You passed the job interview, now get ready for the audition.
Corporations are increasingly using town halls in new and imaginative ways, yet few take it further than one of the world’s biggest social media companies where newbies are asked to share their “super power” live in front of the entire company.
“Colleagues have sung, danced, recited poetry, juggled, done impersonations, performed acrobatics and more,” recalled one employee. “There’s some real talent in the company.”
The internal talent show that’s part of each town hall is meant to break the ice, introduce new colleagues and put a more friendly, human face on the company call. It’s just one of the ways enterprises are harnessing webcasting to communicate information internally and create a sense of community.
It’s easy to forget online company calls are relatively still new. Two decades ago a single such a production broadcast via satellite signal would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions. Now it can be done for a fraction of the cost – and be much, much better. Viewers can watch from anywhere over any device. There are interactive tools, screens can be split, and quality is better and more reliable than ever.
Like anything new, it’s taken a little time for businesses to figure out best practices. As webcasting has become more ubiquitous, standards and protocols have emerged. Here are a few useful ways you can make the most out of this powerful audiovisual vehicle:
Music: No need to break out Eye of the Tiger from Rocky III. Some pleasant intro and outro music is a nice way to frame a conversation and, er, jazz things up a bit for both participants on the call and viewers at other offices and home.
Food: Bring in a few snacks or a light meal. People will be more likely to socialize and linger a little longer before and after the call.
Make it topical: No need for Lincolnian addresses, company calls are opportunities to create a better business environment. At the same time, good leadership would recognize the greater context in which conversations take place. It’s ok, even welcome, to spend a moment to acknowledge a major news event, if one has taken place of late and affected personnel in a meaningful way. It almost goes without saying extreme sensitivity is advised.
Shout outs: There’s no better opportunity to share praise than in an online all-hands company call. Employees value recognition as much as a raise, sometimes even more. Unlike the latter, a few kind words are free. Make it a point to thank a few people for their hard work.
Keep it short: Brevity is a virtue in the digital age more than ever. Viewership on social media drops precipitously after just 30 seconds. Attentive spans for company calls are not much longer, so try to keep your company call short and concise.
Whether you’re a Fortune 500 conglomerate, or a midsized regional company, there are plenty of ways of making your online town hall gathering more meaningful and effective as a company. Try using a few of these, or experiment with new ones. Remember: webcasting is still a young tool and experimentation might lead to the next big innovation.
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