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Top 5 Pro Tips from a Town Hall Event Expert

 
This week, we got a first-hand breakdown of all things town halls from BlueJeans’ Senior Unified Communications Engineer, Philip Hilberath. The informative Q&A covered his top five tips for hosting excellent streaming presentations, including pre-, during-, and post-event management. 
 
Following Philip’s comments, we drilled deeper into the BlueJeans Events product to explain the features of video interactivity and scalability in any remote or office location. Learn how BlueJeans Events transforms corporate presentations and executive town halls into an engaging environment for company-wide communication. 
 
As a member of the BlueJeans IT organization, Philip is responsible for managing all internal video aspects including, events, conference rooms, and meetings. Given that the deployment and adoption of BlueJeans is mission critical for our highly collaborative culture, it’s Philip’s job to ensure our global teams utilize the full BlueJeans product set.  
 
Here are the main takeaways from Philip’s advice on hosting successful town halls: 
 
Q: How do you set up the town hall event? 
A: We’ll sit down with the folks that are coordinating the event to see what their needs are for the event itself – what's the content that they need, are they going to stream to Workplace by Facebook – things like that. Once you have that nailed down, you just need an agenda. That way it’s easier for you to follow along. Granted, we all know that things can change at the last minute but it’s always important to have an agenda. And then you can look at the locations involved with each live site and change the aesthetics or lighting where needed.  
 
Q: How do you prepare the CEO, speakers, etc. For the event? 
A: DRY RUNS. That’s all I can say. As far as that’s concerned, I like to start the day before or even a couple days before the event – it's all based on the availability of the presenters. So I like to take about 30 minutes and just walk through the flow; the slides and videos, I show them where they’re going to be standing and I mark the ground. I basically give them a boxed location on the floor. The prep work also applies to the registration form and invitations. Send these out with plenty of advance time, also include yourself on the invitations to make sure everything is accurate.  
 
Q: What specific moderator controls are important throughout the event? 
A: I recommend two moderators to manage the event. Muting and unmuting the locations while it’s going on, those would be my primary responsibilities. I’m also usually in charge of pushing pre-recorded videos out to the audience. Also, promoting people who want to ask questions during the event – that’s the great thing about this solution, you can promote attendees into speakers.  
 
The second moderator is responsible for polls, Q&A, and chat. That way they can focus on the questions and concerns coming in from the field, then relay those to speakers to address on camera. This moderator can also handle technical questions from the audience. Also, they can select between several camera layout to either emphasize active speakers or show all presenters equally within the UI.  
 
Q: How do you add a variety of content to the presentation to keep the audience interested? 
A: We’ll always interact with the audience off the bat with chat. And that’s the beauty of BlueJeans Events – it’s a one-stop shop for everything you’ll need for a streaming presentation. We also tend to push polls out frequently to consistently generate audience feedback. This lets us know if they’re committed to the content and subject matter, the speakers, and the experience.  
 
I’ll also bring up another point about that – I always like to use a secondary laptop. This allows you to focus only on the screen share component with that computer, while the other can be devoted to chat management and crowd control.  
 
Q: What types of data can you reference to improve the quality of future events? 
A: The audience feedback is critical from the end user community. We’ll take a look at all the poll percentages, the chat log, Q&A in the post-event reports. Then you can use these data points to create a better presentation in the future. We’ll also reference these reports to learn about ratings and diagnose any technical-related issues if the attendee scored the experience poorly. The post-event survey gives us lots of leverage to make every event even better.
 
Interested in learning more? Check out the full recording of the webinar here, and download your free trial of BlueJeans Events today!