Communicate

Are Townhalls boring?

5 Jan , 2016  

First week of any new year is like a movie release, we all have expectations about what’s new in our organisation for the year. You must have already received emails from your CEOs or attended townhalls/ all hands to hear about how 2016 is like for your organisation!

Every year I wake up with the question of what’s new. My mind always said it’s just a date change, sometimes the heart said it’s going to be a different year, every time the heart won, it went on to become a great year for me personally and professionally. But beyond me sometimes the leaders whom I worked for created the cause, which allowed the heart to function better. Sometimes it could be notes/emails from leaders, many a times the inspiration came from listening to them at Townhalls. Townhalls in my view have a huge advantage over emails as they

  • They give a personal touch and allows leaders to connect better to their colleagues. Many leaders run their empire from their cushy cabins, Townhalls allows them to demonstrate their people skills in public 🙂
  • Allows employees to express/query allowing them to participate in the organisation thinking. This depends on the organisation culture and the leader’s style, but I am sure today’s employees prefer this.
  • Gives a good platform to feel the conviction of the leaders in the organisation goals. Many a times the emails written by clever marketers and EAs mask the true character of a leader. The expressions, emotions of leaders in townhalls convey the realistic picture of walk the talk intent.
  • Creates a culture of expression and openness. Even if the leaders do not mesmerize you its fine, not everybody went to Oxford, very few are tongue n cheek and many still have stage fear. The very intent to share their thoughts in public generates an atmosphere of trust

But many a times Townhalls fail to evoke people, why? I think

  • Its due to the diabolic nature of the leaders, people can make out if the person they experience daily is different than the one who ‘acts’ during townhalls
  • The repeated nature of the message, some of us say what is already widely known, but then townhalls are also supposed to be platforms for reinforcing organisation key strategies, initiatives, so that’s a tricky one.
  • The duration, Some townhalls get so long that people can faint waiting for it to get over, anything more than 30 minutes is difficult to absorb (I haven’t figured out how to do this yet)
  • Incoherence to the context, Some Leaders end up in sugar coated talks, talking only positive things while the house could be on fire, thanking everybody for no rhyme or reason, sometimes there could be areas which aren’t functioning well which never gets mentioned.

I have loved Townhalls where I could see leaders genuinely expressing themselves, allowing their colleagues to comment or ask questions, cracking jokes to lighten the atmosphere, calling out people in the crowd to appreciate/acknowledge, admitting to things which failed, and giving some very logical insights into the organisation’s direction.

So was your new year Townhall inspiring?

I give myself a 6 on 10 for my Town Halls!

I give myself a 6 on 10 for my Town Halls!


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