Tips For Planning & Running An Effective All-Hands Meeting

Thomas Adams

One of the keys to establishing a successful business is making sure that all of your employees are on the same page. When your entire staff is aware of your company's vision and goals, they will have a better understanding of what they need to do to accomplish their objectives and contribute to your company’s success.

There are a few different methods that businesses around the world have employed to create this result. One of the frontrunners in terms of effectiveness and the impact it has on your team is the all-hands meeting.

An all-hands meeting is just like it sounds: an “all-hands-on-deck” gathering of every employee in your company. Many companies refer to this type of meeting as a “town hall” since everyone in the company is invited to it.

These all-hands meetings are one of the only times that every employee in your company are brought together into one place. Because everyone is there, it gives company leaders a great opportunity to directly relay information and important corporate values to everyone in attendance.

All-hands meetings also provide an immediate platform onto which all employees, regardless of their status, can reflect on the past, learn about the current and future plans for the company, and ask questions aimed right at the leaders in order to receive a more in-depth understanding of the business itself.

All of the features of this meeting work toward developing a more well informed and productive workforce that is efficient at achieving business goals with passion and understanding. That being said, the most effective all-hands meetings are ones that actually run smoothly and on-time. If they’re held poorly with a lacklustre style of organization and no sense of planning behind it, then all-hands meetings risk becoming unproductive time wasters for everyone involved.

In order to make sure that you create an impact on your employees that’s both positive and worthwhile, you must put in the work to effectively plan, develop, and run the meeting so that the result it creates is what you have envisioned.

Tips For Planning An All-Hands Meeting

Sometime before the all-hands meeting begins, leaders need to start the planning process so that they’re aware of how the event is supposed to play out.

This development of the all-hands meeting is crucial to its overall success because it ensures that everything that needs to be included will be and that it flows in a way that works toward achieving your goals for the staff.

There are multiple steps that should be taken to ensure that this goal is accomplished and to help you and the other leaders of the meeting appear prepared and professional in front of your audience.

1. Establish The Frequency

The very first step in planning the all-hands meeting for your company is to make a decision that will not only affect the first meeting but also every single one that is to follow. You need to establish the frequency of these events and pick a time, place, and date for when it will be held.

In addition to this, it’s best to establish how long the actual all-hands meeting should be. These details will be different for every company, so you’ll need to take into account your own goals and characteristics so that this step can be done effectively.

One simple way to guide your decision on how frequent you should have these meetings is to think about how often your company actually has new, important information that needs to be shared.

Once the date, time, and length have been set, it is crucial that you make the overall setting a tradition that will be consistent each time. When this is the case, your staff will be aware of when to expect the meetings and be able to schedule their own events around it.

2. Determine The Goal Of The Meeting

Every company should have a solid reason for why they’re holding the meeting. This gives the meeting an underlying sense of purpose that assists in better organization and cohesion of the different features of the meeting.

In general, regardless of the specific company, an all-hands meeting should have a goal of motivating, energizing, and improving the spirits of your employees. This general objective can be used as a basis to set your own individual goals and connect it to your own values and situations.

3. Plan Who Will Present

Behind every all-hands meeting should be an appointed leader who is responsible for making sure everything goes as planned. They should operate the event in a manner that allows it to flow well and reach all expectations that have been set.

In addition to selecting the leader, you can also decide who will actually be speaking at the all-hands meeting. 

Guests who come and hold presentations during the all-hands meeting can contribute to making the meeting more engaging for the audience and guarantee that they’re actively participating in the event.

Anyone from a special guest who may relate to the topic of the day to administrators from different departments who come and report progress can be included to keep things interesting and prevent the meeting from becoming repetitive.

Tips For Running An All-Hands Meeting

Once the specific components of the meeting have been completely planned out and the features of the event have been developed, you will finally be able to run it!

However, there are a few steps that should be carried out during the actual meeting to help further its potential for success.

1. Include Slides

Having a slideshow as the basis of your presentation is a great way to ensure that the meeting has structure and that information is conveyed on an organized platform.

These slides cultivate the main theme of the meeting and establish for everyone involved what’s to be taken away from it after it ends. To add a little more flair to the presentation, you can also add creative designs to the slides using tools like Powerpoint or Google Slides.

It’s also recommended you organize all of your slides from each speaker into one convenient interface, such as the aforementioned Google Slides, in order to prevent any confusion or mistakes while the event progresses.

After the meeting is over, the presentation slides can be shared directly with the members of the team as a resource that they can go back to at any time.

2. Keep It Short

Nowadays, people usually have a very short attention span that can cause a lack of engagement after a while - even during interesting presentations. 

You’ll want to make sure you keep the interest of your staff for the entire length of the meeting so they don’t miss any of the information being presented. The best way to do this is to simply keep the total time for the meeting short and include only the most significant updates throughout the length of it.

Your employees should be excited for the next meeting instead of dreading it which means you need to ensure that it’s long enough to achieves its goals while also taking into account how enjoyable it is for everyone involved.

The best length for one of these meetings is usually between thirty minutes to an hour, however, as long as you stay under two hours it should be fine.

3. Give In-Depth Updates

A majority of the meeting should be lead by the leaders of several departments within the company who can each individually present the progress of their specific team to the rest of the group.

This information should always be presented in a way based around total transparency that brings up weaknesses and areas for improvement just as much as it brings up what is going well.

In addition to this, the reports should be shared in a way that relates to the company as a whole and provides a direct connection to how they impact other aspects of the business in order to include everyone within the conversation.

A few representatives and team members from each department can be included to efficiently describe what they do and how their work is playing into the company’s growth as a whole.

4. Let Employees At All Levels Participate 

One of the main priorities of an all-hands meeting is to include every single member of the staff in the process.

The best way to go about achieving this is opening up the floor at some point during the meeting to give the audience a chance to interact and share their questions, concerns, or thoughts with their peers. This assists in making everyone feel included as part of something greater than themselves.

A specific example of how this can be achieved is through a brief question and answer session towards the end of every meeting. During this time, employees can speak to their leaders and receive answers that contribute to developing a greater understanding for everyone who attends.

Planning The Next All-Hands Meeting For Your Company

Well run all-hands meetings can work wonders for a company as a whole. If you’re wanting everyone in your company to have the same vision, be brought up to speed on changes within the business, and feel like their leaders care about their opinions, we recommend running an all-hands meeting on at least a monthly basis. 

Find a time that works best for everyone in your staff, and make sure to plan it well!

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