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The Insights Blog

Thoughts on interesting, notable and curious goings-on in the industry.

Top 5 Ways Virtual Town Halls are Different

May 4, 2016

It took me a little bit of thinking and digging into the concept of a VTH before it clicked for me. The purpose of this blog is to help you understand the technology a little better, and understand how it is different from other options out there. 

So here they are, the Top 5 ways that VTHs are different from other methods of engagement:

  1. It's a push method of outreach
    • The impact of this simple element can’t be overstated. How many times have you searched your phone's email for the login information for a call, or trying to locate the link for a webinar? Wouldn’t it be nice if the phone just rang at the right time and all you had to do was answer it and say ‘hello’? VTHs literally make your stakeholders’ phones ring.
  2. Helps overcome barriers to increase stakeholder engagement by multiples
    • Because of the push method and the use of the phone system, which reaches your audience where they are, I’ve seen clients realize many multiples greater participation. And this experience has been across sectors, target audiences and geographies. I heard a statistic that 91% of smartphone owners keep their phones within an arm’s reach 100% of the time - and that was in 2007! Now, contrast simply answering your phone to what you would need to do to make it to an in-person meeting. You’d really have to work your entire day around the meeting, from childcare to grocery shopping, from recreational activities to work commitments. The VTH can overcome many barriers to enable a conversation with your most important stakeholders at one time, in a controlled way.
  3. Cost-effectively engage in a two-way conversation with your stakeholders
    • In 60 minutes, you can expect to reach and engage with around 50% of the phone numbers on the dial-out list for one of these events. Not only can this help you reach out across the entire country in a single hour, but your speakers and those managing the call do not need to be in the same place. Ideally, at least the first few times your organization does one of these events, all of your key people (moderator, speakers, producers) would be in the same room. This ensures a smooth event and high-quality outcome. So the operational efficiency potential is tremendous.
  4. Gather real-time feedback from stakeholders in multiple ways
    • There are several ways to gather feedback from your stakeholders in a VTH. As with several other options, like webinars and live meetings, you can open the text chat or mics to participants. However, there are a couple of very interesting features with the VTHs that can enable you to gather even more feedback, such as using the keypad polling feature or connecting your participant to a survey. Participants can also leave voicemail messages at the end of the event, so those not comfortable or who didn't get a chance to ask their question live can leave their feedback.
  5. Develop a detailed understanding of your most active stakeholders
    • One of the most powerful elements of the VTH is the data that you can collect from your stakeholders. Each individual person who is listed in the dial-out file has up to 16 data points appended to their record. The system tracks and notes, among other points, how long the person was on the call, did they raise their had to ask a question, what was the nature of the question, how they responded to poll questions and more. You can also have participants self-identify to provide additional information to the screeners working the call. If you actively run a CRM and are working to build out your data, you can do so very effectively by leveraging the data collection, and planning it in advance, to mine exactly what you’re looking for.

VTHs can open new conversations you've never had with your stakeholders. Please reach out if you have any questions or want to give one of these events a try.

Carl Mavromichalis / Comment
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