How to Plan an Effective All-Hands Meeting

Avatar by Daniel Wiggins Published Aug 6, 2019 Last updated Aug 6, 2019

Company-wide meetings don’t have to feel like just another meeting on your calendar. If run correctly, these meetings can drive a company’s transparent culture and assist in ensuring that teams are aligned. It can be a positive place to share and celebrate business updates and milestones.

Are you ready to create more effective all-hands meetings that will help you meet your goals? Try some of these important strategies. 

1. Respect Everyone’s Time

Every professional in your business has plenty of things that they need to take care of every day. Many of them may feel overwhelmed by the request of attending another meeting, especially one that fails to share information they really need. Be respectful of their time. Remain respectful of everyone’s time and the energy and don’t lose sight of your overall goal to keep everyone on the same page.

2. Open the Floor for Discussion

An all-hands meeting is often a company’s key platform for sharing business updates but remember that while you may have several metrics to review, others might have some key information to share as well. Take the time to ask for attendees for their input and contributions. Instead of treating the meeting as a presentation, treat it as a conversation: an opportunity to connect more effectively with professionals throughout multiple departments. Not only will the opportunity for discussion help keep attendees more engaged, it will give you the chance to hear from professionals who do not always provide input into critical decisions. As a result, you may get a fresh perspective on day-to-day occurrences, potential issues and new ideas. 

If it’s not possible to open the floor for discussion from everyone present, consider including members of different departments in the planning process, and invite them to give input. Often, you’ll find that this simple method makes it easier to keep attendees engaged. 

3. Create an Agenda Ahead of Time

Before walking into your meeting, make sure that you create a solid agenda. Before the meeting starts, you need to know exactly what you’re going to address, who is going to be asked to speak, and what equipment or other information you need to make the meeting as effective as possible. An agenda makes it easier to stay on track and can help set attendees expectations. 

4. Assign a Moderator

Do your company meetings–especially all-hands meetings–tend to go off track as people bring up their own concerns and agendas?

The good news is, there’s a solution to your problems: assign a moderator. Ideally, this moderator should be someone who does not need to present during the meeting, but who does understand the concerns at hand. Your moderator becomes responsible for keeping things on track during the meeting and can help ensure that no one feels left out or overlooked. 

5. Find New Ways to Invite Feedback

For large companies, one of the biggest challenges of all-hands meetings is giving everyone a chance to feel that their voice is heard–especially if you have some attendees physical present and others calling-in remotely. Look into new ways to invite feedback from all of your attendees: offer an online forum for discussion after the meeting is over, for example, or let audience members complete online polls during the meeting itself. In many cases, not only will this ensure that you get a better look at what everyone would like to see happen in your business, it will allow each of your employees to feel more appreciated and help them to stay engaged.

6. Cut Down the Metrics

Do you feel as though you’re dumping a lot of significant information onto your attendees at once–and worse, that they don’t really understand the data you’re giving them? Instead of offering huge amounts of data all in one fell swoop, look at the data that provides the most important information. Which metrics really matter for your business? Why are they important? Then, provide only the truly relevant information in your meetings. Condense the information as much as possible but take the time to explain what the information is and why it is important.

7. Include Remote Team Members More Effectively

Do you have remote team members? If so, they need to be just as involved in office discussions as professionals who can sit in the office every day–if not more so. Often, remote professionals struggle to get the information they need to effectively participate in office discussions or engage with their fellow professionals. Make things easier for them by including a video feed to the meeting or even recording it for those in other time zones. Invite them to participate just as actively as professionals who are present during the meeting. Your remote professionals are important, too–and you need to show both them and other professionals that importance. 

Putting together a great meeting isn’t something that happens automatically. You need a culture of communication: one that allows everyone an opportunity to speak while still presenting them with a solid understanding of the company’s needs and expectations. With these tips, however, you can put together more effective meetings that are more likely to engage your attendees.