Ft Hood shows how to manage a global town hall meeting

One of the most interesting stories I’ve come across in a long time is how Ft. Hood, I believe the nation’s second largest army base near Killeen, Texas, managed a global town hall meeting featuring live discussion with their global community.

The Army III Corps commander stationed at the massive army post said he wanted to do a  town hall meeting that would involve the entire base’s community. That means 350,000 soldiers, family members, retirees and others connected to the base. Including about 8000 personnel deployed in Kuwait and Afghanistan. That’s a tall order. But Chris Haug, Chief of Media Relations at the base, and Christie Vanover, Chief of Command Information and Social Media Manager put it all together, and in late January the town all meeting was conducted. Unlike the town hall meetings the base commander would do the past, with officers gathered in a hanger, this one involved over 100,000 of the bases’ community listening in and over 2200 actively participating with questions or comments.

How did they do it? It was definitely a multiple-channel, multi-media, integrated communications exercise. It involved a live satellite broadcast feed picked up by local Texas TV broadcasters and even by Al-Jazeera enabling deployed soldiers to participate. It involved live webcast streaming, internet radio, Facebook, Twitter, email, telephone and the bases PIER site. In fact, I’m quite proud to say, PIER was the tool used to integrate the various channels and particularly effective in allowing over 50 Subject Matter Experts, many of whom were in other locations, to actively assist the Commander in answering questions in real time.

If you have a community you need to connect with, if you are really getting the message about engagement, then you will definitely want to learn more about this. And O’Brien’s and PIER, are sponsoring a webinar featuring Chris Haug and Christie Vanover who will let you look behind the curtain to see exactly how all this was done. I’ll be facilitating the discussion and would love to have you participate.

This is a really unique opportunity to learn some cutting edge application of today’s communication technology, so pass this invite along and let everyone you know who might be interested know about this webinar. The webinar is Thursday, March 29 at 1 pm CDT. Here again is the link and registration. The webinar will be recorded so send me an email at gerald.baron@agincourt.us if you can’t participate and want a copy of the recording g.

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