As we head into the heart of Decision 2012, the corporate world is getting a free education on how to conduct powerful web-based company meetings and events. Whether you like politicians or not, you have to admit they really know how to connect with others and drive conversations. How they do it is how you can do it, too.
Speak to individuals rather than crowds
Politicians don’t speak to us as a group; rather, whenever possible, they speak to us as individuals.Or at least it appears that way. Often they will offer a particular person’s story that relates to a point they want to make or they’ll go down into the audience and ask someone how she feels about a topic.
Use the interactive features of webcasts, such as chat questions or even live audio discussions, to make each presentation feel personal. The more you can be a real person to your audience, the more they will get on board with what you’re saying.
Roll up your sleeves—literally
Politicians often wear suits, as your corporate leaders may, but when want to show they are “of the people” they will loosen their ties, unbutton their top button, take off their jackets, and roll up their sleeves. This can build a wall between you and your casually dressed audience—which is exactly what you don’t want.
If you’re using video, either prerecorded or a live feed, and your message is “we’re all in this together,” think about dressing in a way that matches what your audience normally wears.
Face the fire head-on
Politicians are aware that the “hot seat” questions are the ones that can do the most damage to their campaigns. If they duck such questions, they know their opponents will provide answers in their place. So open your web event to questions. If someone asks a tough one, provide a thoughtful and sincere answer.
If you don’t have an answer but someone else on the team does, don’t be afraid to turn over the event. Webcasting makes it as easy as pointing and clicking. Just be sure your expert is prepared to take the reins.
Strike up the band—and the fireworks
As noted earlier, webcasting technology gives you many more options to create excitement than a simple conference call. If you have a graphics/creative department, get them to create a theme that sets the tone for the online event.
With the popularity of YouTube, there’s little doubt that video can really grab attention. It also proves you don’t have to do anything fancy. Something simple that illustrates the point will help you look sincere.
Use polls to keep informed and to influence behavior
Politicians are constantly polling to see where the voters stand on the issues. You can do the same during your company town hall Web events. One to three polls inserted during a webcast (depending on the length of the presentation) can seek participant input on topics that are important to your organization.
Using polls allows you to see whether the rank-and-file’s view is in line with management’s, whether the message you’re trying to communicate is being received… and answer dozens of other questions. The information gained, especially if a clear majority emerges, can then provide guidance on your communication strategy.
The closer we get to the election—in fact, to any election—the more visible politicians become. Endless radio, TV, and online ads and appearances pummel us with the candidates and their positions. Though you may not be able to saturate the media, by recording your town hall event and making it available on the company website you can reach those who were unable to attend in real time and keep the C-suite and management team in front of the company.
Once it’s there, you can send emails with links to company personnel to highlight specific points, giving them the time it appears. Or you can edit out that section and display it in a “Highlights” section under the topic. As you build a library of such highlights, you’ll gain extra value out of the event while ensuring management remains visible—and transparent.
SOURCE: MarketingProfs, 10/8/12