#TipTuesday: Creating a Valuable Office Hours Experience

Heather Wendt
Heather Wendt HLV Staff
edited January 9 in Talk Community #1

Today’s Tip Tuesday is all about creating value for your audience through Office Hours.

Office Hours are a great way to bring your members together to:

  • Network with each other
  • Learn product or industry best practices
  • Share wins or roadblocks with peers

Done well, these can become a valuable addition to your event content without a heavy lift.

Getting Started

Decide the goal and identify a host pool

  • For Gain Grow Retain (GGR), Our goal is that each attendee meets someone new and walks away with an actionable takeaway
  • We open the hosting role to any member who has an interesting take on a relevant topic (I send out a call to action with a form through Monday.com to track interest)
  • For a product community, talk to various teams about under-utilized features, new releases, or areas your customers are getting stuck

What is your cadence?

  • My first year in GGR, we did an Office Hour for each of the first 3 Thursdays. Now we are doing every other week. It might be that one time per month is enough to start
  • Make this consistent. Consistency with the day of the week and the time of day is huge in creating a space that can be planned ahead of time

Who is your audience?

  • For GGR, we started with 3 different roles and aligned guest hosts to their needs. Maybe it is a specific product focus. Or possibly it is based on the customer journey stage? This is also an area that can grow out as needed

Set up your events

  • Use the HL Vanilla Event module to create your event (you are using an Event widget to make it easy to see and access the info, right??)
  • Identify the topic and the host (giving space for a 1-2 sentence bio can be valuable to the host and the attendees) - Check out an example here
  • Any additional information that will help potential registrants make the decision to join
  • We use Lu/ma and create a series for the year – members can register for all or some of the events, and the platform sends out calendar invites, reminders, and a post event survey
  • HL Vanilla has an amazing integration with Zoom for registrations you should definitely check out!

Create graphics for social

  • Pro tip – share the registration link and the graphic with your hosts ahead of time and ask them to share it with their network if this is an open event or within the community if it is limited to your audience! Great way to amplify your marketing efforts…
  • Work with your host on session title, 1-2 discussion questions, bio, and headshot
  • For GGR, I create a shared Google doc since you cannot record breakout rooms
  • I add a short overview of the topic, how to handle intros in the breakout room, an ice breaker, and the questions to discuss. Example Google Doc

So what does an event look like?

The facilitator (for GGR that is usually me) opens the call and handles the in-meeting logistics such as chat, links, breakout rooms, etc.

After being introduced, the host gives a 5–7-minute overview of the topic

The facilitator creates breakout rooms (I usually do 5-6 people in each group) and shares the Google doc link in the chat

I also give a quick intro to the purpose of the doc (collect group insights NOT a transcript) and general instructions for adding their thoughts

Breakout rooms last for 20-30 minutes depending on the timeframe available

The host can join a group but should be a participant, not a leader, for the discussion

  • Feedback from earlier models was that someone popping into each room was disruptive to the flow and not wanted

For the final 15-20 minutes, the entire group comes back together with the host facilitating a group conversation

  • This can be highlighting some amazing takeaways in a group or a continuation of time to share thoughts and ideas

I created a document overview to help hosts understand their role. See it here

Post Event

Send a short CSAT survey

  • Rate on a scale of 1-5 with space for comments

Create a summary of the conversations that occurred

Create a discussion post to highlight the summary and/or include it in a weekly wrap-up if you have one

  • Be sure to ask a question to drive engagement and link back to the summary

Get your audience involved and participating instead of just being observers through relevant and impactful Office Hours!