What to Expect Before Your First Telephone Town Hall

What your office needs to do before, during, and after your first telephone town hall event.
September 17, 2019 Blog

So, you're holding your first telephone town hall. Whether it's to make a public service announcement or react to a national event, this interaction may be the only opportunity you have to reach certain citizens who may not be able to make it to your in-person events. Like most outreach, a telephone town hall is what you make of it. There's a lot of opportunity to meaningfully engage with your audience before, during, and after the event. Here's everything you need to know about holding your first telephone town hall.

Before the Event

Schedule

Scheduling your telephone town hall with us is quick and easy. All you need to get started is a time and date that you'd like the 60-minute event to take place. The best time to hold a telephone town hall is whenever your audience is expecting to hear from you. This may be when there's been an unexpected event like a natural disaster or an annual event like the State of the Union. Complement an in-person event with a telephone hall so that citizens who didn't get a chance to make it can still have the opportunity to engage. Ready to get started? Schedule your telephone town hall today!

Promote

Just like an in-person event, the key to holding a successful telephone town hall is awareness. Here are a few ways that government organizations are encouraging citizens to attend their town halls events.

  • Auto-Calls: Obviously your staff does not have the bandwidth to call every person to invite them to the event. However, with pre-event auto-calls your organization can contact citizens directly without having to work overtime. 
  • Polling: Pre-event polling is also a low-cost, low-effort way of engaging people before your event. Target specific demographics to gain more insight into the public opinion of citizens before the event, allowing you to tailor your town hall and save money along the way.
  • Social Media: Don't forget to push your event on social media! Create a social campaign around your event to get people ready with their comments and questions.
  • Website: Leverage your website before the event to advertise your upcoming town hall. We work directly with our telephone town hall customers to create a landing page for your event where citizens can be directed to find out everything they need to know and register for the event. This page can be shared on your social channels, used to stream the event live, and capture event registrations.

Assign Roles

It's important to assign responsibilities to make sure you know who's doing what prior to the day of the event. Here are three roles you'll need to fill for a successful telephone town hall.

  • Screener(s): Screeners will screen calls from citizens, collecting information and passing callers along to the moderator. You have the option to book professional screeners from our partner Broadnet or we'll train someone on your staff to fill the position.
  • Moderator: The moderator will be the person who keeps the event going, by announcing how listeners can ask questions and introducing live callers. Again, you have the option to book a professional moderator from Broadnet or we'll provide training for someone on your staff.
  • Host: The host is the person holding the telephone town hall, perhaps an elected official or an agency spokesperson. As telephone town halls are interactive events, the host should be prepared to give a quick intro in the beginning that they'll repeat as a reminder for new listeners and stop about every 5-10 minutes for a new question.

Refresh Your Data

Without accurate contact information, any outreach from your office won't be reaching its full potential. Whether it's addresses, emails, phone numbers, or other demographic information, refreshing your citizen data will ensure that your telephone town hall reaches as many attendees as possible.

During the Event

In the digital age, interaction is just as important as reaction. Our telephone town hall packages give you several different ways to interact with your audience during your event. 

Post to Social Media

It's important to stay active on social media not just before the event but during as well. You can provide quick recaps of what's going on, give a behind-the-scenes look at the action, and let citizens know that it's not too late to join in! Need help with your office's social strategy? Add a custom promotion plan to your next own hall!

Save & Post Video Clips

Our user-friendly interface allows you to flag interesting video clips for soundbites that you want to highlight either to post to Facebook or Twitter or to download for offline use in your newsletter or website.

Monitor for Questions

The screeners and the moderator will be focusing on questions during the event, sorting through dial-in callers and introducing them to the host. You can also ask listeners a poll question and encourage them to subscribe to your enewsletter during the event. If you're also streaming the event on social media, don't forget to check for online comments and questions as well.

After the Event

While it may seem like you work is done after the event is over, it's really only just begun. Now that you've established relationships with the citizens who responded to your promotion and joined you for the event, it's time to maintain that relationship with a follow up interaction.

Follow up

Whether it's via email or social media, it's important to thank the attendees for tuning in to your town hall and give them opportunities to engage with your office in the future, such as providing them with a link to subscribe to your newsletter or directing them to the latest press releases on your website. After the event, we'll be providing you with a copy of the event statistics and importing event data into your CRM–all of which you can use to inform your follow-up messaging. The more effort you invest into engaging with your audience before, during, and after the event, the bigger the lasting impression you'll make on your attendees.

 

We're here to make all of your telephone town halls as easy and stress-free as possible–you'll even have a dedicated event specialist to ensure all your questions are answered every step of the way! We hope these tips give you an idea of where to start before your first town hall. Ready to schedule? Contact us today!