Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Like the traditional town hall meetings of New England, people are invited to attend and gather information from either a speaker or groups of speakers about a particular topic. Participants in a town hall have the opportunity to ask questions, exchange ideas, voice opinions, and listen to host's responses. Advanced telecommunications networks, the phone, and secure Web-based technology have fostered the emergence of virtual town hall meetings — a specialized, state-of-the-art form of personalized phone communications to mass audiences.
What is a virtual town hall meeting?
A virtual town hall meeting is much more than a mere conference call. Virtual town hall meetings are established by using automated phone calls to invite and connect hundreds to tens of thousands of participants with the meeting host. Toll-free numbers are provided for attendees to call and join the meeting. Participants are typically located in widely dispersed geographic locations. Virtual town hall meeting activity is viewed and controlled online. The meeting can be announced using print media, e-mail, online newsletters and other notices. Political candidates, legislative bodies, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, and businesses use virtual town hall meetings to stay in touch with their constituents. The virtual town hall meeting is an efficient, convenient, and cost-effective alternative to the traditional town hall meeting held in a specific, physical location.
What are the advantages of a virtual town hall meeting?
This is truly an inexpensive way to communicate personally with constituents, members, employees, customers and advocacy groups when compared to the costs of direct mail or holding a physical town hall event.
Easy to Set Up.
Setting up a virtual town hall meeting can be completed with just 24-hours advance notice. Special guest presenters located anywhere in the country can easily be added to the meeting agenda.
Automated Phone Invitations Generate Large Audiences.
Automated phone invitations will typically result in an attendance rate by more than 50% of the calls answered. Example: Sent 38,000 invitations — 11,000 calls were answered and 22,000 went to answering machines. 8,000 people joined the virtual town meeting.
In real-time, a speaker and the audience are able to communicate personally in a question-and-answer format with each other about topics of interest, concerns, and suggestions. Following the call, or at any time during, participants can transfer to a digital voicemail box to leave comments or ask additional questions.
The service provides the option to screen participants' questions before going live with the host, ensuring that all questions have been reviewed and are appropriate.
At any time during the call, participants can transfer to a predetermined number and return to the virtual town hall meeting without being disconnected. Example: Participants can transfer to a legislative office or a call center for donations, purchases or subscriptions and then seamlessly rejoin the meeting.
Real-time polling can be used to instantly obtain feedback and record responses to questions posed to the meeting participants.
No Travel Required.
No travel is required. Talking from the comfort of an "office" location, the host can communicate effectively with a very large, targeted audience.
All participant data, including contact information, conference duration, and polling responses, is instantly available for viewing. Additionally, the entire conference is digitally recorded.
Jackie Lee / Paul Tewes
Executive Director of Florida for Change / DNC Director
Florida for Change 2008 needed to connect with its campaign volunteers shortly before Election Day to boost their morale and keep them focused on putting Florida into the Obama (win) column.
Operating under a tight deadline, TCG worked with Florida for Change to organize and execute a virtual town hall meeting hosting thousands of campaign volunteers. The successful town hall meeting was carried out with just 48 hours of lead time.
TCG organized and executed a virtual town hall meeting that engaged a vast majority of Florida volunteers. In this framework, Senator Obama was able to personally address each volunteer — encouraging them to keep up the hard work that ultimately helped deliver the 3% winning margin of victory in Florida.