Digital town hall draft - DMAW luncheon
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Digital town hall draft - DMAW luncheon



Drawing upon his fifteen years of experience, Barry Jackson, Communications Advisor, Public Outreach for AARP discusses the emergence of Digital Town Hall meetings in today’s marketplace. He will ...

Drawing upon his fifteen years of experience, Barry Jackson, Communications Advisor, Public Outreach for AARP discusses the emergence of Digital Town Hall meetings in today’s marketplace. He will discuss how the concept of the townhall is evolving, some of the tools that people are using, and innovative and creative ways that people are using those tools in combination to listen to constituents, engage in new ways and build deeper relationships with members-constituents-customers. He will highlight an array of tools that are in the digital space or can be used in conjunction with the digital space and then talk about the principles to apply to the use of the technologies; how AARP promotes them and then he will discuss best practices. He will share what he thinks is the best example of integrating all aspects of a digital townhall – it’s when President Obama came to AARP during the health care debate for a digital townhall with their members.



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  • [twitter]Just getting underway at the #dmaw luncheon – talking about digital townhalls…[/twitter]
  • [twitter]I’m presenting at the #dmaw digital townhall luncheon. Are you here? Got questions? Use #dmaw tag [/twitter]
  • [twitter]During your event you can even set up auto-tweets. Tweet while presenting! #dmaw[/twitter]
  • There were a lot of moving pieces to this event. My responsibility was to set up and manage the teletownhall aspect of this event with the president. I found myself managing the vendor, working with the screeners, and choosing which questions submitted online and via phone to put in front of the moderator and president. troubleshooting. So many people inside the AARP building were going to tune in that we had to send out a special NEWS NOW telling people not to watch from their desks. It would have overwhelmed the system and perhaps crashed the whole event.Things still go wrong. When we cut live to our first caller there was nothing but dead air. Fortunately, the moderator could see the question she was supposed to ask and asked it for the caller. We were panicking in the control booth – was the technology working? Was the audio out? Was something the matter with our connection? Then the moderator plunged ahead and we tried to go live to the next caller and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when we heard a voice. I went back and watched the tape the other day – from start to finish the whole thing took about a minute. But it was one of the longest minutes I’ve ever experienced.There’s another note here. When you are using these tools sometimes there is no safety net. Make sure people understand that. With teletownhall technology for instance there is no 3 second delay, there is no bleeping words. So even with the best screeners and most filtered audience there is the potential for things to go off-script. The risk is low, but I can assure you that I made sure everyone above me knew that risk and that the White House staffers knew that risk. Sometimes you have to take risks but make sure that people know what they are and sign off on them. What worked and what didn’t? Well, I show you this example because I feel like this multi-channel effort worked just about as well as we could have hoped. The earned media, the audience participation and the technology all performed as hoped. And we knew who had participated by asking questions or being on the phone – so we were able to do some follow-up in terms of outreach to those participants.But I think we could have used more attention to the social networking aspect of this event. This was prior to us really having a dedicated team involved with social media strategy and I’m not sure we maximized our exposure in that medium. I also don’t think we asked our followers and influencers to pass-along word of the event or links to the event. I’m sure we could have boosted our reach and gained new followers if we had been able to do that. The one other thing that I think we struggled with, mostly because of sheer volume, is listening to or reading all the voicemails and emailed questions we received as a result of the teletownhall piece and the questions submitted to the president.

Digital town hall draft - DMAW luncheon Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The Digital Town Hall: Tools, Principles and Best Practices
    Barry Jackson, AARP
    June 16, 2011
  • 2. 2
  • 3. Agenda
    Digital Town Hall: Tools, Principles & Practices
    • Introduction to AARP – What We Do
    • 4. The Town Hall – Traditional and Emerging Views
    • 5. Planning An Event
    • 6. Picking Your Tools
    • 7. Promoting Your Event
    • 8. After Your Event – Metrics, Short-Term & Long-Term
    • 9. Case Study: AARP Town Hall With President Obama
    • 10. Questions & Feedback
  • 11. About AARP
    • Established in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus
    • 12. Offices in 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
    • 13. AARP, AARP Foundation, AARP Services, Inc.
    • 14. What We Do – Advocacy, Community Service, Publications, Products and Services
  • 15. Publications and Programs
    Join the Conversation:Website:
    Twitter: @aarp
  • 16. Traditional Presentation
  • 17. The New Dynamic
  • 18. The New Dynamic
  • 19. Planning An Event
  • 20. Key Elements of Planning
    • Decide on Your Goal
    • 21. Audience
    • 22. Budget
    • 23. Additional Resources
    • 24. Promotional Plan
    • 25. Metrics and Follow-up Planning
  • 26. Town Hall Tools
  • 27. Potential Pieces
  • 28. “Remember, the tools you use are only effective if they are used properly. Before your next virtual presentation, consider the following:
    What tools are available for my virtual presentation?
    Can I manage the tools alone, or do I need assistance?
    What tools can be prepared in advance?
    What tools can I use in the moment?
    What tools will create the greatest impact?”
    “The Exceptional Presenter GOES VIRTUAL” by Timothy J. Koegel
  • 29. Your Event:Promotion and Execution
  • 30. Promotion and Execution
    Prior to the Event
    • Practice, practice, practice
    • 31. Promote via email, website, social media
    • 32. Decide on your hashtag(s)
    • 33. What’s Your Back-up plan?
    • 34. RSVP method or other audience collection point
    • 35. Maximize Immediacy. Send an email or other reminder as the event starts or during the event
    During the Event
    • DON’T Go Solo
    • 36. Identify Speakers
    • 37. Manage Your Handoffs
    • 38. Be Prepared to Improvise
    • 39. Have links or other deeper info ready
    • 40. Tech support. Got any?
    • 41. Repeatedly point out how people can ask questions
    • 42. Let people know what happens if their question isn’t addressed
  • 43. After Your Event
  • 44. After Your Event
    • Follow-up with your participants if necessary
    • 45. Via phone
    • 46. Via email
    • 47. Survey in relation to event, topic and future presentations
    • 48. Analyze the data – decide what is most important
    • 49. If you’ve recorded the event – re-promote it via email, website, etc.
    • 50. Check social networks trends using names, hashtags or services like Tweetreach
    • 51. Did things go wrong? Acknowledge and implement your back-up plan
  • 52. Case Study:Putting It All Together
  • 53. July 2009: Health Reform Town Hall
  • 54. July 2009 AARP Town Hall With The President
    • Pre-event promotion resulted in over 20,000 questions submitted to AARP and the president in regard to the health reform legislation
    • 55. Team effort – moderator, screeners, producer, in-house broadcast team, outside vendor support
    • 56. Reminder sent to email list immediately before Town Hall
    • 57. Promotion on
    • 58. Teletownhall – over 300,000 members received calls inviting them to join
    • 59. Live audience
    • 60. Video streamed live onto an page
    • 61. Broadcast feed also available – the Town Hall was picked up live by multiple networks including CNN
    • 62. Covered on AARP’s twitter feed and on AARP’s Facebook page
    • 63. Recorded event made available on Youtube and other outlets as well as transcript
  • 64. Discussion/Questions?
  • 65. 22
    Barry JacksonCommunications Advisor, Public OutreachAARP
    Office: (202) 434-3749Cell: (202) 631-8952Email: bjjackson@aarp.orgTwitter: @barryjackson1
    Additional Resources:
    • Today’s Presentation can be viewed at:
    • 66. Powerpoint Twitter plug-ins at:
    • 67. Youtube instructional video on how to install those tools:
    • 68. Useful list of tools: “17 Online Meeting Tools That Facilitate Collaboration” -
    • 69. Book: “The Exceptional Presenter Goes Virtual” by Timothy J. Koegel