Gets employees comfortable with the technology
Getting your employees onto the app at the beginning of the townhall meeting will then allow everyone to start asking questions right from the beginning, ensuring that you have plenty of questions when it’s finally time for your Q&A.
4. Ease tension, especially in difficult situations
Polls can also be used to ease the tension in the room, by giving everyone a chance to express themselves. A series of multiple choice questions can be a safe way to approach a topic in a controlled manner, introducing a respectful conversational tone while allowing everyone to get a chance to be heard.
5. Shifts the mode of dialogue from collaborative to inquisitive
Starting with a question can also encourage more question-asking during the meeting. By asking questions, you encourage others to do the same when it's their turn to speak, which could lead to a more conducive meeting.
In corporate townhall meetings where an "us-against-them" mentality could be harmful, management taking the first step to understand the perspective of the rest of the company shows care and understanding, and encourages everyone to do the same. Only then can you reducing the chances of miscommunication and start the process of realignment in your team.