Running Your All Hands Team Meeting
Tasked with running an important meeting? Sure, anyone who’s had a career for longer than five minutes knows the gist of a “meeting” but do you really understand the assignment? Fortunately, we’ve assembled key factors to keep in mind for organizing probably the most intensive meeting of them all, the All Hands Meeting:
All hands on deck! Whether you’re running a ship or a downtown office, the company-wide meeting is a biggie, obviously. And not just because everyone is expected to be there: you’re setting the priorities and tone for your org, from the content you share to the format of the meeting itself. Handling such a spotlight takes grace and authenticity -- you aren’t trying to sell something to the team, you’re leading them while being among them.
The Setting: The best way to avoid having this meeting sprawl worse than Los Angeles County is to prepare. Lean into the trust with your leadership team and coordinate on the agenda beforehand. Use their channels to treat your company like the group of adults it is -- you aren’t running a dictatorship. Find out what employees want to see and hear. And don’t let advice columnists set the rhythm, you should determine the right frequency for your unique business.
The Vibe: Engagement in such a vast meeting takes a bit of finesse. Ideally, you want to balance a clear agenda and goals, your standard professionalism, with the fun, lighter sides of your company culture. This is also where sharing the pulpit with others comes in handy -- it’s hard for anyone to listen to a single presenter for a long period of time. Additional speakers bring variety with their own flare and change of tone.
The Nitty-Gritty: Make this meeting a success by collaborating. This means knowing when to share the mic with those who may present an idea better than yourself. Discuss who deserves (and is comfortable with!) recognition in this setting, the perfect opportunity to celebrate wins. This is not the venue for bombs to drop. In fact, bomb dropping should be avoided in general.
The Future: It’s impossible to exhaust every single detail about every single topic -- the meeting would last forever. Prepare and embrace that continuation by setting up productive forums for employees to utilize afterwards, where they can easily share their feedback and concerns, and have questions answered. Observe what you can enhance and adjust next time.