With the coronavirus spreading, governments and companies are using Tele-Town Hall (aka Town Hall Teleconferencing or Virtual Town Hall Meetings) as a way to get information to thousands of people at once, without the need to physically assemble or gather large crowds of people.
Need help quick setting up a town hall teleconference? Call us at 888-387-8636.
Your constituents, members or associates can all participate in the comfort of their own homes or safe locations. Here is a general rundown on the virus threat
There is no reason to panic, but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are recommending self-isolation as the best preventative measure to keep the virus from continuing to spread. This means that companies, corporations, even whole cities and countries are effectively shutting down or moving to work from home situations.
If you are the leader of a municipality, small county, or large corporation, you’re going to need to be able to communicate with your employees or citizens so that everyone is informed of how the situation is being handled. Team meetings that would normally take place in person also need to be rearranged.
What is the Coronavirus Emergency?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that is transferred by respiratory droplets from infected people. The most recent coronavirus causes a disease called COVID-19. The coronavirus first started in China, but it has quickly spread across the globe.
Over 100 countries now have confirmed cases of coronavirus. Here in the US, there have been several “random” cases popping up, which indicates that a larger number of people may have been infected before we were alerted than was first thought.
For most people, the symptoms of COVID-19 are so mild that the individual may not even know that they are sick. Most of the people who get the virus survive with no complications. However, due to the severity that symptoms can reach, the elderly and infirm are at a much higher risk of death.
It is the rate of spread and mutation that has the CDC and WHO taking necessary precautions to limit the spread and get it under control. Although most people who get COVID-19 will be fine, they can also expose those at high risk of complications to the virus.
How is Coronavirus Impacting Gatherings?
WHO and the CDC are advising everyone to limit their contact with other people. This method of stopping the spread is called social distancing. If the people known to have the virus are quarantined, and the people known to be healthy remain in their homes, the virus will have to stop spreading.
So far the NCAA has announced that Big 12 games will be held without fans in attendance. Comic-cons have been cancelled or postponed. Concerts, plays, and almost any entertainment is being cancelled or rescheduled. Some cities have actually closed all commerce and entertainment with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies.
In states and communities where the coronavirus has been confirmed, many schools are planning on closing to encourage families to self-isolate. The CDC is recommending that if you can work from home, you should do so. Most companies are seeing the necessity of this and are trying to make accommodations, such as teleconferencing town halls.
A State of Emergency
Recently the President addressed the nation live, and declared coronavirus an emergency. Since then, and in some cases before, states and cities that have been impacted by the coronavirus are following suit.
Now, most of the country is on board with declaring states of emergency. It is likely only a matter of time before other states follow suit. Even if your state is not under a state of emergency and limiting social gatherings, that doesn’t mean that it will be business as usual if you have locations across state lines. Virtual teleconferencing town halls can be one solution for such corporations and organizations.
Preventing the Spread
WHO and the CDC have made several recommendations about how to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. Of course, everyone needs to practice good hygiene. Coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to two to three days, so it is also important to clean and disinfect surfaces, especially if someone in the home or building has been ill.
Communities are stopping the spread by practicing social distancing. “Social distancing” is a technique for stopping the spread of disease by keeping people isolated. Large businesses are being advised to send workers to work from home whenever possible. The CDC has recommended that gatherings of 10 or more people should be cancelled or postponed, and many states and communities are further restricting that number to 50 people or less.
As a community leader or business owner, it is your responsibility as much as every citizen and government to stop the spread of coronavirus. Using services such as teleconferencing town halls can help you keep everyone informed without having everyone in one physical location.
The Problem: Limited Communication
With coronavirus keeping people at home, it becomes more difficult to address many people at one time. If you run a municipal government or a large corporation, you will need to be able to inform everyone at once about the current situation. In the past, teleconferencing on that scale would have been impossible.
