Step 4. Day of the Town Hall

Congratulations! You got this far.

On the day of the event, make sure that everyone knows who they should go to to troubleshoot any problems that may arise.

Arrive at your venue early to get the lay of the land, set up the matrix you’ll use to vote session topics up or down, and make sure all necessary supplies are ready and waiting for participants in the room or rooms you’ll use for break out sessions.

Make sure that all is in readiness to check people in as enter the venue.If you are structuring your Town Hall as an Unconference, we suggest you provide a handout that consists of a map of the venue (if there are breakouts in different rooms and/or if the bathrooms are not easy to find) and a very simple timetable for the events you plan. Make sure to allow time for people to network and get to know each other. Be prepared for participants to blow up and blow through your agenda, as it is they and not the conference organizers who are in control (such as it is!) of the proceedings.

If you are using name badges (recommended), prepare them in advance and have them waiting for the participants when they check into the venue (be sure to have a few blank name tags for any walk-ins). One nice touch is to have everyone on the Planning Committee wear a name badge that readily identifies them as special. For example, you could put a big red dot on each person’s name tag that can be seen from across the room.

Signage and messaging the day of the event should stress that you want people to participate in the Town Hall, not just attend. Also, that they can identify members of the Town Hall Planning Committee based on the red dot (or other distinguishing mark) on their name tags.

A successful Town Hall can feel … a bit … anticlimactic. Because so much of your time and attention is spent preparing for the event in advance. You can alleviate this by holding a feedback session, at the end of the day, on what attendees thought about the day, their favorite sessions, 1 thing they learned, and one thing they would like to see happen over the next year.