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The Ten Best Tips And Practices To Make Virtual Town Halls 10x Better | Dive

Want to make virtual townhalls more engaging for the team?

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Do you remember the good old days of hosting town hall meetings in person? It was so easy to limit distractions and (almost) guarantee that everyone was paying attention. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

Nowadays, online meetings are on the rise and constantly being on video calls has led to what we like to call ‘Zoom fatigue’. This makes it difficult for team members to engage in virtual meetings the same way they used to. Additionally, the often long monologues during online town halls do not help. It’s no wonder that town halls have gained a bad reputation in recent years.

However, all-hands meetings can be an opportunity for senior leadership and all employees to connect, collaborate, and share updates - it’s the dictionary definition. But at their worst, these company-wide gatherings can be a ‘terrible waste of time’ where it feels more like a one-sided lecture better served as an email.

So, it's crucial to make sure that town hall meetings are engaging and effective, especially in the virtual setting, where distractions and background noises can be a significant issue.

Let's talk about the basics of town hall meetings. Virtual town hall meetings are not just about sharing company updates, but they are also an excellent platform for acknowledging and appreciating employee achievements. The lack of in-person interaction can make virtual town hall meetings dull and boring.

However, there are ways to avoid this and turn the meeting into an exciting opportunity for meaningful ideas and actions. So, if you want to avoid a town hall snoozefest and make the most of the meeting, keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks.


What Are Townhall Meetings?

Town hall meetings are an essential part of corporate communication that enables organizations to connect with their employees, stakeholders, and customers. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss important topics, share updates, and receive feedback on the performance of the organization.

In a town hall meeting, senior leaders and members of the leadership team come together to address critical topics, answer questions, and receive feedback from the attendees. The meeting can be held in person or virtually, depending on the organization's preferences and the attendees' locations.

The purpose of a town hall meeting is to facilitate open and transparent communication between senior management and the attendees. It helps to bridge the gap between management and the rest of the organization, creating a sense of community and shared goals.

Source: Pexels

Town hall meetings can cover a wide range of topics, including company performance, product updates, company strategy, and customer feedback. It is an excellent opportunity for attendees to ask questions, express their concerns, and provide feedback on the topics being discussed.

Overall, town hall meetings are an effective way for organizations to connect with their employees and stakeholders, foster a sense of community, and address critical topics in an open and transparent manner.

By incorporating the tips and best practices discussed earlier, organizations can make their town hall meetings even more effective and engaging, regardless of whether they are conducted in-person or virtually.

Now that we have covered what Town halls are, Here are ten tips you can use to make town halls engaging, collaborative, and most importantly, unmissable:


1. A public meeting agenda shared (much) in advance

Have you ever attended a weekly or monthly town hall meeting that had a bad reputation? It's not uncommon for people to dread meetings and feel that they're a waste of time. But, this is far from the truth!

However, great meetings require proper organization and planning. And that's where town hall meeting agendas come in handy! But, you might be wondering, "What can share a meeting agenda in advance do for me?" Well, let's find out!

a. Increase efficiency & productivity

Who doesn't love that? Shared meeting agendas will help you reverse the stereotype of meetings being a waste of time. Using a planned agenda will transform your meetings into efficient work sessions that your entire team (actually) looks forward to attending.

b. Provide a record of the most important takeaways

Meeting agendas usually provide space for meeting notes, so you'll have a written record of important takeaways for the entire team to refer back to whenever they want to.

c. Prevent meetings from running overtime‍

If you think about it, town hall meeting agendas can be extremely helpful time management tools. They'll help you plan for a realistic amount of topics to be discussed at the meeting and make sure that you stick as close to your schedule as possible.

A meeting tool we’d recommend for sharing/editing meeting agendas: Is Dive and Docket.

2. Skip the awkwardness with Icebreakers

Since you’re sharing your company’s news and updates, a town hall can feel more like a business meeting, but it’s not! Think of a town hall meeting as an opportunity to establish a more relaxed atmosphere and create transparency through (more) open lines of dialogue between all your employees. You’re more likely to have a productive town hall meeting if it’s more laid back.

Source: Pexels

It’s important to remember that town hall meetings are always two-way conversations between leaders and employees. Since these meetings typically run long, you will need to find an efficient way to allow participation during the session. Don’t feel obliged to follow a conventional format.

Icebreakers are great to set the mood for the meeting - particularly in town halls where you want employees to feel comfortable sharing and contributing to the meeting. They help you do a quick pulse check around the team before you dive right into the agenda of the meeting. These questions can range from fun (‘What’s your comfort food?’) to challenging (‘Where do you see yourself one year from now?’) to updates about their life (‘What was the highlight of your week?’). ‍

A meeting tool we’d recommend for great icebreakers: Are butter and Dive.

3. Interact with each other in the chat box

An instant-messaging function allows participants to ask questions, make comments and share ideas. Although town hall meetings are meant to provide a platform for open dialogue and transparent discussion, it can be an intimidating concept to speak up before your entire team (Zoom anxiety is real, reader). This is where the chat box saves the day. It lets everyone have a voice (without having to actually use their voice).

