How to Plan a Successful Virtual All-Hands Meeting

How to Plan a Successful Virtual All-Hands Meeting

Is the future of your organization changing in significant ways? Are new developments on the horizon? It’s time to call an all-hands meeting. 

When you need to give a presentation to your entire organization about topics that affect everyone, an all-hands meeting lets you do so in a live format. It’s typically meant to keep your entire organization in the loop regarding your company culture, company values, major updates, and wide-reaching initiatives.

It’s easier to reach all of your employees when you host this meeting virtually, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind to run effective virtual meetings. Keep reading as we outline the steps for how to plan and conduct an effective all-hands meeting virtually. 

Step 1: Outline Your Agenda

For such a large-scale meeting to run smoothly, you need a detailed plan of your company goals, what you’re going to cover, and how you want the meeting to impact your organization. 

An all-hands meeting is more than just a news update for your employees—it’s a tool to drive their efforts in a specific direction that benefits your organization. To utilize this tool to its fullest extent, you should determine your objective and the main idea of the meeting. Then, use visuals to present this important information. 

Determining Your Meeting’s Objective

Your objective is your main intention for calling the meeting. It’s how you want your remote employees to react to the updates and important information they hear during the call. 

An all-hands call can help you reach multiple measurable objectives and goals. Some of these may include: 

  • Higher levels of compliance with a new mandate
  • Increased participation in a sponsored program
  • A boost in positive morale and outlook

Since you’re talking to the entire organization rather than a specific remote team or individual, your objective should focus on something that all parts of your company can contribute toward. 

An all-hands meeting may not always directly impact the company’s revenue or any specific team’s performance metrics. It does, however, do a few things that can affect employees’ commitment to the organization. For instance, these meetings:

  • Show your people the cumulative, big-picture results of their individual contributions
  • Present and provide context for the trajectory of the entire company
  • Inform employees what the organization is doing to support their work and development

Determining Your Meeting’s Main Idea

Your main idea for an all-hands meeting isn’t the same as your objective. While your objective is the driving force for the meeting, the main idea connects the face-value topics you’re discussing to that objective. 

If your company values door-to-door sales, for example, you may want to imbue the meeting with a theme of determination and victory in the face of daunting challenges. To do that, you’d have a high-performing sales leader speak to the rest of your company about some of the most challenging sales they’ve ever made, enduring crushing weather and unresponsive homeowners to hit their quota. 

If your objective is to push employees to close as many sales as possible, your main idea is reinforcing the need to tackle every obstacle that stands in their way of doing so. Consider how your main idea will work hand-in-hand with your intended objective when brainstorming.

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Step 2: Cover Logistical Concerns

With your objective and main idea in place, it becomes much easier to come up with specific topics to discuss and find company leadership within your organization to speak at the meeting. Now, you’ll need to handle the logistics of the call. 

Your main concerns boil down to two specific factors—time and tools. You should find:

  • The best time for as much of your organization to participate in the call as possible
  • The tools and methods required to encourage engagement and active discussion 

Scheduling to Accommodate Remote Employees

The difficulty of finding a convenient meeting time for everyone in your organization scales with the size and distribution of your workforce. 

If your company is a local business that recently went remote, it probably won’t be very difficult to find a good time for everyone to join the meeting. If, on the other hand, you’re a large company with teams and employees operating in several widely-separated locations, it may be more challenging to schedule an all-hands meeting. 

When it comes to scheduling, take into account:

  • Time zone differences
  • Project timelines and schedules
  • Cultural or religious holidays

Enabling and Encouraging Participation

For many primarily-remote organizations, encouraging as many people as possible to actively participate in a company-wide virtual discussion can be a challenging task. It’s why many virtual all-hands meetings end up functioning like an extended presentation rather than an actual meeting. 

The best way to encourage employee engagement in a virtual all-hands meeting is to give your employees time to ask questions about what they’re hearing. To do that, you need to outline Q&A segments of the meeting and establish a clear system for participants to follow when they want to ask questions. This could be by:

  • Sending a direct message to the presenter (which can then be read out loud)
  • Signaling they have a question with an emoji or other type of virtual visual

Step 3: Review Post-Meeting Feedback

When you encourage and incorporate feedback from meeting attendees for future company-wide calls, it sends a message that their contributions and feedback matter. You should have a clear system in place for collecting that feedback and putting it to use. 

Feedback also helps you get a sense of how effectively the meeting met company goals and objectives. If it wasn’t very effective, listen to what attendees have to say about it. They may be your most powerful resource for coming up with more impactful virtual all-hands meeting ideas in the future. 

Set Your All-Hands Call Up for Success with Teamflow

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to successfully planning a virtual all-hands meeting. Fortunately, Teamflow can help you manage it—and elevate it to its fullest potential. 

With dedicated customizable spaces for virtual events and a visual Q&A line, Teamflow makes virtual meetings more efficient and effective. Get started for free today!



Reviewed by Florent Crivillo, CEO and Founder at TeamFlow

Florent Crivello is the Founder and CEO of Teamflow, a virtual office that helps remote and hybrid teams do their best work in the best way. In a former life, Flo was the Head of Product for Uber Works, where he experienced firsthand the difficulties of managing a distributed and remote workforce. Following that experience, Flo conceived, coded, and launched the first version of Teamflow in early 2020. Since then, he's raised $50m in funding from top-flight venture capitalists including Menlo Ventures, Battery, and Coatue to revolutionize the way we work. In his spare time, Flo is a contributing writer to Forbes magazine.



Sources: 

1. Ohio University. How to Lead Effective Virtual Meetings: Resources for Managers and Business Leaders. https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/blog/virtual-meetings/ 

2. Harvard Business Review. What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting. https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting