And we say, Welcome Back!
The company town hall has made a comeback in the past few years. A squared-away moment when teams come together to hear slices of strategy, progress updates, world-wide kudos, and a resounding message of “our employees are important to us, and we want them to know what’s happening.” In our world, we see town halls in all their different iterations. As an AV systems designer, we get to assess goals, how the physical space will be used, and important items like audience and presenter tech curves. On the build side, we get to explore AV system functionality such as adding streaming & recording capabilities to the mix. And as a service resource, we get to sit in and support these events in real-time.
Here we share several important insights when considering a Town Hall space and AV systems.
Needs and Goals
Understand the purpose of the town hall space. Will it primarily be presenter-led, intended for audience participation, all the above?
Gauge frequency of usage. Will town halls be held on a scheduled basis and will ad hoc meetings need accommodation?
Identify the audience size and composition (in person, hybrid).
Identify presenter tech-curves and support needs.
Determine expectations for audio and video quality from presenters and the audience.
Consider if there will be overflow spaces to the main Town Hall that need to be addressed.
Space Layout and Acoustics
Consider the room layout and seating arrangement (stadium seating, forum seating) to ensure optimal sightlines for all attendees, including remote.
Consider presenter locations and presenter-types (walk the space, stand behind podium) to ensure connectivity options.
Address acoustics by incorporating strategic speaker placement to minimize echoes and ensure clear audio.
Install large-format displays or projectors & screens capable of displaying presentations, videos, and other visual content clearly to all attendees. Take into consideration any obstructions and if the tech will need to be hidden when not in use.
Consider lighting conditions when choosing display technologies to avoid glare and ensure visibility.
Install a high-quality sound system with speakers strategically placed to ensure even coverage throughout the room.
Assess each presenter’s needs and incorporate microphone types to support (handheld, lavalier, podium microphones).
Consider microphones (handheld, Catchbox) to capture audience members and ensure audience audio also reaches remote participants.
Implement a sound reinforcement system to enhance speech clarity and minimize background noise.
Determine how town halls will be run. Will these events require a dedicated operator? Is a control room needed or a mobile cart? Where will the operator be seated?
Determine what components need to be controlled – audio, video, lighting.
Integrate control systems to manage. This includes touch panels or mobile apps for controlling displays, volume levels, source selection, lighting, and other AV components.
Video, Video Conferencing, and Streaming
Incorporate video conferencing capabilities for remote participants and presenters.
Set up cameras and microphones strategically to provide a clear view and audio feed of the room to remote attendees.
Implement streaming solutions to broadcast town hall meetings live or record them for later viewing.
Determine if multiple video feeds will be required. Are there different angles (wide angle of audience, presenter only) that need to be met?
Accessibility and Inclusivity
Consider accessibility features such as closed captioning, sign language interpretation, and assistive listening devices to accommodate attendees with disabilities.
Ensure that AV equipment and controls are accessible to individuals with mobility impairments.
Ensure all display and other AV component placement meet ADA requirements.
Network and Connectivity
Assess network infrastructure to support high-bandwidth AV content, video conferencing, and streaming.
Provide adequate connectivity options throughout the space for presenters to connect their devices.
By carefully considering these & other factors, town hall spaces can facilitate engaging and impactful meetings, presentations, and discussions for attendees both in-person and remotely.
Ready to host your next Town Hall? Let’s connect »