Digitale Events

How to organize a digital town hall meeting

Wie Ihr ein digitales Townhall Meeting organisiert

Teams and companies worldwide have been working mostly from home and remotely for almost two years now. And although the majority of people have now gotten used to it, the willingness to participate (still) leaves a lot to be desired. There is now even a term for this: zoom fatigue. He describes people's feelings towards video conferencing. Because most employees are simply tired of participating in virtual events. It is therefore all the more important that you develop your digital town hall meeting as precisely as possible for your colleagues with exciting content and activating break entertainment.

How often and when should you hold a townhall meeting?


How often you should hold a digital townhall meeting depends essentially on three factors: the size of your company, the speed of company growth and seasonality.
The larger the company, the more difficult to communicate decisions. On the other hand: the more people work in your company, the more working time is spent during the meeting. That's why you should hold the town hall meetings as often as necessary and as infrequently as possible - just so that all employees feel well informed. In any case, you should make sure that the event is relevant for all participants and brings added value for everyone.
Depending on the speed of growth and changes in the company, you should adjust the frequency of the town hall meetings. In the case of rapid change, it is important to inform employees more frequently than in the case of slow development. In this case, a weekly townhall meeting – or at least a standup – can make sense.
If your company - like our chocolate company - is subject to a certain seasonality, then it can make sense not to hold town hall meetings during the quieter phases, but instead to send video updates from the leadership team, for example. In the particularly active times, weekly town halls could make sense.


When you want to hold your townhall meeting mainly depends on when the majority of the employees have time. Do you perhaps have a four-day week in the company or many employees who work part-time? Then you should look in the calendar or send a survey to all employees and check or query availability.
Many companies that we know start the week with a digital town hall meeting on Monday afternoon. This creates a positive and activating start to the week.
Other companies tend towards the end of the week and hold their events on Thursdays or Fridays at noon or in the afternoon. Here, people tend to look back on the week and take advantage of the fact that towards the end of the week most employees are a little quieter than at the beginning.
With all these considerations, you should of course not lose sight of where your employees work. Whether permanently or only temporarily: depending on the time zones, you also have to take into account the different working hours.

The most important steps in planning your digital townhall meeting

πŸ—’οΈ #1 General conditions : Before you start the actual planning, you should meet a few passers-by.
Number of participants : For each townhall meeting you should know the number of participants. Depending on the number of participants, you can choose different activities and interactions.
Video software: Even if you have a common tool for your regular meetings in the company, it can be better to use another software for your townhall meetings. Because at the town hall event, the software should bring together several skills: streaming, chat app, private messages and surveys. Recommended here are, for example, Hopin (our favorite), Microsoft Stream or Livestorm.
Team Townhall: Are you planning to hold your digital townhall meetings regularly? Then you should put together a team as soon as possible: technical back office, moderators and facilitators for questions and chat.

🎯 #2 Objectives: No matter how often your town hall meetings take place: each individual event should have precise objectives. Are there new products/features in the pipeline? Are there sales updates? And why did the leadership team set certain priorities? Apart from these "hard" facts, softer goals - such as employee appreciation or motivation - can of course also play an important role.

πŸ“ #3 The meeting agenda: Based on the objective of the respective meeting, you can next set the agenda. Focus on the most important points and how you can convey them well. While the big goals and visions can also be announced by the C-Level, the topics relevant to everyday life should best be presented by managers who communicate with the employees on an equal footing (if this is not the case for the C-Level).

πŸ“¬ #4 The meeting invitation: Inform your colleagues about the upcoming digital town hall meeting via calendar invitation, email, slack channels or even the good old intranet. And even if it seems redundant to you: the best thing to do is to provide information about the town hall planning on all channels. This is how you make sure that everyone has seen the information for sure ;-)
The invitation should include the following information:
Framework data: Date, time, agenda items & goals of the digital event as well as potential motivational elements should first be summarized briefly and concisely.
Townhall rules: Even if everyone should know by now. It is a well-known fact that two are better than one: Set rules for how questions can be asked, when the participants should switch to mute and when the chat should be used.
FAQ: Be sure to put together all the questions that the participants might have. Even if many of the answers seem obvious to you, they can be very useful for new colleagues, for example. How do the participants take part in the meeting? Where can you find the link (if it is different than the usual software)? How can technical errors be prevented? And what should employees do in the event of permanent technical problems? When and how can questions be clarified? Encourages all participants to ask questions or to submit them in advance. After all, the purpose of the event is to get everyone on board.

digital townhall meeting

πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» #5 Technical test run: Especially the first time you should do a dry run before the actual event. Check the functionalities both on the part of the moderators and the technical team and from the perspective of the participants. In this way you can add additional useful information to the FAQs and make the event more likely to succeed. It also makes sense that you come up with an emergency plan for worst-case scenarios .

πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ #6 Involve the participants: Even with digital townhall meetings, the biggest challenge is keeping the participants happy. Therefore, make absolutely sure that you offer enough opportunities for interaction. You can do this on the one hand by allowing many question options and involving the participants with survey and feedback tools.
You should also consider whether you want to use icebreaker questions or warmups for the digital meeting. From our point of view, a chocolate tasting is a motivating start, a mindful break or an enjoyable end to any longer town hall meeting :-) #justsaying

πŸ’Œ #7 Send a recap: follow-up is half the battle, because someone is always absent or on vacation. In order to really keep everyone up-to-date, a sensible recap is essential. Records the townhall meeting and makes it accessible to all employees on the various channels. Send a link to the recordings including a summary of the most important points to all colleagues. It is best to set up a page or a (restricted access) YouTube channel with the past recordings, as some employees may want to catch up for several weeks. Also use the recap to keep the dialogue going. Asks the participants for feedback on the content, topics and process of the online townhall meeting. Be sure to take this aspect seriously, as you can use these insights to improve your future town hall meetings. Have fun and good luck with the implementation.

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