By Katrina Vo posted June 25, 2021

An important question we are often asked by franchisors, is how to make franchisee meetings and events more engaging. This includes virtual meetings, which continue to be the norm. Our first suggestion is to adopt the 40:60 rule, where franchisees are doing around 40% of the talking. With this in mind, you'll find the following in this Positive Franchising Update:

  • 8 best practice tips for improving franchisee engagement in meetings.
  • Several interesting franchising facts about franchisee attitudes to meetings.
  • A professional development update for franchisor teams.

BEST PRACTICE INSIGHTS: 8 ways to improve franchisee engagement in meetings

As you'll see from our Franchising Facts below, franchisees love the concept of meeting together, but are sometimes disappointed by the experience. Here are eight ways to give your franchisees more of what they want from your next meeting or event - face to face or virtual.

#1. Make a commitment to practice the 40:60 rule. This is where your meeting processes enable franchisees to do at least 40% of the talking. While it may seem easier, and safer, to just present information to franchisees, they quickly tire of this and will disengage.

#2. Tap into the knowledge you have under your nose. High performing franchisees may not have the pizzazz of a professional motivational speaker, but given the right process, such as a structured panel, you'd be amazed at how engaging they can be.

#3. Use a professional facilitator to help design suitable processes. These can involve franchisees in workshops, round tables, peer coaching discussions and constructive Q&A sessions. The debriefing of these activities can also be used to gather and record business improvement tips. (By the way, we recommend avoiding Town Hall meetings, which often descend into gripe sessions).

#4. When compiling your agenda, get input from franchisees. Ask them about their biggest challenges and what they'd love to talk about. Then build your agenda around these topics. These will usually be related to growing sales, retaining customers, managing staff, reducing stress, creating a positive culture, and improving productivity.

#5. Have guidelines when using small group processes. These should explain to participants what's expected of them, such as to be fully present (and have their cameras on if the meeting is virtual). Also, ensure you train team captains in how to keep discussions constructive and on track.

#6. Have a clear vision for success. Ask yourself, if this meeting goes as well as it possibly could, what will we see happening throughout, and at the end. Then ensure every session and activity serves this vision.

#7. Pay particular attention to how you start and finish your meetings. Always start on time, and share your vision for success upfront. Then get straight into an activity where people are involved in doing something. Finish with an activity that pulls together the positive outcomes from the meeting so people leave with a sense of achievement.

#8. When running virtual meetings, follow the same guidelines as above. Most platforms now enable you to have breakout group discussions. And if you set the right expectations, have an effective facilitator, and use the chat feed to also create engagement and participation by everyone.

FRANCHISING FACTS: What franchisees think about your meetings

We recently reviewed our data on franchisee attitudes to meetings organised by their franchisor. Here is what we discovered:

  • While 81% of franchisees look forward to participating in meetings, only 68% say these meetings leave them feeling motivated and encouraged.
  • When asked to rate the importance of specific franchisor services to the success of their business, franchisees give meetings a 68% importance rating, compared to 79% for other services. They also rate meetings as less effective.
  • When franchisees are asked to describe the best thing about being part of their franchise network, they mostly mention the value they get from talking with their peers.
  • When asked what would improve their experience of being part of their franchise network, franchisees mostly mention being consulted and listened to more.

What this means is franchisees love to get together with their peers to talk and share ideas, and they want more of a chance to do this. There is also an opportunity for franchisors to do a better job at highlighting the business benefits of franchisee meetings, and to deliver on this. By the way, many clients find our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Survey a useful way to gain fresh insights into the relevance of the support services they provide to franchisees.

Subscribe to Greg's Tips

Since 1990, thousands of franchise executives around the world have enjoyed receiving a regular email tip from FRI’s Founder, Greg Nathan.

These short stories on the psychology of business and everyday life have been likened to “mind brightening pills” as they open our thinking to fresh insights for improving wellbeing, business performance and franchise relationships.

Sign up now to receive your regular free tip from one of the leading thinkers in the world of franchising.