There are dozens of meeting types, but nothing is bigger and more grand than an all-hands meeting. At first, it sounds like your company is asking you to work hard in this meeting, as it sounds similar to the "all hands on deck" expression. But an all-hands meeting is, in fact, the opposite: this is the time to celebrate everyone's hard work! That and a little bit more. Let's find out more about what's in an all-hands meeting and how you can effectively run one.
An all-hands or town hall is a virtual or in-person meeting where everyone in the company gathers to share updates, celebrate milestones, and give everyone the chance to ask questions. It's usually held every quarter or once a year. Depending on the company size and style, an all-hands meeting can be as simple as gathering in a Zoom call or a full-blown party with champagne and music.
So, how do you structure an all-hands meeting? Luckily, you don't have to do hours of research to write your agenda. We've made it easy for you and created this all-hands meeting template. It has four sections with bullet points in each area, so you'll know what to discuss and when.
Ideally, the business update focuses on presenting key numbers that the company has achieved in the past quarter and any significant updates. You can dive right into the numbers or start with an ice breaker. For example, you can do a trivia game about your company’s team and revenue growth. The CEO or President usually facilitates this section, but someone else can officially host the all-hands meeting.
For larger companies, having each department or team present might make the meeting longer. If that's the case, limit this section to major updates or spotlight a remarkable team. This is also the best time to announce new hires or other noteworthy milestones from individual teams. However, allowing 5-10 minutes for each manager or team leader is a good practice for smaller companies, making the meeting more engaging.
This is the time to announce major awards, such as Employee of the Year. You can ask the HR Head to lead this part, and she can have some fun presentations here, including company trivia and surprise for the team. For example, some companies have arranged for llamas and other farm animals to show up in Zoom calls during the pandemic.
Make sure to leave plenty of time for a Q&A session. Ideally, you want to collect questions ahead of time, which can be done asynchronously. Getting the questions ahead of time kickstart the Q&A session, avoiding the awkward situation where no one is raising their hands to ask a question.
An all-hands meeting is a meeting you should carefully plan since it doesn’t happen that often. It should be informational, inspirational, and if you can swing it, it should be fun, too. Using tools can help any CEO easily collaborate and co-create the agenda with their team for a productive and meaningful meeting.