YouTube and Facebook videos and live streams can have their own problems. These platforms make it difficult to get feedback and answer questions from many people at one time. While you can reach many people at one time through these means, they cannot interact with you easily.
If you are needing to provide information about the current state of the community or company, you will want to do so in such a way that attendees are comfortable and able to interact to some degree. There are fewer solutions that meet these needs.
The Solution: Town Hall Teleconferencing — a “Virtual” town hall meeting
The best solution for contacting a large number of people at one time in an interactive forum is through town hall teleconferencing. Town halls have become a popular way to disseminate information in communities and large companies. A town hall format allows for information to be disseminated, with participation from attendees through controlled Q&A functionality. This interactive dialogue allows for questions to be answered, and guidelines to be set.
With town hall teleconferencing, you can maintain this popular format for addressing people but in a virtual setting. Our teleconferencing town hall services allow you to hold the same town halls you would normally hold, but in an isolated setting that follows the social distancing guidelines that the CDC recommends.
What is Town Hall Teleconferencing?
A tele-town hall is not like a video live stream, but rather more like a conference call. The service is provided through telephone services, in the same way that traditional teleconferencing is held. It is a town hall format, in which you can pose surveys or take questions, but virtually through a web interface. The teleconference town hall is automatically recorded and can placed on your website or distributed through email.
How Town Hall Teleconferencing Works
The town hall teleconferencing service is a complete virtual town hall solution. It begins with an automatic dialer dialing predetermined phone numbers to invite people to the call. They can then accept the teleconferencing town hall, or they can decline. (Dial-in capabilities are also available)
Once all of your attendees are on the call, you will be able to address attendees as the speaker. You can also ask predetermined survey questions to the attendees, who will use key presses to provide their answers. You can also take questions from attendees, and you can screen these questions prior to allowing them be asked live on the call.
When your call is over, a recording will be provided to you. This recording can be placed on your website or distributed through email or by some other means. This allows you to reach many more people with your message. You can also set up the service to allow attendees who are not able to ask their questions on the call to do so by staying on the line to leave a voicemail, which can be addressed later.
Advantages and Benefits of Virtual Town Halls
Virtual town halls have a lot of advantages and benefits, even in the best of times. Your teleconferencing town hall will allow you to:
— Hold town hall meetings with individuals from varying locations;
— Disburse necessary information to the leaders in your community or organization;
— Work with several people to make the virtual event a success;
Some other benefits of teleconferencing town halls include:
— Ability to reach hundreds or thousands at one time;
— No special hardware or software required;
— People can attend from anywhere.
Virtual town halls give you a platform to reach many people at one time in a town hall setting, but over a phone teleconference. You get all of the benefits of a traditional town hall, with the added convenience of not needing a specific location.
Additional Benefits Due to Coronavirus
There are some additional benefits to teleconferencing town halls due to the coronavirus. The coronavirus is spread quickly from person to person. When trying to stop the spread of a virus, the most important factor is limiting human contact. Tele-town halls are a great solution that allows you to practice social distancing while still conducting business.
The CDC warns that those over the age of 60, especially those with underlying health conditions, are the most vulnerable population to be affected by this virus. The coronavirus can be deadly to these individuals, which is why it is so important to control the spread. If you are of this age group and need to conduct business, a teleconferencing town hall will allow you to preserve your health.
What You Can Do
So, what can you do in this time of crisis? One of the most important things you can do is to personally try to stop the spread by staying home as much as possible and practicing good hygiene. If you are a community or business leader, you can help limit the spread of the virus by allowing all nonessential employees to work from home or take time off.
Social distancing is the best method of stopping the spread of this virus at this point. As a community or business leader, you have the responsibility of helping people follow that advice by allowing them to remain at home.
You can meet these goals and still conduct business with the aid of teleconferencing town halls, as well as other web tools to keep your base connected and informed. For more information about how tele-town halls work, or to get started with teleconferencing, contact us today at 888-387-8636,