Tips for Improving Your Company “All-Hands” Meeting

The three major goals of any all-hands meeting should be to provide updates to the entire company, ensure everyone is aware of the company’s goals and their role in accomplishing those goals, and to provide a forum for employees to ask questions and provide feedback.

While all-hands meetings are vitally important, many companies struggle to execute them effectively. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable time with a rambling or disorganized meeting that doesn’t hit on all three goals.

In that spirit, here are seven all-hands meeting ideas to improve your team gatherings.

Be Prepared

We’ll save the sports metaphors and just say that thorough preparation is critical for a clear, concise, and engaging all-hands meeting. Preparation includes defining an agenda, deciding who will be speaking and what content they’ll be covering, and preparing the visual components (PowerPoints, etc.).

Not to mention the physical preparation—setting up the meeting space and necessary AV equipment. Nothing is more frustrating than a bad microphone or slow video connection.

Rather than a data dump, choose a few key metrics to present with strong data visualizations. Set time limits for each section of the meeting and designate a timekeeper to help presenters stay on track.

Customize the Format

Switch up the agenda for every meeting. Focus on a specific vertical or topic and choose presenters who can provide the strongest insight. While the CEO should speak at every all-hands meeting, this is a great platform to introduce your company’s other execs and emerging leaders.

Streamline Your Q&A

The Q&A session can be a scary prospect, both for presenters and employees. People may feel that they’re being put on the spot in an impromptu Q&A or hesitate to ask questions if they’re uncomfortable with public speaking. So, in the days leading up to the all-hands meeting, provide employees a channel to submit their questions. This will generate higher-quality topics and more insightful answers, while ensuring that no important issues slip through the cracks.

Be Transparent & Authentic

One pitfall of preparing Q&A sessions ahead of time: coming off as scripted or inauthentic. The CEO needs to genuinely care and value these all-hands meetings, respect employees’ courage in speaking up, and provide honest answers. Tough questions are always going to exist—the worst thing you can do is ignore them or answer them with anything less than 100% transparency.  

Don’t Forget Remote Employees

All-hands means all-hands—no one should be left out. Provide video access for employees working from home or working remotely, give them the same opportunity to submit questions, and record the meetings for anyone who needs to watch it at a later time. Lifehack: Repeat the questions out loud so everyone knows what’s being answered.
All-hands means all-hands—no one should be left out. Click To Tweet

Collect Feedback Immediately

Don’t wait to gather input following an all-hands meeting. Send out surveys or follow-up emails to solicit feedback while it’s still fresh in people’s minds. Take the feedback to heart and use it to improve future meetings.  

Keep It Consistent

Establish a regular schedule for all-hands meetings—whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Employees need to know when to expect the next meeting, and a consistent routine will improve preparation.