Plus, you know how every meeting will always have that one person who hijacks the conversation and doesn’t let anyone else talk? A chat box prevents that from happening on multiple levels.

‍4. Brainstorm ideas over a virtual whiteboard

There’s nothing worse than going to a meeting and not being able to understand a word anyone is saying. Whether it’s too much business jargon or eye-straining slides, the thing people miss most about actual meetings is the inability to brainstorm together and collectively come up with solutions.

Say hello to the virtual whiteboard. This blank canvas (of sorts) is a space where participants can collaborate in a brainstorming or problem-solving session. It’s the closest thing that will make a virtual town hall meeting feel like the real ‘‘we’re-actually-doing-this-in-person one.

Want to plan a sprint? Jot down ideas together. Quickly draft out your roadmap for the next week. Collaborate on it here. List down marketing ideas at the end of an hour-long team scrum. Use the (virtual) whiteboard at your disposal.

A meeting tool we’d recommend for a great virtual whiteboard: TryEraser and Miro.

5. Use virtual polls for a quick pulse check

At the end of the day, town hall meetings are all about your employees. There’s a reason it’s called a town hall, after all. Encourage your entire team’s participation by inviting them to give their opinion using live polls. This is a great way to involve everyone in your audience in the town hall meeting and really make them feel like their voice is important. Plus, when having polls not be fun?

Meeting tools we’d recommend for great virtual polls: are Mentimeter and Slido.

6. Clear doubts with an all-inclusive Q&A session ‍

By opening up the floor to questions at the end of the meeting, you’re helping the team open up to new perspectives. Q&A’s make meetings collaborative and inclusive! A quick round of questions also empowers employees with the information they generally wouldn't know from their day-to-day schedules. It might trigger the occasional question they might have thought of but decided against because it sounded trivial (or stupid) in their head.

Also, the entire point of a town hall is to interact with your employees and hear their opinions. There’s no better way to do so than by hosting an immersive Q&A at the end of the meeting.

7. Get constructive feedback ‍

There is one final way of collecting feedback from town hall meetings – through an employee survey. Once the meeting is over, the host can send out a survey question asking for employee feedback. You could include questions about the length and format of the meeting, or you could ask employees for feedback on actual topics that may have been discussed throughout the meeting.

The survey question is a lot like the poll feature, only less introspective, and more retrospective. Asking for feedback before the meeting (or even checking in with your employees at the end of the day) can help you shape the meeting better and/or get constructive feedback for future town halls. More feedback, more ways to make sure (more) people attend town hall meetings. It’s that simple.

8. Record the sessions

Some employees will inevitably miss the live broadcast of the town hall for various reasons. To ensure that they don’t miss out on valuable information, always provide a recording of your town hall for them to watch later. Another good idea? Closed captioning.

Recording your virtual town hall also provides you with great content to repurpose for other communication efforts (think: social media). You can repost snippets of the video on your internal channels to motivate employees or use quotes and excerpts of the presentation as promotional material. It’s an infinite goldmine of content.

Here’s the thing. It's inevitable that your virtual audience will miss out on some information during the town hall. Most people have the attention span of a goldfish. Some are just exhausted. Use the right tool to take down notes for every virtual town hall and send everyone a recap of everything that was discussed. You can even include answers to the questions you were not able to answer during the town hall in the recap. ‍

A meeting tool we’d recommend for recording sessions: Is Dive Zoom, and Whereby.

9. Add actionable elements

One of the biggest criticisms about meetings in general is how they don't always lead to action. You can help avoid this roadblock by incorporating actionable steps into your meeting agenda. This can be noted underneath each individual agenda item.

...there you go! Forget about your team complaining about long and aimless meetings. With a little more development, your town halls can be turned into efficient work sessions that your entire team benefits from attending (and also enjoys them)!

10. Recap it with an email

Sending a follow-up email is also an effective way of cementing the main takeaways from the meeting and keeping it fresh in your employees’ minds. Plus, it helps everyone who might have zoned out during the meeting (which happens to the best of us) stay updated on the proceedings. Don’t drone on in your recap email. List out the key points and tabulate the action items. Thank everyone for attending.‍



Virtual town hall meetings are an effective way to connect and communicate with your team or an entire company, regardless of their physical location. However, without the right approach, they can quickly become unproductive and unengaging.

By following these ten tips and practices, you can make your virtual town hall meetings 10x better and more effective. Remember to share a public meeting agenda in advance, use icebreakers to break the ice, interact with each other in the chat box, brainstorm ideas over a virtual whiteboard, use virtual polls for a quick pulse check, clear doubts with an all-inclusive Q&A session, get constructive feedback, record the sessions, add actionable elements, and recap it with an email.

With these tips and practices in mind, you can improve attendance, engagement, and productivity during your virtual town hall meetings and create a strong sense of community and team spirit within your organization. You can also use Dive to achieve all of the above. 

Dive is an AI-powered collaborative meeting platform that empowers managers to run effective, productive meetings that drive accountability & alignment.

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